A group of local developers hoping to bring a 24-hour diner to downtown Nashville says if that cannot be done, they have a plan B.
It would be called The Food Truck Diner.
“We can put some nice turf down out there and some nice picnic tables, maybe some street vendors out there playing some guitar and just roll on like that,” said Steve Smith, the lead developer for the project and owner of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.
“I can’t fight City Hall. All I can do is live in this city and carry on and do the best I can with what I have to do with.”
The developers plan to build a three story diner at Third Avenue South and Demonbreun. It would offer 24-hour breakfast along with lunch and dinner menus. They hoped to be open by the spring of 2015.
Those plans were diverted when the Metro Development and Housing Agency denied a variance from a city code requiring new sidewalks be between 15-20 feet wide.
“We really thought we had a deal cut. We really felt comfortable with it. Everybody seemed to be on board with it, and then we got there and it was sort of like walking into a dark alley. We just got clubbed. Bam! It was over and we was out of there,” Smith told News 2.
The developers said they would regroup after the MDHA denial and review the possibilities for developing the street corner.
On Thursday afternoon Smith announced plans to build a food truck park on the lot that sits on the northeast corner of Third Avenue South and Demonbreun.
Smith told News 2 the group is not giving up on building the Avenue Diner, but if the city does not allow it to go forward, the food truck park is where they would go next.
Smith said he has already taken phone calls from vendors interested in being in the park. He said this option would allow the group to break even much quicker than a multi-level restaurant.
He also reiterated that he has no plans to build a honky-tonk at the location, contrary to what was discussed at Wednesday’s meeting of the Metro Development and Housing Agency.
“I’ve got enough honky tonks. We don’t need any more. We don’t want to compete with ourselves,” he said.
Smith and the other members of the group will go before the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals later this month.
- August 1, 2014: Construction halted on new downtown diner over sidewalk width