With the economic turmoil sweeping urban hubs across the United States, it’s very possible that by the time we return to Nashville, we’ll be seeing a new face of the city. Cafe Coco, a venerable business with a 27-year run to-date, is one of the first to make a visible change.
Cafe Coco opened off of Elliston Place in 1993 as one of Nashville’s only 24-hour food and beverage businesses (though the 24/7 model has since been revoked). Upperclassmen may fondly remember late night meals at the long-time Taste of Nashville favorite, and it was the success of Cafe Coco that allowed its owner, Chuck Cinelli, to open up Coco’s Italian Market and Restaurant, Coco’s West Italian Restaurant, Coco’s at Green Hills Mall, Coco’s Event Center and a forthcoming location at the new food hall in Downtown Nashville.
However, the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many Nashville restaurants to take a critical look at their businesses. Cinelli wants to “adapt successfully” to the “changing landscape of Nashville,” Cinelli said in a Facebook post April 30, by shutting down Cafe Coco as a music and study venue and reopening under a new name and concept.
210 Louise Ave. will now be home to Coco’s Italian Market and Cafe, an Italian fast service cafe and market with a focus on “great products, take away, local delivery and Italian catering trays,” according to Cafe Coco’s Facebook. The beloved house-ground coffee and homestyle recipes from the original restaurant don’t appear to be going anywhere, but the live music that characterized the café will power down.
The official closing date has not been specified, nor is it clear when the restaurant will be reopened under new branding. Neither Cinelli nor Vanderbilt University has specified whether Coco’s Italian Market and Cafe will remain as one of the Taste of Nashville venues available to Vanderbilt students.