After more than four years of anticipation, Atlanta chef Ford Fry’s Nashville iteration of seafood-focused restaurant The Optimist will open on Monday, June 22.
The restaurant is located in the Hammer Mill development in Germantown at 1400 Adams Street. The Optimist, like all of Fry’s other restaurants, will perform strict daily cleanings and employees will receive daily health checkups and temperature checks before work. All restaurant employees are required to wear face covers and disposable gloves at all times. The Optimist plans to strictly adhere to the Restaurant Association’s COVID-19 guidelines, including disposable menus, limited group sizes, rolled silverware, and no presets for tables. Socially distant ground markings will be provided in waiting areas and at least 6 feet of separation between all seated parties.
Fry first presented the Optimist – his take on a seaside fishing camp experience – to diners in Atlanta in 2012. Executive Chef Ryder zett runs the kitchen in Nashville, serving a seafood-rich menu (see below) of everything from lobster rolls with Duke mayo to red snapper in foil and roasted whole flounder. To start, find the yellowfin carpaccio, the whiskey-smoked salmon and the large seafood platters bursting with shrimp, oysters, ceviche and lobster. For non-seafood eaters, a few options include chicken and dumplings, Iberian pork presa and. beef porter. Side dishes to share include donut-style corn milk hushpuppies, smoked fish fried rice, and grilled summer squash.
A focal point on the outside, an expansive patio bar affectionately known as “Jacqueline” will feature lawn games, crushed ice cocktails and frozen hurricanes as well as other drinks from the Beverage Director and a native of Nashville. Tracy Ardoin Jenkins. Classically trained pastry chef turned bar expert, Ardoin-Jenkins worked closely with the Director of Beverages Eduardo Porto Carreiro to conceptualize cocktail, beer and wine menus that complement individual Optimist, Le Loup and Star Rover experiences.
The Optimist will open for dinner Sunday to Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Neighboring concepts Le Loup and Star Rover are still planning to open, but the team is phasing out current COVID-19 openings and restrictions on live music and large gatherings play into the decision to open Star Rover.