Eastland Cafe (Long Review)

Eastland Café 97 Chapel Avenue Nashville TN 37206

I was so pleased to discover Eastland Café in East Nashville when I moved to the area a couple of years ago from Los Angeles. While exploring my new neighborhood, I drove east on Eastland Avenue, toward Riverside Drive. There I found a small, unexpected enclave of restaurants and coffee shops positioned neatly on both sides of the road. Upon first glance of the exterior, Eastland Café looked warm and inviting and my interest was peaked. I made a mental note to visit the restaurant once I settled into my new apartment.  Upon my initial visit to Eastland Café, I found it to mirror the spirit of the East Nashville experience: a true neighborhood gem within a larger city – the crowd seemed an eclectic mix of artists, small business owners, long-time locals and other-city transplants like myself. I felt immediately at home.

Eastland Café sits at the corner of Eastland and Chapel Avenues.  The interior is appointed with a large wall of windows on the left side, and a long, stately bar on the right side of the space.  Dark woods, polished floors and warm beige walls are lit from the glow of saucer-like pendant lamps hanging above. Booths, banquets and tables provide plenty of room for dining and relaxing in enticing, intimate atmosphere.

In the last couple of years, I”ve visited Eastland Café a few times, and each dining experience has been excellent. Last year I celebrated my birthday with a small family dinner at the restaurant and everyone in the party was delighted with our evening. Chef Paul Wright’s menu features something for everyone’s taste. Choose from favorite standards like the Colman Farms pecan-crusted chicken served with roasted fingerling potatoes, brussels sprouts, and a light mustard-tarragon cream sauce.  Or try the grilled flat-iron steak served with house-cut fries, smoked ketchup, broccoli and a demi glace. For the more adventurous palate, the housemade potato & thyme gnocchi appetizer made with Benton’s bacon, pecans, sour apple, greens, and brown butter with apple cider reduction is ideal – yum! Local fare from farms and food artisans in the surrounding area are proudly featured on the menu. Entrée prices range from approximately $16 to $25. There is also a kid’s menu, all choices priced at $6 and include vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce.

The atmosphere at Eastland Café and the menu specials make it the quintessential happy hour spot.  The happy hour menu features $5 appetizers, specialty martinis and $3 premium beers, Monday thru Thursday 5pm – 6:30pm, and Fridays, Saturdays 5pm – 6pm. My one contention is the wish that happy hour lasted longer than and hour to an hour and a half…a longer window to enjoy these specials would be great, say three hours during the weekdays and maybe two hours on the weekends. Then again, maybe I just need to adjust my timing accordingly to meet Eastland’s happy hour duration. The bar opens daily at 4:30pm. Dining hours are 5:00pm – 10:00pm Monday thru Thursday, and until 11pm Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. While reservations are not required, they are strongly recommended. Please call the staff at 615-627-1088 to schedule a dinner reservation. I think you and your taste buds will be pleased with Eastland Café’s offerings. Personally, I am already looking forward to my next visit.

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