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Two Boots Pizza Expanding to Nashville, Tennessee


New York-based pizza chain ventures south

Two Boots Pizza took New York City by storm when it first opened in the East Village in 1987. Its unique style of pizza — authentic New York with a Cajun kick (the "two boots" are Italy and Louisiana) quickly caught on in the city, and an expansion soon followed. Eight locations are currently open in New York City, with two more in upstate New York, one in Los Angeles, and others in Bridgeport, Conn., Jersey City, and Baltimore. And while it’s surprising that a pizza chain with such Southern charm doesn’t have any actual Southern presence, apparently the founders felt the same way: it’s been announced that they’ll be opening an outpost soon right in the heart of Dixie, Nashville, Tenn.

Nashville Scene announced Tuesday that the popular chain will be moving into the former location of The Great Escape comic book and record store, on Broadway and Division Street.

Local artists are being brought in to decorate the space, and local chefs are being tapped to help create some unique additions to the menu, which features plenty of Louisiana-inspired charm (including the "Bayou Beast," a pizza topped with shrimp, Andouille sausage, and crawfish). They will also be offering pizza by the slice.

The 2,000-square-foot space will also feature a patio for outdoor dining, and should be opening up in May.


First Bite: Donatos Pizza

Today marks the opening of Donatos Pizza on Broadway in Midtown. As Megan Seling reported last week, they're celebrating by offering free pizzas to the first 50 people in line today and free lifetime pizza to the first 10. If you're reading this now, you've probably already missed out on the free pizza, but you can still buy a really good pizza.

As a few commenters noted on the previous post, Donatos is not new to Middle Tennessee it was formerly in Clarksville. Donatos — started in 1963 in Columbus, Ohio — has been, for years, largely a takeout pizza joint and a favorite of Midwesterners I know from Ohio and Indiana. The new Nashville location, though, marks a change in the Donatos concept to one that also serves dine-in guests and features a stylish exterior and interior and even live music. So, while Donatos is technically not new to Tennessee, this concept is. But people who enjoyed Donatos in Clarksville (and the other locations over the past 50 years) will be glad to know that the pizza is the same as they remember. But the new menu also includes appetizers such as stuffed jalapenos and chicken wings, sub sandwiches, salads and specialty pizzas unique to Nashville such as the hot chicken pizza and and vegan pizzas.

Donatos hosted a preview Friday night, so I got a chance to sample their pizza myself. I should preface my assessment by saying that I love pizza. I mean, love. Whereas some people may wonder whether Nashville — particularly Midtown, where there are numerous other pizza restaurants within walking distance of the new Donatos location — is at "peak pizza," I say, no. In fact, I would be up for some progressive dinner sort of "tour de pizza" of the area, eating a slice at each restaurant (except deep-dish, which is pie, not pizza). Start at DeSano, move on down to Soulshine, Donatos and Two Boots, and end at Mellow Mushroom.

But back to the Donatos pizza. I actually started with a salad. They have several to choose from, including the caprese that I tried. It's not the caprese salad I'm accustomed to it's a bed of mixed greens and spinach, topped with sliced tomatoes, tomato bruschetta topping, bite-size chunks of fresh mozzarella, and sprinkled with Romano cheese, Italian herbs and a bit of balsamic vinaigrette. I prefer a traditional caprese, but their version was a lot healthier.

After my salad, I sample three of the pizzas: the vegan "It's Greek to Me" pizza (on an organic multi-grain crust), the Serious Cheese (includes smoked provolone and fresh mozzarella), and the margherita. I like the "edge to edge" toppings (even though I am a crust lover), but I will say that I thought the sauce was a little bit too sweet. However, that was only on the Serious Cheese, so it could have been that I didn't care for how it tasted with the smoked provolone. I loved the vegan pizza the toppings were very generous. But my favorite was the margherita. Because it's made without sauce, the crust gets a little crisper. Plus, it is drizzled in a fantastic balsamic glaze. It's one of my favorite pizzas in Nashville.

I checked with other diners who reported that the hot chicken pizza was good "but not hot enough" (I think that could be open for interpretation) and that the pepperoni with its slightly crisp pepperoni edges was really good. A number of people (and long-time Donatos fans) said their favorite was, well, the Founder's Favorite, which is topped with "heritage" pepperoni, "family-recipe" sausage, shaved ham and banana peppers.

