Creating Places: A Citizen Observer's Look at Nashville's Built Environment

Writer's Note: William Williams' interest in the manmade environment dates to 1970, at which point the then-young Williams started a collection of postcards of city skylines. The collection now numbers 1,000-plus cards. Among the writer's specific interests are exterior building design, city district planning, demographics, signage, mixed-use development, mass transit and green/sustainable construction and living. Williams began his Creating Places column with The City Paper in February 2005. The column in its original form was discontinued in September 2008 and reinvented via this blog in November 2008. Creating Places can be found on the home page of the website of The City Paper, at which Williams has worked in various capacities since October 2000.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Creating Places: Bad West End Design Part 6

From the windowless stucco box that accommodates Electronic Express, we move next to the Stoney River Legendary Steaks structure. First, any business that uses "legendary" in its name and does not do so with tongue in cheek... This building suggests some sort of Rocky Mountain lodge — and that's problem. This is Nashville and not Denver. Buildings designed to represent something they clearly are not, very simply, are "fake" buildings. Indeed, the materials and craftsmanship for the Stoney River structure may be of top quality. But the building simply assumes an almost theme park-like presence given its odd geographical theme. The fact that I am an elitist vegetarian motivates me even more so than otherwise to avoid patronizing a business whose top brass think that such architecture is appropriate.


  1. Only a vegetarian elitist would deride one of the nation's great steakhouses. Stoney River's design is breathtaking, not theme-park-like.

  2. Stoney River looks ok from a distance, but up close, you can clearly see that it is mostly just a cheap facade. I think the comparison to a theme park building is spot on. I also have to agree that any restaurant, or business, that uses a word like "legendary" in its name is very sketchy.

  3. At it's very best, Stoney River is just an average steak house. There are better choices in Nashville, and elsewhere. I prefer Morton's, The Palm, Ruth's Chris, or Flemings before Stoney River. The building's architecture kind of reminds me of an upscale O'Charleys.

  4. Its a "branded" restaurant for crying out loud! The name is Stoney River...its totally appropriate to have a lodge aesthetic. I don't have any problem with a few themed buildings for a restaurant/shopping corridor like West End.'s not hideous. At least it is upscale with some nice landscaping. The design is similar to the one in Cool Springs. I guess in the next post you will criticize Maggiono's for it's Italian facade.

  5. If you think the design is "breathtaking" then you really should get out more. It is what another poster said, an upscale O'Charleys. It adds no uniqueness or local color to the corrider and quite the opposite it contributes to a bland, generic, suburban stripmall feel (with those fugly car dealerships) that Willy has pointed out with the other posts. A little bit of Cool Springs in an urban corrider, ughh...


  6. Jon, its far from breathtaking, but I dont think it should be placed on this list. As for the block west of Electronic Express...what about Discount Liquors and the Kwik Sak? And you can't even begin to tell me the Walgreens across from Stoney is more appealing. Then the turd-brown painted Regions Bank. And lets not forget that ridiculous Frankenstein of a Starbucks. But, I guess those buildings are acceptable for your "urban corridor".

  7. William WilliamsJuly 3, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    A few points:

    A lodge aesthetic for the exterior of the building simply seems odd to me. That vibe inside is, of course, fine. And I do agree the landscaping is fine.

    As noted earlier, I am not listing gas stations/markets (thus the lack of Kwik Sak) or buildings home to fast food eateries.


  8. I live a block from Stoney River, and that building has always bothered me...I think you explained why. I've eaten there once, (not my decision) and that was enough. I can overpay for choice grade beef elsewhere without the tacky veneer.

    Those of you who think it is breathtaking, or neat, or even tolerable might be legally retarded.