The star of Mop/Broom Mess Hall, opening in Germantown later this month, will be the barbecue chicken.
A few blocks away from his buzzing Nashville restaurant City House, Tandy Wilson is opening his second concept in the city's booming Germantown neighborhood. The James Beard Award-winning chef, who'll be taking a more casual approach to the inventive Southern cooking for which he's known, plans to open Mop/Broom Mess Hall in late-August.
Located in the former Southern Broom & Mop Co. warehouse, the restaurant will serve accessible but thoughtful, eat-with-your-hand type dishes, including chili cheese fries (made with chickpea panisse fritters), hush puppy-battered catfish, and his family's barbecue chicken, which will be served atop coleslaw and crushed potato chips, made in house.
Wilson tells Food & Wine that the menu will be "at-all-costs" delicious, with fewer "rules and regulations" than you'll find City House. And the food will reflect what Wilson ate as a child, as well as what he cooks for his family at home.
"The barbecue chicken is something that I grew up eating in backyards," Wilson says. "It's one of my favorite things to cook and eat at home. Over the years, I've gotten pretty good at it. It's one of those basic foods that you spend a long time trying to figure out how to be really great at."
Mop/Broom will have a serious sausage program, too, with three housemade sausages on the menu, one of which is a smoked jalapeño cheddar sausage with a red onion jezebel. All the meat will be locally sourced and handled by an in-house butcher. "Our ethics of purchasing here will be the same that they have been at City House," he says.
Wilson says that the cocktails and wines will be playful, eclectic, and rotating, with lots of options by the glass.
The hope is to open before Labor Day, though Wilson acknowledges that this is an aggressive target. Setting up the space has taken some work, as they've repurposed an old warehouse.
"We're rehabbing an old Nashville building instead of tearing it down to make a new one," Wilson says. "Germantown has a lot of great buildings. We happen to feel lucky enough to be in one of them."