In addition to their "famous thin" crust, diners can also opt for the aforementioned vegan multi-grain crust, hand-tossed, or gluten-free. The restaurant also has a nifty soft drink fountain that lets you flavor your beverages with lemon, vanilla, strawberry, and/or cherry, and also serves wine and beer (including local craft beers). To finish up, Donatos offers cinnamon bread and Christie Cookies' triple chocolate brownie and white chocolate macadamia nut cookie.


TYPE OF CUISINE: AMERICAN, KOSHER COST:$ NEIGHBORHOOD:MIDTOWN – WEST END GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:YES, CLEARLY MARKED

I’ve been to Avo a few times now. They used to be a raw only restaurant but they now offer cooked food as well. After some changes in menu and ownership, I feel it is one of the best vegan options in the city again! When I went the first time, we got the ‘cheese’ plate and pad thai. I’ve also had the walnut lentil cheeseburger and strawberry Caprese. The dishes were beautifully plated and very delicious! Avo also has housemade draft kombucha as well as a large selection of organic, biodynamic, gluten-free and/or additive-free bar offerings.

Essential Information about Avo

Address | 3 City Ave #200, Nashville, TN 37209
Hours | 11am-9pm Mon-Thu 11am-10pm Fri-Sat
Website | www.eatavo.com

Graze

TYPE OF CUISINE: AMERICAN, COMFORT FOOD COST:$ Neighborhood:EAST NASHVILLE GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:YES, CLEARLY MARKED

Graze is one of my favorite all-vegan restaurants! It’s only a year old but it has certainly impressed us all in that short year! They have an absolutely delicious menu with brunch on the weekends and dinner every day but Monday. I’ve had their breakfast burrito, hot tempeh biscuit, their biscuits and jam (!), salad (their salads are beautiful) and a few specials which aren’t on their regular menu. Everything was fantastic. They also have great bar options. I can not recommend Graze enough!

Essential Information about Graze

Address | 1888 Eastland Ave, Nashville, TN 37206
Hours | 4pm-11pm Tue-Fri 9am-11pm Sat-Sun
Website | grazenashville.com

The Wild Cow

TYPE OF CUISINE: AMERICAN, COMFORT FOOD COST:$ NEIGHBORHOOD:EAST NASHVILLE GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:YES, CLEARLY MARKED

The Wild Cow, under my impression, is one of the oldest vegan restaurants in Nashville and I can see why it’s still one of the most popular. It is also owned by the same owners as Graze and is literally around the corner. So maybe wear your stretchy pants and go to both?? The Wild Cow is labeled as a vegetarian restaurant because they offer dairy cheese but otherwise, it’s completely vegan. [UPDATE: They are now completely vegan] I’ve had the nachos and the Philly sandwich. Both are outstanding. They also donate 2.5% of their sales every Thursday to a charity – the charity changes every month.

photo courtesy of The Wild Cow’s Instagram

Essential Information about The Wild Cow

Address | 1100 Fatherland St Suite 104 11/22, Nashville, TN 37206
Hours | 11am-10pm daily closed Tuesdays
Website | thewildcow.com

The Southern V

TYPE OF CUISINE: AMERICAN, COMFORT FOOD, SOUTHERN COST:$ NEIGHBORHOOD: NORTH NASHVILLE GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:YES, CLEARLY MARKED

The Southern V is…it’s just amazing. The Southern V started out just in their home after this adorable family went vegan due to many food allergies. They started with custom orders that they would deliver and farmer’s markets – mostly just bakery items. But, then they went and opened a to-go only location that is open only on the weekend. The line is usually always decent and they stop selling when the food runs out and it does, run out. Here are my directions for visiting. Order one of everything. Your mind will tell you that you can’t eat it all but you can. I promise.

In all seriousness, this is where you get your hot chicken fix. Also, get all the donuts. And, all the potato casserole. And, that’s just breakfast!

I finally just had dinner at Vegfest and I can now officially say it’s amazing as well! Pictured is the jackfruit sliders and mac n cheese. I was never a HUGE BBQ fan but if I was and that was something I missed from my pre-vegan days, this would definitely hit the spot. The mac n cheese is definitely one of the best I’ve had.

