Babalu Tapas & Tacos coming to Nashville
Restaurant concept leases 5,000 square feet of space at mixed-use project on former Colonial Bakery site in Melrose area
BY: Getahn Ward, tennessean.com
A restaurant offering gourmet Spanish-style tapas and tacos with a Southern twist plus craft cocktails will anchor the Eighth South mixed-use project that’s rising on a portion of the former Colonial Bakery property.
Babalu Tapas & Tacos has leased 5,000 square feet on the right end for the building under construction at 2407 Franklin Pike in the Melrose area. The new restaurant that’s expected to open next spring or summer will feature an outdoor eating and patio area.
Overall, Eighth South will have 18,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, along with 52 residential, for-sale condos. An unidentified breakfast concept will be the tenant for the left end of the mixed-used building, while another restaurant/bar concept is being sought for the final 3,000 square feet of restaurant/retail space.
The Berry Hill area restaurant would mark the latest expansion for Babalu, which today operates in Jackson, Miss.; Memphis, and Knoxville, Tenn.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Charlotte, N.C. with new locations planned for Atlanta; Chapel Hill, N.C.; Lexington, Ky., and East Memphis, Tenn. The chain, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eat Here Brands, is named after the signature song of the fictional television character Ricky Ricardo, who deceased actor, musician, producer Desi Arnaz played in the classic 1950s TV comedy series I Love Lucy.
Broker Tony Vaughn of Colliers Nashville represented Babalu in negotiating the local lease at Eighth South. The Atlanta-based restaurant concept, which originated in Jackson, Miss., serves small plates such as shrimp and grits, braised beef short rib, tamales and tacos.
Babalu’s co-founders Bill Latham and Al Roberts were also founders of Amerigo Italian Restaurant, which has a pair of Nashville area locations. “We love Nashville,” Latham said, recalling how the city was their favorite when they owned Amerigo and adding that his young daughter lives here. “Nashville is very popular right now and we’ve been looking for a location for a couple of years.”
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