The wait is over: Restaurant veteran Austin Ray and chef Jason Brumm have officially revealed their plans for a new Germantown venture.
The heavy-hitting duo plan to open Von Elrod’s Beer Garden & Sausage House in a high-profile location at 1004 Fourth Ave. N., just steps away from First Tennessee Park, the home of the Nashville Sounds.
It’s already easy to imagine a steady stream of Nashville Sounds fans grabbing a beer and a bite on Von Elrod’s large outdoor patio before and after games.
“This is about beer and sausage in a fun beer garden setting. You won’t find a fancy cocktail program here. It’s a classic beer hall idea brought into today’s Nashville,” said Ray, founder of A.Ray Hospitality, the parent company of M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers, The Sutler and the newly reopened Melrose Billiard Parlor.
The building on Fourth Avenue North housed Trailblazer Station, a bus depot that served Nashville for decades. Ray said the “1950s bow truss warehouse building is ideal for the relaxed, un-restaurant style” that he loves.
“It’s a big space, with a big patio opportunity. We’re going for a true beer garden feel, building on the history and fabric of Germantown and centuries of beer gardens before it. I’ve had this concept in mind for more than a decade, and when I stepped into this building — originally looking at it for a possible M.L.Rose location — I knew Von Elrod’s was the right project to build here,” Ray said.
Also partnering in the project is Trailblazer Station Investment Partners, a subsidiary of the Blackbird Cos. Before the partnership, Chenault Sanders and Campbell Steele of the Blackbird Cos. (who also are the owners of nearby Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint) secured a long-term lease on the site and temporarily leased the property to Embrey Builders for a construction office.
“As Austin and I are Nashville natives, I have known of him and have closely followed his successes for years,” Sanders said. “Partly as a result of our competitive concepts — his M.L.Rose and our Jack Brown’s — I knew that he and I shared similar ideas about how to create successful businesses and knew we both understood our city.”
Von Elrod’s fulfills a longtime dream for Ray and Brumm, whose friendship dates back more than a decade when they were both early investors in the Gulch. Years ago, they discovered their shared love of a cookbook about making fresh sausages. As Von Elrod’s starting taking shape, Ray and Brumm traveled across the country eating and researching.
“Before teaming up with Austin and Jason, I thought sausage was simple — nothing to it,” Steele said. “But these guys understand food and bring a lot of excitement to an otherwise simple-sounding dish. Unlike a lot of other restaurants in the area, the building, decor, menu and overall feel of Von Elrod’s will cater to everyone, whether you are in a suit and tie or jeans and a T-shirt.”
Few menu details are available about Von Elrod’s, but expect sausages made in-house, including veggie options, and a true beer garden feel.
“I can’t wait to share more details as we perfect this menu of handmade sausages and beer,” said Brumm, formerly of Watercolors, 30A, Radius 10 and Strategic Hospitality. Brumm quietly left his post with Strategic Hospitality in September to pursue this project.
Von Elrod’s will join a slew of popular dining establishments in Germantown, which has quickly developed into one of the city’s trendiest neighborhoods. City House, Rolf & Daughters, Cochon Butcher, Butchertown Hall, Germantown Cafe and 5th & Taylor draw diners from across the city. Meanwhile, restaurateur Miranda Whitcomb Pontes is planning to open restaurants Geist and Lulu, while chef Julia Sullivan is bringing Henrietta Red to the neighborhood.
More details about Von Elrod’s will be announced in the coming months.