Essential Information about The Southern V

Address | 1200 Buchanan Street, Nashville
Hours | 10am-2pm Wed-Thu 10am-2pm + 5pm-9pm Fri 9am-12pm + 1am-5pm Sat 10am-12pm + 1am5pm Sun
Website | thesouthernv.com

Vegan Vee Gluten-Free Bakery

TYPE OF CUISINE: BAKED GOODS, SWEETS, DESSERT COST:$ NEIGHBORHOOD:SYLVAN PARK GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:YES, EVERYTHING IS GLUTEN-FREE

As far as I know, Vegan Vee is the only place like it in Nashville. They are entirely vegan and entirely gluten-free. They are also peanut-free facility, predominately organic and offer soy-free and nut-free items daily. They are literally everyone’s best friend. It’s a take-out style bakery and it’s heaven.

Essential Information about Vegan Vee

Address | 306 46th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37209
Hours | 7am-2pm Thu-Sat 9am-2pm Sunday
Website | veganvee.com

Vege-licious Cafe

TYPE OF CUISINE: AMERICAN, COMFORT FOOD COST:$ NEIGHBORHOOD:MIDTOWN GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:YES, CLEARLY MARKED

Vege-Licious is Nashville’s newest all-vegan spot. It’s actually located in The Southern V’s old location off of Fisk Street. They opened in late June 2018 and from what I’ve seen, it’s been a huge success. All of my vegan friends love their food – as they should – but also make note of how wonderful the owners are and the welcoming atmosphere. I tried the lasagna, the vegan soul food plate, and the Philly cheesesteak. My favorite was the Philly followed closely by the soul food plate. I’m fairly picky about barbeque and mac n cheese and I loved both of these!

Essential Information about Vege-Licious

Address | 513B Fisk Street, Nashville, TN 37203
Hours | 11am-7pm Tue-Sat
Website | vege-licious.com

Poppie Nashville

***Update – I’m not sure if she’s still accepting orders at this time.***

I’ve dreamt of vegan hot pockets for the last two years and finally…they’ve arrived! I’m so excited to see this business expand because they’re seriously delicious! I had the egg & cheese, bacon egg & cheese, and southwest flavors! All were fantastic but I was partial to the egg & cheese. I just realized all the other flavors she offers though and HELLO pepperoni and hot chicken flavors. I’m coming for you!

Koko’s Ice Cream

TYPE OF CUISINE: SWEETS, DESSERT, ICE CREAM COST:$ NEIGHBORHOOD:MIDTOWN AND COLUMBIA GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:YES

Koko’s is a brand new vegan ice cream in Nashville! This is some of the best ice cream I’ve had – it’s not heavy at all and you almost feel like you’re eating something healthy – which can be dangerous! They’re coconut based but don’t taste really coconut-y as some do. I highly recommend the Moon Dust, Golden Milk, Cookies n Creme and Elderflower flavors!

Essential Information about KoKo’s Ice Cream

Address | 3 City Ave, Suite 700, Nashville
Hours | 6pm-10pm Mon-Thu 12pm-10pm Fri-Sat 12pm-8pm Sun
Website | kokosicecream.com

Succulent Vegan Tacos

TYPE OF CUISINE: TACOS COST:$ NEIGHBORHOOD: GERMANTOWN GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:UNSURE

Succulent Vegan Tacos is Nashville’s first plant-based taqueria. You can find them the first weekend of every month at the Nashville Farmers’ Market.

Essential Information about Succulent Vegan Tacos

Address | Nashville Farmers’ Market
Hours | Once a month pop-up
Facebook | @SucculentVeganTacos

The BeHive

TYPE OF CUISINE: FAST FOOD, COMFORT FOOD, AMERICAN COST:$ NEIGHBORHOOD:EAST NASHVILLE GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:YES

photo courtesy of The BE-Hive’s Instagram

Essential Information about BE-Hive

Address | 2414 Gallatin Ave, Nashville
Hours | 11am-4pm Sat-Sun
Website | bethehive.com

R-BE-Q Food Truck

TYPE OF CUISINE: AMERICAN, FAST FOOD, COMFORT FOOD COST:$ NEIGHBORHOOD:EAST NASHVILLE GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS:YES

The BE-Hive teamed up with the Rosemary & Beauty Queen to bring a BE-Hive curated food truck. R-BE-Q is Nashville’s first place to get late-night, 100% vegan food. The menu is focused on Asian inspired tacos and nachos.

photo courtesy of The BeHive’s Instagram

Essential Information about R-BE-Q

Address | 1102 Forrest Ave, Nashville
Hours | 5pm-12am Mon-Thu 5pm-1pm Fri-Sat 4pm-12am Sun
Website | bethehive.com/rbeq


Two Boots Pizza Expanding to Nashville, Tennessee - Recipes

Hands down best pizza in Nashville. Small place and always a wait but well worth it. Staff is friendly, prices are good. Parking a block away.

