Since moving to Nashville, I have tried to explore all the new — and old restaurants in town. But just as I start to make progress on my list of must-try places, new ones pop up. Restaurateur, Tom Morales, is responsible for several of them. I got to sit down with Tom to hear about his future projects. (Spoiler alert: They’re gonna be good!)
Earlier this week I wrote about the closing of long-time restaurant in Franklin, Saffire… It’s the end of an era for many in Franklin, but it will also mark the beginning of several other projects in Music City.
For Morales, closing down Saffire was not an easy decision, but it was a necessary one. “We hope December is the month and November, too when everyone comes and says goodbye. We are going to be hanging out here spending a lot of time. Its sentimental,” says Morales.
Saffire will always have a special place in his heart, it marked the beginning of a movement in Morales’ eyes. “Now there’s hundreds of restaurants considered foodie. We were the first culinary restaurant in middle Tennessee. It was overwhelming for the first six years,” he says.
Now, Morales is taking all of the good from Saffire and putting it into other projects all over Nashville. There’s Acme Feed and Seed that’s doing extremely well. “Acme is blowing up. Our local strategy with Acme and keeping the music real, we aren’t playing 1992 Garth Brooks cover songs, it’s a place of discovery for tourists.” Morales also has the Southern, Southernaire Market and Fin and Pearl. But the project he’s more excited about is still in the works. “Woolworth on 5th is TomKats latest project. It’s where the original Civil Rights movement started. It was the lunch counter, the sit-ins at the 1960’s. John Lewis is coming to town December 4th, to honor that, that was his first time he’s ever been arrested,” says Morales.
Morales’ business partner, Jennifer Masley, is also busy with new restaurants, like EIO and The Hive. “EIO is a fast-casual place, everything is organic and healthy,” says Morales.
It’s clear Saffire was just the beginning for Morales and company, and just as people keep moving to Nashville, he’ll continue to serve them. “The gray hair is not part of it. But the pat on the back saying, you did a great job. I’m a hospitality person, I like taking care of them and making them happy.”
That’s just what he does.
An official open date for Woolworth hasn’t been set.