The Harding House at Belle Meade Plantation acquaints mouths and appetites with steaming local dishes, pairing every platter with a side of Southern hospitality and tradition. Under the same ownership as Bria Bistro Italiano and Whitfield’s Restaurant and Bar, The Harding House proffers a lunch and brunch menu replete with house spins on classic Nashville meals. Lunchgoers feast on classics just as holdable but more edible than a loved one's hand with the hand-breaded fried oyster po boy ($11), swaddled in herbed rémoulade atop a toasted baguette bed, and the fresh-ground, hand-pattied plantation burger ($8+). House specialties ($12–$17), favored by executive chef Tabor Luckey, include sautéed shrimp submerged in spiced Creole sauce and laid over a simmering bowl of cheese grits ($17). When Saturday arrives with its unique appetites in tow, The Harding House’s brunch offerings sate desires for all manners of sizzling skillets ($9–$13) and specialty breakfasts ($7–$15). The straight-shooting Enquirer skillet ($9) gathers the facts from a tomato, mushrooms, and two types of cheese before mingling them together with piping-hot eggs, home fries, and sultry pangs of hunger.
The gleaming, stainless-steel brew cylinders at Blackstone Brewing Company's alcohol alchemist lab froth with the precursors of an array of quality craft beers, dispensed freely from the taps of its brewpub. Like legal-drinking-age Charlie Buckets, pairs of guests stare in wide-eyed wonder at the brand-new brewing and bottling apparatuses during an exclusive tour of the brewery's grounds. Tour-goers learn about the beer and how it is made and may choose to drive to Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery to sip six samples of the final product, such as the Nut Brown Ale, St. Charles Porter, and Chaser Pale. A Blackstone-emblazoned pint glass and four bottles of beer follow each guest home at the end of the visit.
Let's Make Wine helps vino aficionados brew and bottle their dream blend of wine during a four-week course, available in the evening or on Saturdays by appointment. The foray into brewing begins by selecting one of the many wine kits to serve as a base, adding in ingredients and softly whispered compliments to customize the fermenting concoction to a palate's demands. Grape gastronomes pop in once a week to check on their burgeoning brew, spending a combined total of two to three hours overseeing their tailored creation with the help of head winemaker Cheryl Lisi. Once fully fermented, wines slink inside corked cages, with customized labels spelling out the vintage or the appropriate type of cereal to pour it in. The 30 bottles of resulting wine, each 750 milliliters, make for pleasant gifts or decorative cellar-stuffing.
Bakers mix batter, whip frostings, and top cooling racks with just-baked cupcakes handcrafted from Blue Velvet Cupcakes' signature recipes. More than 30 cupcake flavors fill a glass display case every day, such as maple bacon, sweet Georgia peach, and cherry-vanilla cobbler, crowned with frosting and drizzles of syrup or slices of fruit. Across the blue-walled storefront, stools scoot up to a black and chrome café table. This table takes up residence next to a floor-to-ceiling window, whose sunshine casts a cheery glow and helps incubate cupcakes into full-grown cakes.
Visitors pause to admire the vivid colors of original abstract paintings on display. Families sprawl out in the grass while sharing bites of chocolate chicharrones. Burgeoning artists take the stage to sing their hearts out while the crowd listens and sips ales from local breweries such as Jackalope Brewing Company. Who would have thought that this relaxing afternoon is actually doing some hard work? The Made in Nashville event does more than just celebrate local Nashville artisans—it raises money for the Tennessee Literacy Coalition. The coalition provides resources and works with teachers to raise awareness of the state’s adult-literacy needs.
At Hana Sushi House, chefs slice fresh salmon, scallops, and other seafood for sashimi and fashion the miniature filets into specialty sushi rolls. They also pan fry udon noodles and sizzle hibachi-style steak, lobster, and other proteins in the kitchen. Patrons can sip pours from the sake bar or relish the sweetness of red-bean ice cream or banana tempura. Complimentary WiFi keeps guests' devices connected throughout their visits.