Von Elrod’s Beer Garden & Sausage House is the newest A.Ray Hospitality project; headed for Germantown
December 29, 2016 -- Von Elrod’s Beer Garden & Sausage House is the name of the newest concept from A.Ray Hospitality, a project between Austin Ray (president/founder) and Jason Brumm (partner/chef). The new project is headed for a prime Germantown location, 1000 4th Avenue North.
“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. There’s so much to tell, and every piece of the story is a good one,” said Ray. “I’ll start with the location. The main entrance and patio of Von Elrod’s will face the home plate entrance of First Tennessee Park, and the building sits at the South end of what is shaping up as a Germantown “Restaurant Row,” a string of amazing spots along 4th Avenue North, starting with the ball park on one end, then the upcoming Geist and Lulu restaurants, Little Donkey, Juice Bar & Cochon Butcher, Henrietta Red, City House, 312 Pizza, Barista Parlor, and Butchertown Hall. That’s all within a half mile on one street. Places like Jack Brown’s and 5th & Taylor are just a block off 4th as well.”
“The building itself is another great story. It housed Trailblazer Station, a bus depot that served Nashville for decades, and the 1950s bow truss warehouse building is ideal for the relaxed, “un-restaurant” style that I love. 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.”
A long-term lease on the site was originally secured by Chenault Sanders and Campbell Steele of the Blackbird Companies, who have had a vested interest in Germantown since Tennessee’s first Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint opened at 1123 3rd Ave. N. in June 2015, just a few blocks away from Von Elrod’s. Trailblazer Station Investment Partners, LLC (a subsidiary of Blackbird Companies) leased the property to Embrey Builders as its construction office while it completed the 300-unit Carillon Apartments right next door. This allowed the neighborhood to develop before Von Elrod’s took over the building.
“Chenault’s team offered us access to this incredible location, as well as an inside look at the Germantown restaurant market through the eyes of Jack Brown’s” said Ray. “We knew something special had to happen with this property. It ended up making the most sense for us all to be on the same team.”
"As Austin and I are Nashville natives, I have known of him and have closely followed his successes for years,” said Sanders. “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. After a few minutes of serious discussion about his vision and concept and what it would mean for this location, I knew that we could partner here in a unique way. Von Elrod’s is the ideal concept for this location and the perfect opportunity for our teams to join forces on an exciting venture.”
This is a first-time partnership A.Ray Hospitality and the Blackbird Companies, and also between Ray and Brumm, though they’ve been friends and colleagues since the early 2000s while both were early investors in the Gulch. Brumm has previously consulted for two other A.Ray projects, M.L.Rose and The Sutler, and is an active partner as chef, brand co-developer, and “CSO” (Chief Sausage Officer) at Von Elrod’s.
“Austin and I had an a-ha moment when we discovered the same cookbook was in both of our homes, and I can fess up now that it was a great book about making fresh sausage,” said Brumm. “We had a laugh, started exchanging ideas, and next thing I knew I was testing out sausage at a social gathering. We’ve been all over the country eating and researching this food. I can’t wait to share more details as we perfect this menu of handmade sausages and beer.”
“It is so easy to imagine the energy Von Elrod's will bring to Germantown, which has exploded over the last couple years,” added Steele. “The concept is spot-on for this location. I cannot believe it has taken this long for someone to bring a unique, casual beer garden to Germantown. Before teaming up with Austin and Jason, I thought sausage was simple – nothing to it. 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, décor, 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. The food and beer will bring you in the door, but the atmosphere will make you not want to leave."
Von Elrod’s is owned and operated by Austin Ray & A.Ray Hospitality. Jason Brumm is chef/partner. Trailblazer Station Investment Partners, LLC, a subsidiary of the Blackbird Companies, is a partner on the project.
More details will be announced as the project progresses.
A.Ray Hospitality is a Nashville-based hospitality group that owns and operates local restaurants M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers, The Sutler, and newly reopened Melrose Billiard Parlor. For more information, visit www.arayhospitality.com.