Confirmed: Margaritaville Cafe Coming to Nashville

February 18th, 2010

We reported back in December on the possibility of a Margaritaville Cafe opening in Nashville and now it’s being confirmed by The Tennessean:

The legendary entertainer’s chain of beach-themed restaurants will open its first Tennessee location by the end of the year on Lower Broadway in the building formerly occupied by Planet Hollywood, Buffett and the owners of the building said Thursday.

Buffett said he’d been thinking about a Nashville location for a long time, considering his own roots here, where his career began. There is enough diversity in the Nashville music scene to support a venue that isn’t based on country music, he said.

“I know about all the people that have lived there who aren’t run through the aperture of country hit radio,” Buffett said. “It’s a very diverse place, and it’s a natural thing to put a stage in, because we have them everywhere else, and you never know who’s going to show up. But we don’t pursue name acts or anything like that. You let your customer dictate what they want, not what you want.”

The 18,000-square-foot building at 322 Broadway has two floors, both of which will be used by the restaurant. It will be operated by Buffett’s Key West, Fla.-based Margaritaville Holdings.

“We have signed a lease and we’re ready to roll,” said Mark Bloom, a principle in the Corner Partnership, which is involved in several other downtown properties including the Hilton and Union Station hotels. Other partners are Ronnie Scott and Larry Papel.

“Buffett wants to make music a big part of the venue here, and the café is going to appeal to the young crowd, locals and visitors to our city,” he said. “Besides the food and special drinks synonymous with Margaritaville, the music will be a special attraction.”

At street level there will be a restaurant, bar and three live-music stages. The second floor will house another bar, additional restaurant seating, and a “small concert hall with state-of-the-art lighting and sound system,” Bloom said.

Total seating capacity is 350, with about 200 in the concert hall upstairs.

Live music will be featured daily. The café will be open from 11 a.m.-3 a.m. seven days a week, Bloom said, and the entertainment will include “a nightly showcase of newcomers.”

The building has been vacant for nearly a year since the most-recent tenant, the Global Café, closed. It’s a prime downtown venue, Bloom said, with the Ryman Auditorium nearby.

“We’ve had several offers from people wanting to lease the building, but we wanted to find something that would create vibrancy downtown and be a big landmark draw,” Bloom said. “It will create a lot of excitement downtown.”

Construction will begin in late April, and will involve a “multimillion-dollar renovation” of the building “from top to bottom,” Bloom said.

It will be the 10th U.S. Margaritaville Café, but will be different from the others in that it will be “more Nashville-centric,” Bloom said.

Buffett said most of the members of his band, the Coral Reefers, live in Nashville. The restaurant will have a circular staircase with a family tree paying tribute to past and present members of the band.

Read the full article here.

Buffett is treating Nashville well this year. In addition to building the restaurant, he’ll perform at the Sommet Center on May 1st. Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10 am CST through TicketMaster.

Tagged in Business Empire, Margaritaville Cafes, Tickets