Popular burger restaurant at North Gulch

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The Tennessean - Popular burger restaurant joining corporate tenants HCA, LifeWay and HealthStream at North Gulch development

Nashville favorite M.L.Rose Craft Beer & Burgers is bringing its popular sweet potato buns, signature waffle fries and extensive craft beer menu to the Gulch this year.

The restaurant/bar owned by Nashville native Austin Ray of A. Ray Hospitality has inked a deal for the massive $750 million Capitol View project at the intersection of Charlotte Avenue and 11th Avenue North in what’s being called the “North Gulch” just a few blocks west of the Tennessee State Capitol.

The deal marks a third location for the laid-back burger joint Ray founded in 2008 on 8th Avenue South. A second location opened on Charlotte Avenue in 2012, and both spots quickly emerged as neighborhood gathering places for everything from a casual meal out with the family to an after-work happy hour destination or a place to watch a sporting event.

“Any neighborhood without a good neighborhood pub and gathering place like M.L.Rose is a candidate for an M.L.Rose,” Ray said in an interview with The Tennessean Tuesday, adding that Capitol View is an ideal central location with easy access to the Gulch, downtown and Germantown.

The 4,750-square-foot restaurant at Capitol View is set to open this fall and will be located at the southwest corner of 11th Avenue and Nelson Merry Street.

M.L.Rose will bring a convenient dining option to the hundreds of employees at HCA’s Parallon and Sarah Cannon Research Institute. LifeWay Christian Resources and HealthStream Inc. are other planned corporate tenants at Capitol View, which together will bring nearly 1,500 workers to the property.

Along with on-site employees, Ray hopes to draw clientele from the surrounding neighborhoods and nearby residential buildings.

Ray said M.L.Rose Capitol View will offer the same comfortable, lively pub feel customers have come to expect at the other two locations. It will be about the same size, but Ray said the kitchen will be designed to serve a high volume lunch business. The restaurant will have a sidewalk bar accessible from the outdoor patio.

“We’re committed to the same vibe of M.L.Rose even though we’re in a newer, shinier building,” Ray said, adding he's pleased that the team behind a high-profile development such as Capitol View is willing to work with local restaurateurs.

An added benefit: customers will have on-site parking.

“To have ample parking in and of itself is a gift in this market and to have it be free is something really special to me,” Ray said.

M.L.Rose's lineup of craft burgers includes the Nash Vegas on a sweet potato bun with pimento cheese, crispy tobacco onions and barbecue sauce; the Five Alarm with jalapenos, habanero jack, five alarm sauce, lettuce, tomato and red onion; the Angry Dragon with avocado, willow farm sunny side up egg and Sriracha; and the Belgian with two smashed patties, smoked gouda, crispy onions, chopped bacon, lettuce and garlic peppercorn aioli. Customers can swap a turkey or veggie patty on any burger.

Burger prices (which includes a side) range from $9.95 for a cheeseburger to $11.95 for specialty options.

Other menu options include salads, wings, wraps, sandwiches and waffle fries.

Ray is a vocal proponent of serving high-quality ingredients, such as hormone-free and antibiotic-free beef, but without the fancy toppings like arugula and microgreens that have become commonplace at many gourmet burger joints.

The 32-acre Capitol View project will house more than 1.1 million square feet of office space, 130,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 600 multi-family residential units, two hotels and a 2.5-acre urban park connected to Nashville’s greenway system.

The project is a joint venture between Northwestern Mutual Real Estate and development partners Boyle Investment Company and Northwood Ravin.

“Capitol View is more than a collection of buildings, it’s an emerging community, and every community needs that great local pub where you and your friends or you and your family can come together to grab your favorite burger, your favorite beverage and relax in an atmosphere that feels comfortable,” said Mark Traylor, retail partner at Boyle, in a statement. “Austin is a proven restaurateur and M.L.Rose is that proven local concept that makes you feel like you are right where you need to be.”

A.Ray Hospitality is in major expansion mode this year. The hospitality group that also owns The Sutler took over Melrose Billiards Parlor and is in the process of opening Von Elrod’s Beer Garden & Sausage House in Germantown. Von Elrod’s will have a large patio just steps away from First Tennessee Park.