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Nashvillain

NYTimes article on Nashville food scene

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/20/dining/the-food-scene-in-east-nashville.html?pagewanted=all

I know a lot of you disdain the lamestream media, but this is a nice bit of puffery touting Nashville's rising stature as a national food(ie) destination. It appeared five or six days ago but since no one picked it up I thought I'd bring it to your collective attention.

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This was the Nashville Scene response:

http://www.nashvillescene.com/bites/archives/2012/06/19/the-unbearable-hipness-of-being-east-nashville-ny-times-discovers-our-food-bikes

Then GQ had a write up dubbing us "Nowville" (it's in PDF form)

http://freepdfhosting.com/11ffbf429b.pdf

And finally, the Guardian from across the pond wrote one up on us. It was the only one of the 3 that didn't piss me off.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2012/jun/22/nashville-tennessee-top-10-budget-restaurants?newsfeed=true

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On the one hand, it is nice to get national (and international) exposure. On the other hand, though, it is a bit annoying to read these articles about how surprised the author is to learn that most people don't drive Ford F350s and have a diet that includes foods that are not barbecue and fried chicken.

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What bothered you?

Well first off, if you look at the link, it says Food Scene in East Nashville. Most of the places mentioned aren't even in East Nashville. The article attempts to equate the food scene with the number of hipsters in East Nashville. I'm sure hipsters have something to do with it, but that's selling us short.

In the way an abundant oyster bed indicates a healthy estuary, a neighborhood thick with hipsters is an indicator that good food is not far away.

Look for the signs: a fixed-gear bicycle shop, a coffee roaster run by fellows with scraggly beards, a bar with handmade bitters, food trucks and, perhaps, a paleta shop run by young women with advanced degrees.

East Nashville, a down-on-its-luck side of town being brought to life one great plate of food at a time, is the indicator species for this city, which has been climbing the charts as a new food star.

Blah blah blah

People like Scott and Sara Gibson eat there regularly. They’re a couple in their 20s, attracted to the pretty and plentiful old housing stock in East Nashville. He sells toner to the government. They’re far from hipsters. But they go to the local butcher because the meat tastes better, and they like eating close to home.

That makes them grateful for the food and music revolution in their neighborhood, led in no small part by Jack White, formerly of the White Stripes. He records in one of the dozens of studios in the neighborhood. “He’s kind of a god around here,” Mr. Scott said. “Where he goes, the hipsters follow.”

Like all good food revolutions, it didn’t just happen overnight. Margot McCormack is the East Nashville urban pioneer, opening Margot Café a decade ago in a 1930s building that used to house a service station.

Wait, so somehow Jack White is leading our music and food revolution? I'm sorry, this was happening long before ol' Jack got here.

It’s a lot like eating at a Chez Panisse knockoff because that’s the kind of food she likes herself: a seasonal mix of California and French provincial. But it’s also a menu of necessity. When she started, she didn’t have a walk-in cooler and needed to use whatever came in the back door that day.

Things got so good that five years ago, Ms. McCormack opened a second spot around the corner, Marché Artisan Foods. It’s a loud place packed with people who like to go to the Nashville Rollergirls roller derby and eat peach macarons with salted caramel.

I've been to Marche many times...and that's not really the image I have of it. It's just a really odd statement...and not one that I think an outsider is qualified to make.

The hipster playbook, with its insistence on local food, is evident in other neighborhoods. Before East Nashville caught the fever, there was a 10-block stretch called 12South. If you go there, order an avocado paleta dipped in that local chocolate at Las Paletas Gourmet Popsicles, owned by the sisters Irma Paz-Bernstein and Norma Paz-Curtis.

In Germantown, a historic district a short drive from East Nashville, Tandy Wilson runs City House. In the way that Nashville is like Austin’s cousin but raised by a stricter father, City House is a lot like Roberta’s in Brooklyn but with smoother edges.

12th South happened before East Nashville? Could've fooled me. Germantown...a short drive from East Nashville? How about a short drive from downtown. East Nashville isn't the center of the universe. And again, this article is blah blah hipster blah blah East Nashville. Is that what we are being reduced to?

I think the author was trying to pigeonhole Nashville's food scene as some sort of hipster phenomenon, and somehow tries to tie everything back to East Nashville.

If you're going to cover all of these places, why not just say it's review of Nashville's food...not East Nashville? I mean, she covered the basics...places in EN, Germantown, 12th South, and Midtown...there are also some great places downtown, West End, Hillsboro Village, Belmont, Sylvan Park, good ethnic foods down on the southeast side of town, and several on the outside of town...what's with the East Nashville fixation?

I just don't like how the article is framed. There are some good points, but I don't think it was well-executed. Nashville's food scene might surprise some...that's one. I don't mind the fact that hipsters are mentioned...but it's overused...it became the point of the article. As a whole, it just didn't seem to capture the Nashville vibe.

That's just how I see it.

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I thought the GQ one was more back-handed than the NY Times article. They may have called Nashville "the most electric spot in the South," but they credited that to designers, architects, musicians and chefs who transplanted from other places. GQ seems to forget that there was something about Nashville that lured these folks here in the first place.

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I thought the GQ one was more back-handed than the NY Times article. They may have called Nashville "the most electric spot in the South," but they credited that to designers, architects, musicians and chefs who transplanted from other places. GQ seems to forget that there was something about Nashville that lured these folks here in the first place.

Well, I completely agree there. I thought the NYT article was annoying and maybe a bit misguided. The GQ article was insulting.

