Jan 25, 2022 - Business

Scoop: New development coming to Donelson

Construction of the new development coming to Donelson.
Construction of the new development coming to Donelson. Photo courtesy of Bill Darsinos

Donelson will welcome a new sports bar, Italian restaurant, and contemporary barbershop as part of a creative retail project expected to open in the coming months.

  • The development is spearheaded by the Darsinos family, who has launched popular local eateries including Greko in East Nashville and Darfons in Donelson.

Why it matters: Bill Darsinos tells Axios the development is his most ambitious project to date.

  • It continues the growth of the "hip Donelson" marketing strategy of the last decade that has seen quirky restaurants, coffee shops, and bars thrive in the neighborhood.

State of play: TennFold brewery and pizza joint, Nectar Urban Cantina, Caliber Coffee, and Phat Bites bar and sandwich shop headline the list of recent successful Donelson restaurants.

Driving the news: The Darsinos' development will be anchored by two restaurants: a sports bar called Greeno and Shorty's, a collaboration with Martin's barbeque owner Pat Martin, and Italian food concept Salento Italia.

  • "We want Greeno and Shorty's to be family-friendly," Darsinos says. "Obviously a bunch of TVs, as well as plenty of outdoor seating and activities for kids."
  • Salento Italia will feature a full bar and be "heavy on wine and cocktails."
  • One other major restaurant tenant is finalizing its lease, and the project will also feature a Scout's barbershop, Darsinos says.

What he's saying: At Greko, the family has mastered quick, casual but high-quality street food. Darsinos says he doesn't believe Nashville has anything like the Salento Italia concept.

  • "It's going to be a cool, unique restaurant with a new Italian vibe," Darsinos says. "We are not going to have a big menu. And it's not going to be expensive — so family-friendly as far as pricing is concerned. That's our driving force. We don't want to be a special occasion restaurant."

Between the lines: Darsinos is partnering with his brother Sam Darsinos and cousin-in-law Jaima Darsinos for the Donelson project, the biggest in scale for a family who has powered local restaurants for more than 30 years.

  • Darfons opened in 1989, and Darsinos' father and uncles also ran pizza restaurants across Middle Tennessee. Southside Grill anchors the family's retail development on Nolensville Road in South Nashville.

What's next: Darsinos says he's proud the project will bring a unique design to the growing neighborhood. The design features distinctive sloping rooftops and communal outdoor space the restaurants will share.

  • "We wanted to build something that is more of a draw for the community and will draw from other communities," he says. "It has a cool, neighborhood feel to it. You could park your car there and walk around at any of the restaurants or any of the shops and it feels like it is all connected."
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