Nashville's Broadway is about to get some Carolina flavor with the new restaurant from country star Eric Church, James Beard award-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott, and hospitality entrepreneur Ben Weprin.
For Church, opening the restaurant is a dream fulfilled.
"I remember driving through downtown Nashville over 20 years ago with a pawn shop guitar, riding shotgun in a beat-to-hell truck just trying to chase a dream. Chief's is the culmination of catching that dream," Church said in a 2022 press release.
The six-story restaurant and bar will open in 2023. Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ will be occupying the rooftop space at Chief's, so it will have a perfect view of the city's iconic neon lights.
"Nashville is a magical spot. When you get to Broadway, it's like you're in a unique place, like a huge metropolis but all on one street," said Scott.
Church's passion for music will also be central to Chief's, which will feature an intimate seated music venue so patrons can enjoy new music from Nashville's many up-and-coming artists.
Scott hopes that the dining experience will cultivate good vibes and positive energy.
"Hopefully we can spread so much joy, peace, and happiness so that people can go to the next person and say, 'I went into this BBQ restaurant and it just gave me the best vibes,'" Scott said.
Church and Scott's Carolina roots led them to work together on this new venture.
"Eric saw that I used Carolina blue colors in the branding of my restaurant in Charleston. It just so happened that Carolina was his football team AND BBQ is his thing," said Scott. "We met, had a great conversation and he tasted all of our food. We even found out we had mutual friends so it just felt like family from there on out."
Scott's Carolinian upbringing has inspired him in his work as a pitmaster and restaurateur.
"We always worked hard growing up. It was always farming, cooking whole hogs, selling whole hogs...the work ethic that farming instilled in me gave me the energy and excitement to do what I'm doing today. And the joy of people tasting what you've worked hard for your whole life makes it all worth it." said Scott.
For BBQ legend Scott, this restaurant is only the latest venture in sharing his Whole Hog BBQ across the South. His incredibly popular restaurant already has locations in Charleston, Birmingham, Atlanta, and Homewood, AL.
In choosing Nashville for a new location, Scott will be sharing the South's unforgettable cuisine with Music City's many residents — and visitors.
"This is the South meeting the rest of the country," he said. "Taking what we're known for and what we love and sharing it with the rest of the world. It's an incredible honor to keep spreading the Carolina whole-hog gospel throughout the Southeast."
The laid-back, relaxed Southern attitude and charm will certainly be a draw for crowds looking to experience what the South is all about.
"I want them to take the good vibes with them and make them contagious to the rest of the country and the world, and I truly believe you can do that through food."
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