19 - 23 of 74 reviews

So this restaurant does not stand out from the outside - small signage and a black box basically. Once you go inside though, it goes from ordinary to extraordinary!

The servers are so personable and helpful with making decisions. We started with the Japanese version of the waffle fries and that set the tone for the meal - amazing! Crispy waffle fries with tons of unique favors that were perfectly balanced. Then we shared a Caesar salad that was just enough for 2 people to share before the pizza. Now, that pizza is amazing. The Big Al was so incredible. Deep dish but not soggy or dry. just perfect! One pizza is enough for 2 people to share - there are 6 squares in each pizza.

Don’t miss out on this hidden gem in the Gulch!

We stopped in for lunch on a week day so there was no wait. Our group ordered burgers and pizza. Although very delicious, I wouldn’t say it was the best burger in Nashville. Pizza was very good. We all left full and very satisfied!


TDOE Announces Stipends for More Tennessee Teachers for Summer Early Reading Training

Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced that $1,000 stipends for completion of the two-week Early Reading Training will now be available to fifth grade classroom teachers, special education teachers and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers—in addition to kindergarten through 4 th grade classroom, special education, and ESL teachers— expanding the number of teachers who are eligible to receive stipends for completing this critical reading training this summer.

Part of the state’s Reading 360 initiative to help boost strong reading skills amongst Tennessee students, the two-week Early Reading Training is a free and optional opportunity open to any educator supporting foundational literacy instruction in grades pre-K through 5. The goal of this training opportunity is to ensure that any Tennessee educator who helps young children learn how to read will have access to the latest research, implications for instruction, and practical tools to show them how to apply new learning.

"Becoming a strong reader by 3 rd grade is a critical milestone in a student’s academic journey, and in Tennessee, we are focusing on ensuring students who are still developing reading skills have strong supports, including excellent reading instruction,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “By providing kindergarten, 1 st , 2 nd , 3 rd , 4 th , and now 5 th grade teachers a $1,000 stipend for completing the department’s Early Reading Training, Tennessee teachers will be compensated for their professional development, and more students will benefit from strong phonics-based instruction when learning how to read.”

While the training is provided by the department free of charge for any Tennessee teacher for grades pre-K through 5, teachers must register for the trainings through their district. Kindergarten through 5 th grade teachers will be eligible for $1,000 stipends, and K through 2 teachers will also receive “classroom kits” of fun and engaging materials to utilize in their classrooms. The deadline to register for the trainings in ePlan is May 5.

Week one training will be available this month as an online, asynchronous learning experience through Best for All Central, and week two training will be offered in-person over the course of the summer. Click here for the Early Reading Training Course Overview.

“As Director of Schools of a small system in East Tennessee, it is with pride and excitement that we received the news regarding our K-5 teachers being trained in literacy foundation,” said Dr. Mike Frazier, Director of Schools, Etowah City Schools. “This training will be this summer and all of our teachers will receive a stipend for their participation. We are appreciative to Commissioner Penny Schwinn and her cabinet members for hearing our voices as Directors and bringing to fruition the stipend for our K-5 teachers across this great State of Tennessee.”

Reading 360 is a comprehensive statewide literacy initiative to provide optional grants and resources to help more Tennessee students develop strong phonics-based reading skills by supporting districts, teachers, and families.

To launch Reading 360 and invest in optional reading resources and supports at no cost to the state or districts, the state is leveraging approximately $60 million of one-time federal COVID-19 relief funding and $40 million in federal grant funding.


Girlfriends Guide to Nashville!

Nashville is actually one of my favorite cities to visit and I have even considered moving there. The energy of Nashville is southern on steroids with their Honky Tonk Bars, Grand Ole’ Opry and numerous Restaurants. It is the perfect place to go for a long weekend with spouses, families and especially girlfriends.

