by Adam Gold
Considering things our little music city desperately needs, what are some other glaring voids that come to mind? A coastline perhaps? Maybe a large, outdoor amphitheater, or an IKEA? How ‘bout a professional baseball team, or a new state legislature? We could probably use a strong-signaled college radio station, right? Not to mention a moratorium on pre-faded jeans. Or … how ‘bout a place Downtown, right on Lower Broad, where you can take in some country-roots-rock and a burger?
Unfortunately, New York-based singer-songwriter, recent assault victim and apparent restaurateur Gavin DeGraw can provide Nashville residents and visitors with only one of these things. The last, sarcastically mentioned one of these things, in fact — a Downtown sanctuary of protein-filled, charcoal-grilled, roots-rockin’ tonk-honky-in yankee-hang.
According to The Tennessean, DeGraw will upgrade his and brother Joey DeGraw’s New York City restaurant/bar/club The National Underground to chain status by opening a second location here in Nashville. A post made on the establishment’s Facebook page proclaims that Nashville’s National Underground will “feature the best in local and national original roots rock and country music and a charcoal grill with burgers, chicken and all the Underground favorites.”
You read that right. THE BEST!
A quick glance over the Underground’s site reveals such favorites as the cheeseburger, which the menu describes is “same as the hamburger ... but with cheese,” and the Black Angus Beef Hotdog, which simple, ‘Merican tradition describes as “an Anglo-phallic, tubular meat-stick fixed inside a yeast-laden crevasse, fixed with kraut-like Dijon fixins-a-plenty,” and which the menu says comes with [sic] “diced red onoin."
The NU site also has a tab linking to a National Underground Records. Interesting. Click on it and you’ll see a “Coming soon … ” declaration. For now, let’s just assume the label will, you know, boast the best in local and national original roots rock and country. Duh.
Anywho, as my peeps in the real estate game say, “Location, location, location!” This underground establishment will open on a date TBA at 105 Broadway … right across the street from The Hard Rock Cafe — you know, that place where you can find country, roots rock, chicken, hotdogs, burgers and valet parking — and a mere two blocks from Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, where, as their Facebook advertises, you can find “great food, [sic] cool Shopping, frozen concoctions [and] live entertainment.”
So, Hard Rock Cafe, Margaritaville, The Wildhorse, Cadillac Ranch and similar establishments in between — are they simply not enough to satisfy Lower Broad’s hankering for bar food and bard rock? Haven’t those establishments, uh, beaten Gavin DeGraw to the punch when it comes to milking the tourist trap that is Downtown Nashville? Would DeGraw have perhaps noticed how over-saturated with rawk and burger-hawking competition the area is had being beaten and punched in New York City on Aug. 8 not prevented him from making his Aug. 17 appearance at Bridgestone Arena? Did prior Music City visits take DeGraw to Robert’s Western World, where he found himself saying, “What’s the deal with THIS Mickey Mouse shit?! I can serve up better burgers and roots rock than this!” Or did market research deem Gavin DeGraw the 21st century’s answer to Jimmy Buffett? Perhaps we’ll never really know.