Urban Grub: New Member Spotlight

UrbanGrub-7573The “Fish Pit and Southern Cantina” concept means there’s something here for everyone—quite literally. In fact, the menu at Urban Grub includes arguably some of the best seafood, freshly shucked oysters and cured, smoked and grilled meats to be found anywhere in the Music City.

The eclectic wine and spirits list doesn’t disappoint either, and their in-house pastry chef ensures unique, mouth-watering desserts like vanilla bean donuts served with a bacon toffee drizzle every night.

Positioned in the center of the burgeoning 12South neighborhood, Urban Grub opened its doors in April 2012 after noted Nashville restaurateur Jay Pennington and partner Billy Inman reconstructed the former car wash building into a remarkably modernized structure, complete with garage doors to let in the outside throughout. While the bones of the original building were preserved, the restaurant now serves as yet another reminder that the revitalization of the area is still in full swing.

In terms of day-to-day operations, Pennington’s right-hand man is General Manager Garth Nash. The pair has a history that harkens back to the Bound’ry, where they worked together for more than five years.

“I stopped by to see how the project was going, and Jay said ‘I need you – can you come back next week?’,” Nash says. “When the chance came to work with Jay, I didn’t ask questions. I just jumped at it! That should give you some idea of the kind of visionary he is.”

One of Urban Grub’s strongest allures is its atmosphere.

Nash says Pennington has an eye for design, and it’s not hard to believe: the wooden building has two entrances – one for the bar and one for the main dining room; the two are married together by an oyster bar that fronts the kitchen. Walk into the bar area and you’re greeted by a freestanding brick fireplace and a beer garden in the back.

The 165-seat restaurant also includes three patios, four fireplaces and a fire pit. But it’s the flames coming from the kitchen that steal the show. Through a plate glass window, guests can watch steaks going down on the grill just three inches from where they stand.

And when it comes to food, wine and cocktails, Urban Grub is raising the bar.

“The second part of our name, ‘Fish Pit and Cantina,’ encompasses our offerings. The fish: great fresh seafood, local trout, oysters; the pit: sausages, steak, ribs and Andouille pork shank; and finally the cantina: cutting edge bar, craft cocktails and interesting spirits and local craft beers,” Nash says. “We intentionally designed the menu to have everything from inexpensive tacos to prime steak and fresh fish overnighted from the Gulf and served the day after it’s caught.”

Head chef Edgar Pendley can be found in the kitchen butchering his own meat or milling his own grits – if there’s an extra step to ensure quality, chances are he’s already taken it.

“We use the same grade of steak that you would get at Peter Luger’s in New York City, and its all-natural, organically fed, hormone-free meat.”

Nash, who is a self proclaimed “wine geek” and trained Sommelier, says they carry one of the best wine selections in the area, with vintners from Uruguay, France, Spain, and across America represented.

“We try to keep it eclectic,” Nash says. “Instead of worrying about the name, we offer value. You can get a great glass of wine for $6 or a bottle for $100, whatever your preference.”

And anything they offer by the glass, they also sell by the “quartino,” or third of a bottle—another quirky distinction for Urban Grub.

Nash says the menu is evolving and becoming that much better by the week, giving them more confidence in what they are offering. Of course, the fun atmosphere and enchanting environment doesn’t hurt either.

Our advice? Visit the oyster bar on any given night and make a new friend over a glass of wine, or stroll into the herb garden strung with lights and hang out by the fire. Or dine with a large group in one of their private event rooms—whatever you fancy, be it a $6 taco and a glass of Malbec at the bar or the finest grade of beef you can buy, rest assured you can find it at Urban Grub.

Urban Grub is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Find more information on their website: www.urbangrub.net