In Response | Andy Little
It's a difficult place for me because [my wife] Karen and I aren't from Nashville, so in many ways, I think we still feel like an outsiders. (I think Pat Martin still calls me a damn yankee!) Nashville is our home (my parents are moving here this week!) and will be our home for as long as the people of Nashville will have us.
We made a conscious decision when we moved to Nashville from years in NYC, Philly and DC that we wanted to be part of the fabric of a place. We didn't just want to operate a business, we wanted to be invested in the growth of our staff, the neighborhood and the community at large. That sense of 'rising tides raise all ships' was one of the factors that contributed to us choosing Nashville.
The other huge factor was how tight knit the restaurant community was at the time. People who didn't know us at all welcomed us like we were lifelong friends. (I still remember like it was yesterday that Josh Habiger showed up at a dinner I did at Triple L Farm months before Josephine would open its doors. I was on cloud 9 that he would take the time to go to that dinner.) That camaraderie felt so special to me and still does.
I do acknowledge, as Ben does in his piece, that outside influences are providing a strain on those 'good vibes'. At the end of the day, if corporate hospitality groups see Nashville as an opportunity to make money, they are going to come and set up shop. In setting up shop, there will be times when they will use unsavory tactics to acquire our most precious resource, people. I would certainly hope that they would take a look at our city and work hard to blend into and positively contribute to the fabric of our hospitality community, like Gerard Craft has done with Pastaria. At the end of the day, I look at the evolution of Nashville dining that we are experiencing as an opportunity for us to make a point of supporting each other. The way we continue to point the ship in a direction we want is to put our collective arms around each other and say ‘We are Nashville’.