One of my favorite places to stay is The Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville. The historically designed hotel is decorated with country finishes and the rooms are spacious with great bathtubs. I heard the men’s restroom is worth a tour, but make sure you check with the front desk before barging inside.

Plenty of Honky Tonk Bars in Nashville and some of my favorites are:

Legends Corner for great music all day long and decent cocktails. You can even dance in the early afternoon continuing all night long, if there’s room.

Nudies Honky Tonk is relatively new and has some of the best musicians in town. It stays open late and the people watching is divine.

Tootsies Orchid Lounge in a Nashville staple and probably the most popular with three different bands playing on 3-levels all night long.

Other Music:

Grand Ole’ Opry for a night of fun. Order tickets online and if you celebrating any special occasion, pay $10 and get your name on the screen and mentioned during the show.

Ryman Auditorium for concerts and tours. It is the location of the original Opry.

Blue Bird Cafe for singer song writer concerts and much more. It has gained tremendous popularity from the television show, so if lines are not your thing – pass.

Station Inn located in the Gulch. Newer venue that has bluegrass music on most nights.

Mercy Lounge in downtown for singer song writer music, you must buy a meal and drinks in this venue.

To explore Nashville I recommend taking Old Town Trolley Tours. It takes you around the downtown, Pantheon, Music Row, Belmont Mansion and much more. Your ticket is a 2-day pass and you can hop-on and off anywhere you choose.

There are a number of Distilleries and Wineries in Nashville with tours, tastings and the opportunity to purchase. Corsair has a good tasting and giftshop. There are many other distilleries and wineries to check out.

Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum is most definitely worth a stop. Whether you are a true fan of country music, there is so much history here. They are celebrating their 50th Year Anniversary!

John Steigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge located in downtown Nashville. Walk across this bridge and get the best views of Downtown Nashville, the Sports Arena, Waterfront Park & Amphitheater and the Cumberland River. Great to do first thing in the morning for a little exercise.

Goo Goo Clusters are located in downtown Nashville. If you haven’t had a Goo Goo, you should definitely go and taste one or two. These marshmallow, nuts and chocolate covered clusters have been around since 1912 and if you are from the South, you probably were raised on them.

Boot Barn is the place to go and buy a pair of kickers. You will see tourists walking around with newly purchased boots, which adds to the fun Nashville scene. They usually offer 2 for 1 deals and they are open until 10 p.m.

404 Kitchen has farm-to-table cuisine and a large selection of Bourbon & Whiskey. The Gnocchi Bolognese was prepared nicely, but I think the Skillet Cornbread & Maple Butter wash hard to beat.

City House for casual Italian fare. Go for the Cauliflower & Bacon Pizza and the Meatballs!

Josephine for Brunch is the place to go, located on 12th Avenue South. The Grapefruit Mimosas and Eggs Benedict over crunchy Scrapple & Brown Butter Hollandaise — definitely the way to go. Shopping on 12th Avenue is a must afterwards and don’t miss S’more Love Bakery parked there on Saturdays.

Biscuit Love for the best Biscuits, Hot Chicken & Gravy located in the Gulch. The Gulch in the new Beverly Hills of Nashville with shopping, restaurants and trendy hotels. Walk around after breakfast, you’ll definitely need it.

Oak Bar for Happy Hour and Fried Green Pimento Tomatoes. The Oak Room is in The Hermitage Hotel, where we stayed, and we ended up going back two days in a row for the tomatoes. Yum!

Acme Feed & Seed in downtown Nashville for lunch or dinner. This place is at the waterfront and you order at the counter and seat yourself. Also, they have a sushi bar! I recommend going to the bar and sitting at the counter — the bartender will take your order right there. Sample a few local beers, while waiting for your food, but don’t miss the Pulled Pork Tacos and Mexican Corn!

Nashville is one of the hottest cities in the country right now. So, make your way there for a fun filled energetic weekend with your besties!


With Violence Still Surging, These States Want to Make It Even Easier to Carry Guns

Amid a deadly surge in gun violence over the last year, several Republican-led states are expanding gun rights, sometimes against the advice of local law enforcement agencies.

