A Day in The Nations
Blink, and you almost won't recognize the Nations. The new revitalized area whose lifeline is 51st Avenue, is now home to a bevy of new stores, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. The area still has a desolation about it, not in a bad way, just in a sleepy, undiscovered way, which we love.
The day we found Three Corners Coffee (not to be confused with Three Brothers Coffee on West End), was super cold, and we were more than happy to discover this gem, warm with bulky vintage tables for sitting and sipping and without the hubbub of waiting lines and frenetic activity. It's a sister store to Wierd Stuff Cool things on Charlotte Pike (the store with the life-size Elvis on the sidewalk), and has the same great vibe. And, they carry cinnamon rolls, croissants and brioche from Brightside Bake Shop. Heaven.
There is no shortage of coffee in The Nations--up a couple blocks situated predominantly at the end of 51st Avenue is the newest Frothy Monkey, gorgeous and inviting, with a full menu of breakfast and lunch items. At just over 3500 Sq ft, it is about twice the size of the 12South Frothy and has 150 seats. The space has a mix of seating including tables, booths, bar stools, community tables, and private dining. And there's a bar for night time. Something for everyone.
Around the corner is the 51 Street Market and Deli, which offers great tacos and burritos, but also sandwiches such as the Beta Feta, a breakfast sandwich with egg, avocado, tomato, feta cheese on a bagel. Unbelievably good! It used to be the old Savemore Super Market but has been remade into an inviting market with its ethnic and working class roots intact. It has the feel of a taqueria, a deli and a convenience store all at once. If you're in a rush for lunch or need to pick up some chips and a drink, this is your place. Across the street from the market is ModMan Guitars, which repairs and sells guitars, and after all who in Nashville isn't a musician or knows a musician. If you want a custom guitar check them out.
Up closer to Charlotte Pike on 51st is Tinwings, one of our favorite take-out food shops and one of the original Nations occupant (going on 3 years now). Their motto is, "we cook so you don't have to." Their pimeiento cheese and fresh baked bread are second to none and if you havent tried their bacon jam, you must. Zip in, pull something (chicken enchilada casserole maybe) from the cooler, and bam you have dinner.
Next to them in the newly completed building is the adorable and cozy Host Us House, next door to 51st North Taproom. It was recently opened by two friends, Caitlin O'Connell and Trina Estepp. Their intimate shop carries everything from herbs, to pottery to candles to jewelry, in other words something for everyone. They focus on local products and items with an affordable price point. They day we went in, Caitlin, son Joseph, and family friend, Amy, were huddled behind the register and super enthusiastic and accommodating about everything in the store.
51st North Taproom has a surprisingly varied menu qualifying it as a real restaurant. And in a town known for local brews, their draught selection is worldly and unexpected, which is a bit refreshing.
After you've eaten and shopped yourself to death, it's time to sweat it off at Studio 51st, a fitness studio where you can do yoga, pilates, spinning or dance. Located on 51st avenue, obviously its a full service studio with a great vibe.
The common denominator of all the places in The Nations is their commitment to neighborhood. They're in line to be the new Cheers, where everyone knows your name. We'll drink to that.