May 20, 2022, 12:55pm CDT
Black Tap is known for its loaded milkshakes and craft American cuisine.
A New York City-based burger and shake concept is livening up downtown’s 211 Commerce building, home to FirstBank.
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, founded by husband-and-wife duo Chris Barish and Julie Mulligan in 2015, will open in November.
Barish opened his first concept, Light, in midtown Manhattan in 2000 and has been in the hospitality space since, including partnering with Gordon Ramsay to open his concepts.
Mulligan’s background is in architecture, noting that she enjoys designing restaurants because of the creativity and the ability to later see people in her space.
The couple came to Nashville during the start of the pandemic to visit family and get out of New York City for a while. As they met more people, found their favorite spots and noticed the amount of people still out and about, they decided Nashville was right for a Black Tap.
“We felt that this could be a great flagship restaurant for us outside of New York City with a rich food culture and a lot of excitement going on,” Barish said.
They found the site in the July 2020 and will be doing a full-scale interior renovation before opening, the exact cost of which is unknown. The space was previously an office lobby, and they will contract with several local companies to complete renovations.
While in Nashville, they noticed the popularity of classic American eats, but saw that no one was doing it with the same SoHo atmosphere of Black Tap.
“There’s certainly a lot of food that’s already there that’s similar to what we do and I think we bring a fresh take on a lot of those foods that everyone’s familiar with, but do it in a bit of a different way,” Mulligan said.
One of the things they enjoy about expanding around the globe is allowing their concept to be locally influenced. The menu at the Nashville location will have Black Tap classics, but also reflect Music City’s food scene.
Barish said the Black Tap team is working on elevating their mixology program, reflected at the Nashville location along with local brews.
Menu highlights include award-winning burgers like the Waygu Steakhouse Burger (Mulligans go-to), the All American Burger (Barish’s all-time favorite), wings, salads, a variety of sides and rotating specials.
They are also working to expand their salad offerings.
What made Black Tap go viral, however, is their CrazyShake Milkshakes, topped with cake slices, cookie sandwiches, frosting, cotton candy and more.
The 130-seat Nashville location will serve both tourists and locals and be a place for friends to grab drinks or families to enjoy a meal.
“We want to be a great addition to a great city, and if we can do that we will be really happy and I think our guests will be too,” Barish said.
In addition to the Nashville expansion, Black Tap is also opening locations in Dallas and Miami. By early 2023, the restaurant will have 21 locations across six states and nine countries.
The announcement follows two other New York-based restaurants that recently confirmed plans to open locations in Nashville. Parisian-bistro Pastis will open in Nashville’s Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood, while Italian joint Frankie’s 457 Spuntino will open in East Nashville.
In 2021, the 211 Commerce building was bought by Dallas-based real estate company Velocis in partnership with Lincoln Property Co. for around $50 million, the Business Journal previously reported. At the time of the purchase, Velocis announced a $13 million renovation to the 232,194-square-foot space.