Sean Brock, a James Beard Award-winning chef, has announced plans to build a 10,000-square-foot space in East Nashville that pays homage to his childhood in Virginia’s Appalachian coal country.
The chef, who graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2000, won the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Southeast Chef in 2010. A pioneer of low country cooking, Brock grew up in Pound in rural southwest Virginia near the Tennessee and Kentucky border, where specialties included sour corn, beans, and pawpaws.
Brock’s new restaurant, which will debut later this year, will feature an upstairs tasting menu-style room that will showcase the chef’s interpretation of modern Southern food. The space will also include a casual downstairs dining area with an open kitchen. In addition, the first floor will house Brock’s own Southern folk art museum that will display items he’s collected. There will also be a screened-in porch, where snacks will be served, as well as a lounge and a cocktail bar that will combine fresh-pressed produce with alcohol. The bar will “focus on fermentation and mix of Cherokee and German-immigrant traditions,” Brock says.
The space is also expected to feature an heirloom seed bank, a mindfulness center, and a podcast focused on Appalachia titled "Before It’s Too Late" that will be recorded in an on-site studio.
Brock recently left the Neighborhood Dining Group (NDG), which operates and manages restaurants throughout the Southeast, though he still serves as "founding chef and culinary advisor" at the Husk restaurants in Charleston, Nashville, Greenville, and Savannah, though he is no longer actively participating in Minero, McCrady’s, or McCrady’s Tavern.
Some of Brock’s most acclaimed dishes at Husk included Carolina Gold Crab Rice, Benton’s Bacon, Tomato Jam and Crab Roe, as well as new classics like South Carolina Shrimp and Choppee Okra Stew with Carolina Gold Rice and Flowering Basil, Kentuckyaki Glazed Pig’s Ear Lettuce Wraps with Sweet Vinegar Cucumber and Red Onion and Southern Fried Chicken Skins with Pimento Cheese “Ranch” and Scallions.
Husk Charleston, where Brock was the executive chef, won Bon Appétit “2011 Best New Restaurant in America” for Husk Charleston and was named one of GQ’s “12 Most Outstanding Restaurants of the Year.” In addition, Esquire named Husk Nashville the “Best New Restaurant in America” in 2014. Brock's first cookbook, Heritage, debuted in October 2014 and is a New York Times bestseller. Heritage won the James Beard Foundation's American Cooking in April 2015.