We brag about a lot of Nashville’s many lovable qualities — the music and food scenes, friendly people, natural beauty… But one of the things we brag about most, as small businesspeople: how supportive the small business community in Nashville is.
People who start and run businesses in Nashville tend to subscribe to the “rising tide raises all boats” mentality, patronizing each other’s businesses, sharing each other’s brands and loudly repping Nashville at every turn. It makes us proud to be Nashvillians, and extra proud to be part of Nashville’s business community.
Among the more fun examples of this: how local businesses team up on new products that beam the best of both brands. A fresh example that brought this to mind: Goo Goo Cluster’s Summer Chef Series, for which Nashville chefs create premium candy creations based on flavors they love.
The latest series launched last week, with chef Bryan Lee Weaver of Butcher & Bee and his Bananas Bryan, modeled after his favorite dessert, banana pudding. With banana pudding ganache, vanilla wafers, toasted marshmallow and caramel, it’s on our must-get list, and we’d feel that way even if it wasn’t a Nashville candy company working with a Nashville chef. Grab yours at the Goo Goo Cluster website, if you’re similarly intrigued.
Below, a few more of our favorite examples of local brands banding together to share something doubly great:
Nomzilla Sushi Et Cetera and Pepperfire Hot Chicken are East Nashville neighbors, so it kind of makes sense that they’d pair up on something. That something: the hot chicken sushi roll, made with fried chicken, cucumber, avocado and a ranch sauce fired up with with Pepperfire spices. Stop by 1000 Gallatin Avenue, Suite A, to give it a try.
The regular sauce at Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is top-notch, but they’ve tapped Nashville’s Belle Meade Bourbon for something even more exciting: Sauce Project No. 1. The sauce was aged in Belle Meade bourbon barrels for 13 months, then strained, blended and perfected into something that “has quit a kick to it.” An added — and very Nashville — detail: All of the profits from Project: No. 1 are being donated to the Nashville Food Project, working to share healthy food with vulnerable Nashville communities.
Nashville craft brewery Jackalope created a trio of Nashville deliciousness in their seasonal Snowman Mocha Stout, available October through January. In the mix: coffee beans from Nashville roasters Bongo Java, and cocoa nibs from Nashville bean-to-bar chocolatiers Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co.
Local candy makers Bang Candy Co. have a bunch of exceptional artisan marshmallow flavors, but among the best: ones flavored with Belle Meade Bourbon, maple syrup and Benton’s Bacon (the latter smoked not too far from here in Madisonville, Tennessee). It’s all half-dipped in dark chocolate, too.
Chocolate and spirits are a delicious combination, wherever you are, but particularly here. Another local sweets shop displaying that: Tempered European Indulgences in Germantown, whose house-made truffles are all exceptional, but whose Whisper Creek Dark options (made with Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream). are a particular standout. Need one? Head to 1201 5th Avenue N.
In late June, hot chicken purveyors Hattie B’s shared good news for diners who felt like dinner wasn’t hot enough, and needed some spice with dessert: They’d be serving Nashville Hot Cookies, from Nashville-based Christie Cookie Co. The sweet treat has bittersweet chocolate chunks, plus cinnamon, chile and cayenne spices. They said it’d only be for a month, so if you want one, you might want to hurry.
Middle Tennessee-bred Five Daughters Bakery makes Nashville’s most sinfully delicious donuts, with 100 layers of sweet, sugary decadence. They keep pushing it further lately, though, with creations like the donut bowl — which is exactly what it sounds like, stuffed with scoops of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. (You can also add a scoop to a regular donut in the 12 South Five Daughters shop, at 1110 Caruthers Avenue.) Technically, Jeni’s isn’t a Nashville business — it was launched in Ohio. But we were the first city outside that state to get a Jeni’s location, and we now have a growing crop of them, so we tend to consider Jeni’s an honorary Nashville company.
One more reason to adopt Jeni’s as an honorary Nashville company: They’re quick to pair with other locals, in true Nashville form. One of the earliest examples: Jeni’s’ Yazoo Sue with Rosemary Bar Nuts ice cream, made with the Nashville craft brewery’s cherry wood-smoked porter, plus mixed nuts dusted with rosemary, brown sugar and cayenne. It returns periodically to Nashville Jeni’s shops — in East Nashville, 12 South, Franklin, Hillsboro Village and more — and it’s always welcome.
Are there some other Nashville team-ups you love? Suggestions welcome.
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