CHEF JASON MCCONNELL VENTURES INTO NEW TERRITORY
WITH JAPANESE-THEMED TWO TEN JACK
Nashville mainstay, chef, and restaurateur Jason McConnell (of Red Pony, Cork & Cow, McConnell House and 55 South) exits his comfort zone with the New Year, opening Two Ten Jack in East Nashville. Set in the Walden development, already home to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and Silly Goose, it promises to be the city’s first true izakaya-style Asian restaurant.
McConnell jokes that his first exposure to Asian-style food came from his mom’s Betty Crocker International Cookbook, but extensive travel in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Mainland China refined his palate, as did an early job in New Orleans as a sushi chef in a 300-seat restaurant that served “a little of everything.”
He’s refined that knowledge, and now, via the new Seed Hospitality pairs with Chef Jessica Benefield, formerly of Virago, and Patrick Burke of Zumi Sushi to create something intriguing.
“Izakaya is really Japanese pub style. It’s the kind of place you go after work, order a beer, and the meal is progressive,” says McConnell. “We’ll do that, have sashimi, yakatori, small plates, and build up to ramen. In Japan, you go with the boss and stay till the boss is good and finished. You drink a bit, and that’s always good.”
Having built his reputation in Nashville and Franklin, Tenn. largely on adventurous, quintessentially Southern menus, it’s exciting to see McConnell take this risk. He’s got a solid nucleus of a team, now finishing build-outs and hammering out the menu. Word of mouth is building fast.
“Look, we’re not Japanese,” says McConnell. “This is our interpretation of izakaya; it’s a fun place where people can come have a drink, have an appetizer, a full meal – dine however they choose, seven days a week. On Sunday, we’ll have a kind of ‘off the grid’ brunch atmosphere, experiment with ramen, sushi rolls, that will be fun.”
Look for Two Ten Jack in the New Year.