Sean Brock Plans Massive Nashville Restaurant Complex Dedicated to Appalachian Cuisine

Clarissa Buch
The 10,000-square-foot space will pay tribute to Brock’s childhood, with food and culture from his years in Virginia’s Appalachian coal country.

When Sean Brock announced the end of his twelve-year partnership with Neighborhood Dining Group this past summer, the James Beard Award-winning chef remained tight-lipped on what his next project would be – until now. Brock is expected to open a 10,000-square-foot multifaceted restaurant complex in East Nashville, where he will celebrate the food he grew up with, according to the WSJ Magazine.

Brock, a trailblazer in Lowcountry cooking, grew up in Virginia’s Appalachian coal country bordering Tennessee and Kentucky; at the time, he didn’t realize much of what he ate, like sour corn, beans, and pawpaws, qualified as cuisine, telling the WSJ Magazine, “It was just what you ate.”

That will change once the chef’s the two-story restaurant debuts sometime in late 2019 or early 2020. The space will include an intimate upstairs tasting menu-style room, which will focus on Brock’s interpretation on the future of Southern food, paired with a casual downstairs dining area with an open kitchen.

The first floor will also double as Brock’s personal Southern folk art museum, showcasing items he’s collected over the years. If that wasn’t enough, there will be snacks served on a screened-in porch, a living room-like lounge, and a standalone cocktail bar focused on fresh-pressed produce spiked with alcohol. Though Brock hasn’t specifically revealed what will be served, he did say there will be a “focus on fermentation and mix of Cherokee and German-immigrant traditions,” according to the magazine.

In addition, the chef also said that the project will include an heirloom seed bank, a mindfulness center focused on mental health for his team, and a podcast on Appalachia called "Before It’s Too Late," which will be produced in an on-site recording studio.

Though Brock stepped away from his partnership with NDG, he still serves as "founding chef and culinary advisor" at the Husks in Charleston, Nashville, Greenville, and Savannah, but he is no longer be involved with Minero, McCrady’s, or McCrady’s Tavern. During his time with NDG, Brock earned the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast, as well as multiple JBA nominations for his commitment to long-forgotten products, heirloom crops, and Southern techniques and traditions.