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Well, I completely agree there. I thought the NYT article was annoying and maybe a bit misguided. The GQ article was insulting.

Spot on. I just sat here slack-jawed reading that article. "It was a really crappy town until these new hip people from New York and Los Angeles moved in. Now it's cool!"

First off, half the hipsters I know in Nashville are from Nashville, or at least the Middle Tennessee area. Second off, while the outside influence has been a major growth factor, Nashville itself had something to do with it, and the city has done just as much molding as it has been molded.

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They are fluff articles not documentaries. I think it's great that "Nowville" is getting all this press. Those folks in NY don't really care if 12 South or East Nashville flourished first and the fact that those who only knew us for Hee-Haw are finding out that there are many genres of music and musicians living and working here is fabulous. They didn't write the article for you.

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I did not have any problem with the articles, and I don't think there will be a quiz at the end for visitors to the city.

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They are fluff articles not documentaries. I think it's great that "Nowville" is getting all this press. Those folks in NY don't really care if 12 South or East Nashville flourished first and the fact that those who only knew us for Hee-Haw are finding out that there are many genres of music and musicians living and working here is fabulous. They didn't write the article for you.

It is indeed good that the city is getting national press and is becoming known for things other than the standard stereotypes. I just am concerned at the propagation of the idea that Nashville required outside interference to develop how it did (to an extent...having outside influence and an influx of new people isn't a bad thing). I don't want it to be seen as this oasis of culture in 'backwater old Tennessee'. I feel like a lot of people feel that way about Austin, that it's a hipper and more with-it part of a state that is known for being neither, and Nashville is starting to get a lot of the press Austin did a few years ago.

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It is indeed good that the city is getting national press and is becoming known for things other than the standard stereotypes. I just am concerned at the propagation of the idea that Nashville required outside interference to develop how it did (to an extent...having outside influence and an influx of new people isn't a bad thing). I don't want it to be seen as this oasis of culture in 'backwater old Tennessee'. I feel like a lot of people feel that way about Austin, that it's a hipper and more with-it part of a state that is known for being neither, and Nashville is starting to get a lot of the press Austin did a few years ago.

And now Austin sells t-shirts that say...."Thanks for visiting Austin... Please don't move here....Dallas is really nice"

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it's a hipper and more with-it part of a state that is known for being neither

? That's how I see Nashville and I live here. I'm from TN and I'm not under any illusions about how our state is perceived.

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? That's how I see Nashville and I live here. I'm from TN and I'm not under any illusions about how our state is perceived.

I have to respectfully disagree. It is indeed more urban, but I don't want to increase the perception that there aren't culturally relevant things to be seen outside, or that the best thing about Nashville aren't things that are natively Nashville.

Granted, none of those articles said anything to that effect, but I fear that is what it will happen if wider publicity shines the light on the idea that people came to the city from more enlightened regions and brought it out of some sort of dark age that still surrounds it.

(For the record, I'm from rural TN, outside of Nashville, and after spending the last couple years in the Northeast, I have seen first hand how both the city and state are perceived. I just think that it's possible for a rising tide to raise all boats, but it can easily cause those boats to founder, too.)

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the idea that people came to the city from more enlightened regions and brought it out of some sort of dark age

I don't think that's what they mean, really. If Nashville draws talented people from NYC & LA, that's surprising news to people in those cities (who are the ones writing these articles), I don't think it's condescending when the point is, there was something here that attracted them. We can be a bit too sensitive sometimes. That said, I do cringe at some of this stuff.

Nashville has always embraced its identity, the "Music City" branding is a bit much sometimes, but highly effective, even internationally. This city has way too much character to be seen as some sort of colony of the coastal metropolises.

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I'm 49 and remember when Nashville was painfully bland (I left for Chicago in 1987 and returned to the Ville in 1993). To be honest, much of what has happened to make this city better (particularly in the last 15 years of so) has been driven by an influx of hipsters. That said, some of the criticisms of these articles is valid.

Regardless, the national publicity is priceless.

WW

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I don't really see any negative. These people moved here for a reason to begin with and just brought along their talents. Can't help where you're born, but you can somewhat help where you live! I see people glancing at the articles and saying, "Nashville?! Huh, cool."

Regarding the details, I see it as nitpicking (I am very guilty!) which just doesn't bother me at the moment and doesn't seem as significant to me, but trust me, I understand!

Plus, i just represent Nashville and TN wherever I go so that people understand we have electricity, teeth, and love others than our family, :P. Again, people that think this way are probably people I don't care to converse with anyways. Just gotta roll your eyes sometimes. I remember getting very offended when Nashville got into the pro sports arena and fans from other teams were saying all this stuff. A) They are just doing it to get under your skin, B) if they really believe that, then they probably aren't going to be able to have a civil discussion nor is anything you say going to change their mind, C) the stereotypes they are labeling exist everywhere (such as the obese "rural" guy from Wisconsin protesting in front of a restaurant that cut him off on all you can eat fish..., the crazy tan lady from NJ, etc.)

It took awhile for me not to take it seriously, but I learned. Sometimes I just say, really?! That's the best insult you can come up with?! Hmm, heard it about a million times before. Not original!!

It does suck how people have prejudice (but we all do it). However, people usually come away with positives after they visit/live in Nashville/TN. Of course, there are still those people in TN that help enforce the stereotype...

I feel we just have to represent in the best, positive way and people will see.

Edited by timmay143

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