So far in 2021, at least four states — Utah, Montana, Iowa, and Tennessee — have approved laws that would allow the carrying of firearms without a state-issued permit, a background check, or training. Several other state legislatures, including those in Texas and South Carolina, are considering similar legislation and could add to the list of 19 states with the most permissive form of concealed carry laws.

Like many other states, Tennessee saw a significant increase in firearm fatalities in 2020. Knoxville saw a record-high number of killings in 2020. In Nashville and Memphis, homicides rose by 32 percent and 48 percent, respectively, according to the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice. In Memphis, which has long struggled with elevated rates of gun violence, that trend has worsened. As of March 2, 2021, the city has had 55 homicides this year. Over the same time period in 2020, there had been only 29 homicides, according to a resolution the Memphis City Council sent to state lawmakers in opposition to the permitless carry bill.

Still, on April 8, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed House Bill 786, a law that will allow Tennessee residents to carry handguns — openly or concealed — without a permit. The law applies to people 21 and older (as well as members of the military who are over 18), and goes into effect on July 1.

The successes of gun rights proponents in 2021 come after 2020 marked the largest number of firearm homicides in at least 20 years, an increase many experts attribute to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that operates a database of gun violence incidents in the United States, tracked 3,947 more firearm homicides in 2020 than in 2019.

The growth of permitless carry is a relatively recent trend. Just two decades ago, only one state, Vermont, allowed residents to carry firearms without permits. In 2003, Alaska legalized permitless carry. It was another seven years before Arizona followed suit. In the last 11 years, as Republican lawmakers gained more power in state legislatures and increasingly embraced less restrictive gun laws, an additional 16 states have legalized permitless carry.

States are looking to expand gun rights just as President Joe Biden promotes his new plans for executive action on gun reform and as Democratic members of Congress push for federal action on background checks. Permitless carry laws, often called constitutional carry by proponents, are popular among conservative gun rights advocates who say permit requirements limit their rights to carry guns for self defense. Supporters argue that the Constitution gives a person a right not just to own guns but to carry them, and that permits infringe upon that right. Every state allows the carrying of concealed firearms, but most still require permits and many require proof of firearms knowledge or hands-on training and a background check.

In Tennessee, the governor, a conservative Republican, has said the permitless carry bill is part of his “public safety agenda” and that it would help reduce gun violence in the Volunteer State: “This particular piece of legislation not only protects the Second Amendment but it actually creates a safer environment and stiffens penalties for those that break the law,” Lee said during a National Rifle Association town hall in late March. The law makes theft of a firearm a felony instead of a misdemeanor and also bars felons convicted of possessing a firearm from getting early release. Lee said he believes the increased penalties will deter theft and illegal possession, adding that lifting regulations on “law-abiding citizens” does “nothing to increase crime,” adding: “It’s increasingly important in this country. That’s why you see every year more and more states across the country bringing this piece of legislation forward.”

Law enforcement organizations in Tennessee have disputed the suggestion that the new law will improve public safety, with most — including the state’s police chiefs and sheriffs associations and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations — opposing the legislation. Law enforcement leaders, including Memphis’ police chief, say that removing the permit requirement will make it harder for police to determine who possesses firearms through legal means.

Opponents of the change have pointed to a 2014 law that allowed people to carry guns in their cars without permits. That change contributed to an increase in drive-by shootings and guns stolen from cars, said Bill Gibbons, the president of the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission, a nonprofit focused on public safety in Memphis.

Between 2013 and 2018, the number of guns stolen from cars in Memphis rose 256 percent, according to data compiled by the commission. Gibbons said he doesn’t oppose concealed or open carry, but does fear similar consequences from permitless carry. “You’re simply going to have more people on our streets and in our neighborhoods, carrying guns with no training and no background check,” he said. “I think the result for that is very obvious.”

Delvin Lane leads the 901 B.L.O.C. Squad, a group that has been battling violence in Memphis for nearly a decade. Lane said he understood the desire for law-abiding people to have protection by carrying guns, but worries that the change will lead to more guns in cars and on the streets. “They are kind of taking you back to the old cowboy days where everybody had a gun,” he said. “What that would do is increase the opportunity for a lot of guns to be stolen.”

