Restaurateur Terrell Raley has plenty of experience creating some of Nashville’s favorite eateries. From Holland House to Pharmacy Burger to Butchertown Hall, he has brought casual dining and great food to neighborhoods like Cleveland Park and Germantown which weren’t previously thought of as premier dining destinations. As his restaurants flourished and the neighborhoods grew up around them, Raley continued to look for new locations and think about innovative dining concepts.
His latest project brings a gorgeous French bistro feel to the ground floor of the 222 Building in the form of Liberty Common, a restaurant that he describes as a “Southern Brasserie.” Located directly across from the entrance to Ascend Amphitheater at 207 1st Ave South, Liberty Common is a massive 6100 square foot space that manages to still create an intimate dining experience thanks to Raley’s careful eye for comfortable interior design. Copper pendant lamps that Raley sourced from overseas hang from the soaring ceiling to make the space feel cozier and huge windows let in plenty of natural light. During the evening meal, candlelight illuminates the tables creating a romantic ambiance that feels really natural for a bistro experience.
During the day, Liberty Common has more of a vibrant café vibe, including a sidewalk seating area that would feel quite at home along the Champs-Elysées. Open for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner, Liberty Common offers appropriate menus at any time of day, ranging from delicate pastries and hearty chicken or sausage biscuits for breakfast to French classics like Steak Frites and a prototypical Croque Madame at lunch.
Executive chef/partner Jeffrey Rhodes is quite proud of his fried chicken, and with good reason. Perfectly fried to a crispy golden brown, the chicken is available in many forms on the menu throughout the day including as part of that chicken biscuit, on a brioche as a sandwich, served by itself as a half- or whole-chicken platter to feed hearty appetites or with waffles with fresh berries and whipped fromage blanc.
On the beverage side, Liberty Common offers a fine coffee and tea service as befits an authentic bistro/café. The attractive copper-accented bar is the perfect spot to enjoy one of their crafty cocktails made with top shelf spirits or a beer on draft or in a bottle from a long list of breweries from around the world. Like you would expect in a fine French restaurant, the wine list at Liberty Common is spectacular, designed by local expert Robin Riddell Jones who was given carte blanche to bring in sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines from small family-owned producers instead of the huge corporate wineries that dominate other lists around town. The results of her search include all sorts of interesting wines including a robust offering of by-the-glass offerings.
In a neighborhood that has previously been dominated by the influx of huge celebrity-affiliated honky tonks and relatively soulless office buildings, Liberty Common has introduced a nice degree of class and culture to the dining opportunities of SoBro. You don’t even have to worry about finding a place to put your car since they offer valet and self-parking right next to the front door. When the weather warms up and they throw open the huge windows dividing the indoor bar from the sidewalk seating, Liberty Common will be the hottest spot in town, but you don’t need to wait on spring to enjoy it!