Friday, August 17, 2012

Coffee shop coming to Charlotte Avenue in the heart of Richland Park Shopping District

These days, it seems that the tipping point is inching ever closer for a revitalized Charlotte Avenue. In the wake of increased construction on the new M.L. Rose location at the old Lavender Motors site, comes another new business serving drinks - only this one will serve coffee.

Directly across from Richland Park in a tiny nook tucked in next to Cool Stuff Weird Things, is where Headquarters will soon be opening their door. This shop was formerly home to B.O.A., and is currently undergoing renovations for a grand opening sometime this fall. I had a quick chat with the owners, Louisa and James Green who are very excited about their new adventure. Here is some of what they shared with me.

CAISU: Tell us a little about yourself and your husband and why you decided to open Headquarters.
Louisa: My husband James and I were visiting our friend, Sam, who owns Boa Clothing which occupied the space at 4902 Charlotte. She mentioned that she was relocating her business, and James and I both thought that location would make an amazing coffee shop. The inside, while very small, has great features, including exposed brick walls and space for a garden in the back. We live in the neighborhood, and know firsthand the need for a community coffee house.

While James is a native West Side Nashvillian, I hail from the Bay Area in California. We moved to the Nations four years ago. I've really enjoyed living on the West Side and love our community. There are so many exciting things happening in this part of town and we feel so lucky to be a part of it. The local community has been so supportive.

CAISU: Is this your first endeavor into the restaurant biz?
Louisa: I was a bartender off-and-on for years, but this is the first time either James or I has struck out on our own. Everyday is a new adventure and we are learning so much; we knew it wasn't going to be easy, but are enjoying the adventure.

CAISU: When do you plan to open your doors?
Louisa: As one can imagine, there are many factors in this process that are out of our control. Things that are scheduled to take a day take a week, permits/codes need to be properly considered, equipment is backordered... I could go on and on. We hope to be open in late September, but we don't want to open the doors until everything is right and all i's have been dotted and t's crossed. It's very important to me that this project be beautiful and perfect, because I think the neighborhood deserves it!

CAISU: Will you be serving only breakfast, or will you be open later in the day?
Louisa: I will definitely be open in the morning serving a variety of food. I also plan on staying open for lunch. I will determine our set hours once we're open and I get a better feel for what the neighborhood wants/needs.

We are merely 500 square feet, so there is no space for a kitchen. I am meeting with vendors and plan to provide grab-and-go options for any time of day. I've had a lot of people request healthy options, so I'm hoping to provide a variety of foods, that include gluten-free, vegan, protein rich, salads... we also plan on having a meat-lover option or two. Most of the vendors I am speaking with live and work in the immediate area, and it's really important to me that Headquarters supports and represents the community, which means a variety of food options.

CAISU: Why did you decide to open Headquarters on Charlotte Avenue?
Louisa: The location really spoke to us. That is a great block, too, with so many interesting and cool businesses on it. There's Rhino Books, Harmony Yoga Studio, and Cool Stuff Weird Things, which are all great. It's also right across the street from the park, the library and the West Nashville Farmers Market, which happens to be my favorite farmers market in town.

CAISU: Where did the name "Headquarters" come from?
Louisa: James and I have daydreamed about having a space to house all our creative endeavors for years. We've always referred to this theoretical place as "Headquarters", so when we started this project it really just FIT. I love to think of people in the community saying, "meet me at Headquarters". Further, the space and how we are designing it (think old-school detective agency meets industrial warehouse) FEELS like a headquarters. I'm hoping that it becomes the headquarters for all things good and fun in the neighborhood.

CAISU: What are some of the highlights of your menu?
Louisa: We are going to TRY to offer as many options as we can. Vegan, gluten-free, vegetarian, big yummy salads, healthy sandwiches... As someone who lives in the neighborhood, I know what I want to eat and know that a lot of it is impossible to find, especially as a grab-and-go option when I'm in a hurry. I hope to fill that void. That said, I am still (and always will be) taking suggestions from the community about what they want and what our neighborhood needs. 

I want to thank Louisa for taking the time out of her hectic schedule to share this information with us. I know a lot of people who have been waiting for something like this to open up in this part of Charlotte, and I have no doubt it will be a smashing success. You can keep up to date with Headquarters's progress on their Facebook page.

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