There is a dearth of research on the effects of permitless carry laws. “Part of the delay in research on the effects of permitless carry laws is that, for the most part, they’re relatively rare before 2016,” said Rosanna Smart, the lead author of a RAND Corporation metastudy on the effects of gun laws. As for permissive concealed carry laws generally, limited evidence points toward more firearm violence versus less, Smart said. Some studies have found that more permissive concealed carry laws are associated with increased levels of violent crime, but the strength of the association is still disputed. One study from the American Journal of Public Health found that “shall-issue” permit laws — which give law enforcement agencies little discretion to deny permits — were associated with a 10.6 percent increase in handgun homicide rates.

Proponents of permitless carry have not been successful everywhere in 2021. In Indiana, a proposal to allow residents to carry concealed weapons without a permit died in the state Senate. Legislation is stalled in Florida and Alabama, where gun rights supporters have pushed similar legislation for years to no avail. Proposals in North Carolina and Louisiana are also stalled, and a bill to allow permitless carry died in Georgia when the Legislature adjourned for the year.

Meanwhile, several states have passed or are advancing other pro-gun bills. In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey on April 6 signed a “Second Amendment sanctuary” bill barring state law enforcement agencies from enforcing some federal firearms laws. Lawmakers in Montana have sent a similar bill to their governor, and similar bills are advancing in Missouri and in North Dakota, where lawmakers are also considering a “stand your ground” bill that removes the duty to retreat before using deadly force. In New Hampshire, the state House passed a bill on April 7 that would expand the state’s preemption law, which limits local gun regulations.

A fifth and potentially sixth state could still legalize permitless carry this year. On April 7, the South Carolina House of Representatives approved a permitless carry bill, sending it to the state Senate. That bill, HB3096, would also allow people to carry a loaded firearm – openly or concealed – in public without a background check or safety training. In Texas, a permitless carry bill has been approved by a House committee and awaits a floor vote, though the bill could be held up in the Senate.

“Eliminating the background check and permit requirement for carrying in public has been a top priority of the gun rights movement for the past several years,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “And in states where they control the legislature, they’re getting it done.”


Sylvan Park

This strip of restaurants and bars in West Nashville has a more local feel than other, similar areas of the town. Gerald Craft, a chef from St Louis, serves up some classic dishes in Pastaria, such as pizza, pasta and gelato. The crispy risotto balls shouldn’t be ignored, either. For vegetarians and vegans, there’s Avi, which offers up a pretty amazing avocado margarita.

Of course, Nashville is known just as much for its hot chicken as it is anything else but not all restaurants are created equal when it comes to serving it. One of the best places to enjoy it is Hattie B’s.

If there’s a group of you and you want to make sure there’s something for each member of the party, M.L. Rose has an extensive beer list, and its front patio is a great place to enjoy the Tennessee summer sun. It’s also dog-friendly. Anser is the ultimate neighbourhood restaurant that you’ll wish was at the end of your street. Its setting is friendly and welcoming, and it serves up some quality food, to boot.


Walk Eat Nashville: A Delicious East Nashville Food Tour

For several years now, I’ve been eating and drinking my way through town, checking out the newest hot spots and also stumbling upon hidden gems. As many of you know, a big reason I even began blogging was to share these experiences with others in hopes that some of my discoveries would make you as happy as they’ve made me. Well, today I’m sharing one of those smile-inducing finds with you.

Recently Expedia Viewfinder challenged me to learn more about my city through a new culinary experience, so I’ve partnered with them to highlight a fun, informative, and very delicious journey through East Nashville — the Walk Eat Nashville food tour.

When former Tennessean reporter Karen-Lee Ryan told me that she was launching this new business, I was thrilled. You see, after participating in a few tours of this type in other cities, I’ve often come back home inspired, believing that someone here should really be doing the same thing.

From what I knew of Karen-Lee, she had the enthusiasm and the knowledge to create something great, and even though I thought that, I was still blown away by just how awesome the tour turned out to be!

Marché’s Butternut Squash and Farro Salad with fennel, currants, arugula, feta & white balsamic vinaigrette Apple and Brie Tartine drizzled with honey

So exactly what is a walking food tour? Well, you walk, and you eat. It’s that simple, yet so much more.

The Walk Eat Nashville tour currently offers two routes, both based in East Nashville, but with plans to expand into other areas of town in the future. There is a Thursday tour at 1:30 p.m. and a Friday one at 11 a.m. Each route has six stops, and covers about 1.5 miles over 2.5 hours. At those six stops, you do tastings at artisan shops and restaurants, all while listening to stories about the business from the owners or the management. When you’re not busy eating or drinking, you’re walking the lovely tree-lined streets of East Nashville while Karen-Lee relays fascinating historical facts about that part of town, most of which I never even knew.

