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This Nashville Restaurant Is Mainly an Appalachian Artwork Gallery

Geometric shade blocks abut in a smooth patchwork prism of reds, pinks, blues, and grays, every part of cotton material bonded to the subsequent by impossibly tiny stitches. The quilt gracing the doorway to Nashville’s Audrey was sewed by Andrea Williams, a descendant of a member of the famed Alabama quilting collective, Gee’s Bend.

Standing beneath the summary piece, diners may discover the wealthy, earthy perfume of vetiver and the faint chirping of crickets. With these, chef Sean Brock goals to move his friends to the woods of Appalachia. “The second you stroll within the door, I’ve bought your ears and your nostril and your eyes,” says Brock. “I’m slowly creeping you into Appalachia piece by piece, and surrounding you with issues that make me really feel snug and at house.” 

A quilt from Gee’s Bend hangs within the lobby of Audrey. (Photograph: Emily Dorio)

Audrey, named after the James Beard Award-winner’s grandmother, opened in 2021. Enthusiasm for Brock’s cooking reveals no signal of waning, however right here, it’s about greater than the meals. Along with Williams’ quilt, Brock’s Southern—and significantly Appalachian—artwork assortment additionally consists of works from Butch Anthony, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, and Mose Tolliver. Sharing this assortment with restaurant friends was an important a part of the Audrey plan since day one, when Brock requested the venture’s design staff to show and lightweight the art work as if the eating room have been a museum. 

For Brock, who grew up in rural Virginia, Audrey’s immersive and transportive expertise is the purpose, complementing a regionally-inspired menu peppered with acquainted fare like heirloom grits, pan-fried catfish with turnip greens, and hen and dumplings, tweaked and concentrated into finely tuned variations of themselves. The chef has a specific fascination with Sudduth. The Twentieth-century Alabaman artist and blues musician painted on previous doorways, cupboards, and different constructing provides, incorporating grass, charcoal, and even berries and mustard into his paints. “Each time I have a look at considered one of his work,” he says, “I feel I ought to be capable of do this with a head of cabbage.”

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