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.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Creating Places: Oooey Chuy

Typically, I prefer to wait until a building's construction is completed before I offer an opinion. But I simply cannot refrain from posting about the soon-to-be-finished future Midtown home of Chuy's. One word: Hideous. And let's throw in horrid, horrendous and horrific. Where to start? The color scheme of both the signage and structure suggests 100 hungry Chuy's patrons consumed untold pounds of refried beans, Mexican rice, corn, salsa and guacamole, were hoisted on high and then vomited all over the building. The materials look cheap (and likely are), as does the main entrance door. The structure's west wall (running along 19th) is stark. It's not an exaggeration to say the building ranks among the bottom 10 percent of those urban Nashville has gotten since 2000. At least Chuy's doesn't have asphalt surrounding it — and that is about the only positive note I can strike. I'll give the Chuy's Building one more shot (once its finished) but I'm not optimistic. It's clear what happened: the head honchos in Austin simply used a generic Chuy's building design template courtesy of an architect who was not given any creative license (nor the chance to check the surrounding building designs) and here's what we get. Well at least I hear the food is tasty.


  1. I noticed it too, but perhaps it's too early to tell how it will look. I suspect it will look better at night than during the daytime hours.

    All I can add is that it is good to have additional new restaurants/bars/clubs in this part of the city. This area is ripe for even more development.

    If only we could get something going with the huge empty hole at the site of the West End Summit. Alex Palmer & Co. have really let down all of Nashville on that project.

  2. William, your blog is one of my favorite blogs on the internet. I appreciate someone who takes the time to discuss Nashville's built fabric. I have defended you here as of late. However, my ONLY question is why you tend to critique nationally branded concepts (restaurants, hotels, and retail stores)? While the shape of the "box" may change to accommodate site parameters, the materials, finishes, paint colors are required to maintain a consistent branded image. So, its not like companies are concerned with creating an architectural gem.

    I DO see your point and I DO understand that sometimes a branded concept is just plain ugly...depending on the context of the site. But, the original Chuey's in Austin is appropriate. And, the one in Cool Springs serves its purpose.

    I think the Midtown location will be a good fit on completion. I think it will add to the eclectic mix of other bars and restaurants in the area. Honestly, its going to look more refined and clean than a lot of what is there. It may not be Tavern, but it's not Loser's either.

    Chuey's will be a packed house every night. The food is good. You should check out the Veggie enchilada. And, patrons might be enticed to visit the surrounding bars before or after their meal. Its gonna be cool, amigo!

  3. A-Mous 2,

    Valid points. And I do hear the food is tasty.