Please note that when I say “tastings”, you shouldn’t envision tiny nibbles. The portions at each stop are substantial enough that this will serve as your lunch for the day. While Thursday and Friday have a different mix of businesses, rest assured that you will not be disappointed in any of them. Karen-Lee has done an incredible job of partnering with the best of the best.

To give you an idea of what to expect, I’ll walk you through what my tour entailed, starting from our first stop to our last.

After meeting up with the group in front of Margot, we all walked together down the street to one of my favorite brunch spots, Marché, a European-style cafe and marketplace . They were expecting us, so a table was waiting and Karen-Lee ordered for the group to expedite our visit. We shared apple and brie tartines and a butternut squash and farro salad, both of which were scrumptious seasonal dishes.

A short two-block walk, and we found ourselves at Five Points Pizza. While enjoying a slice, I was reminded exactly why this place has been voted Best Pizza in Nashville three years in a row in the Nashville Scene “Best of” Reader’s Poll.

The longer 5-6 block walk to our next stop was welcome since, at this point, my belly was getting full. It needed a little rest.

At Lockeland Table, owners Cara Graham and Chef Hal Holden-Bache greeted us. Since the restaurant is only open for dinner service, and we were there midday, we had the entire place to ourselves, and were able to leisurely sip a tasty Southern Girl cocktail. The chef brought out a few small bites for us to sample too while he and Cara both shared with us some interesting stories regarding the history of the building and their beginning.

Cara Graham, owner and GM of Lockeland Table, pours cocktails for the Walk Eat Nashville group

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you probably know that I don’t drink tea. I don’t like it. Believe me, I’ve tried. On more occasions than I care to count, I’ve taken sips of various teas when people attempt to change my mind. Nothing has swayed me.

Based on this fact, as you can imagine, I wasn’t super excited about visiting High Garden, an old fashioned apothecary style herb and tea shop. But, I always try to keep an open mind, and this is one of those instances where that paid off.

The word “enjoyed” doesn’t adequately describe how I felt about this stop. I truly fell in love with this little place that specializes in unique hand prepared herbal infusions. I suppose those are the magic words – herbal infusions. I may still not like normal teas, but I have discovered that I adore some of the herbal infusions created here. In fact, as I type this I’m sipping on Autumn Apple, a mixture of hibiscus, chamomile, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.

Tucked back in a corner of the Shoppes on Fatherland was Chocolate F/X, a unique little chocolate shop where we got to sample truffles, which is never a bad thing. Fun fact: the owner left a career in special effects makeup to become a chocolatier, so you may see some very unique creations here.

We concluded the day’s journey at Bongo Java, where we were offered coffee and a Las Paletas. Since it was late in the day, I passed on the caffeine but I certainly wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to cool off with one of those delightful gourmet Mexican popsicles — a perfectly sweet ending to a fabulous tour!

My new love, High Garden Tea

As I hope you can see, I thoroughly enjoyed the Walk Eat Nashville tour and look forward to going back and doing it again, particularly when I have out of town guests visiting. A fantastic way to try out several places in one trip, this is great for tourists and locals alike! Cost is $49 per person and advance reservations are required by calling 615-587-6138 or booking online.

For those of you traveling to our fair city, you can learn even more about what to do when visiting Nashville by clicking here.

3 comments on &ldquoWalk Eat Nashville: A Delicious East Nashville Food Tour&rdquo

Love this! Definitely going to do this next time I come to Nashville for a visit. I actually suggested this to a friend who’s coming to town soon and they just bought their tickets. I also told her she needed to scour through your blog to get more fun dining ideas! Hope all is well with you :)

I just had lunch at Marché today. So so good. I’ll have to keep this tour in mind the next time we have family come visit!

This makes me miss my old neighborhood so much! I need to get back over there and do this.

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Hi, I’m Beth!

I’m a food and drink obsessed girl living in beautiful Nashville, Tennessee. I'm always on the hunt for new and exciting things in the culinary world, so I created this blog to share all of my adventures, discoveries, inspirations, and recipes. Follow along and I bet you'll smile too!


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