Tender dry-aged steaks, seafood, vegan dishes, crispy cornbread, robust vegetables, sommelier-curated wines, sweets, an exposed kitchen setting, two bars, an eclectic lounge and a private area for larger parties await guests within a distinguished restaurant at the corner of 4th and Church in downtown Nashville.
Deacon’s New South on the ground floor of the historic Life & Casualty Tower presents a modern steakhouse with a Southern slant, offering distinctly Nashville cuisine that's rooted in the city’s culinary traditions but with creative takes on New Nashville’s epicurean influences.
Among steakhouses in Nashville, Deacon’s is one of the few genuinely locally owned spots, says A. Marshall Hospitality proprietor Andy Marshall. "Music City’s independent steakhouses are beloved by locals because they’re from locals," says this Tennessee native who was born in Memphis and has lived in Franklin since he was 12 years old.
Named after Andy's college nickname, Deacon’s New South features what he considers a Music City-honoring menu infused with more ethnicity-oriented concepts and flavor combinations. "Our management team takes food tasting tours every year, and for Deacon's, we combined what we loved about Chicago and New York foods, but done in a very Nashville way."
Having a food-related career runs deep with Andy. His father owned a grocery store, and he says he started working in a grocery's backroom when he was 14 years old. He progressed through produce, meat and management roles. His first job out of college was with Lever Brothers, calling on the Kroger-Nashville Division and 70 independent grocery stores around Middle Tennessee. He represented the company for 1.5 years. He eventually bought his own grocery store in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, when he was 26 years old.
He says his passion for creating fresh-scratch deli dishes and other soul-comforting cooking led him to launch restaurants.
"Because we're locally owned, we understand the neighborhood and our fantastic staff makes it comfortable for those who visit. Our team members are great storytellers and often share special relationships and life experiences with our patrons," Andy says. "Everything here is built around a servant's heart, and treating others in the way we'd want to be treated."
Deacon's cooking team indicates they enjoy focusing on the dry-aged meat room and using seasonal fresh produce from local purveyors throughout the menu. Andy adds, "We love working with our local purveyors: Bloomsbury Farms, Gifford’s Bacon, Greener Roots, Henosis Mushrooms, Midway Mushrooms, Mr. Aaron’s Pasta, Nashville Jam Company, Noble Springs Dairy, Sow & Harvest, Spring Valley Farms, Springer Mountain Farms, Sweetwater Valley Farms, TN Real Milk, Weisenberger Mill and Willow Farms Eggs."
Additionally, much of the meat is secured through Halprens' gourmet food supplier in Atlanta, but the Deacon's team also supports Williamson County 4-H youths by purchasing their show cattle for high-graded meat.
Deacon's steaks are hand-cut and wet-aged in a humidity-controlled room, intentionally using Nashville's 'low and slow' barbecue approach. The meat is carefully weighed and closely monitored for the rate of meat dehydration. Andy states detailed meat records are kept, and the overall process is very scientific. He says investing in a high-quality beef product differentiates Deacon's from other steakhouses that may use salt to speed the process. "Aging allows time for the muscle fibers to break down naturally, making our steaks more flavorful and more tender. Marinades and tenderizers do not do this, only time," he adds.
Indeed, Andy admits that when perusing Deacon's menu he's tempted by many choices, but often comes back to the reality that he knows he can't get this type of steak anywhere else. He also adores Deacon's boldly flavored vegetables, especially the collard greens, carrots and mashed potatoes that are creamed four to six times.
Deacon's New South also features an impressive selection of spirits, wines and cocktails that were developed in the style and aesthetic of the post Prohibition and Art Deco era. In fact, Austin Hamilton, Deacon's lead bartender who spearheads Deacon's drink mixology recently was recognized by New York-based Wine Enthusiast Magazine for his expertise and personal efforts.
The restaurant, at 401 Church St., is open for dine-in dinner daily between 4-10 p.m. Happy Hour at the bar and on the terrace is available daily from 4-6 p.m.
At press time, Andy says they were planning to reveal a new fall menu around Oct. 1 to deliver to their eclectic-loving patrons from all walks of life.
"We pride ourselves at being local, working hard at our craft, and we're very proud to be part of the downtown Nashville community." ~Andy Marshall, Deacon's New South owner and proprietor of A. Marshall Hospitality