Assembly Food Hall: the ultimate dining destination on Broadway
The hall’s eight restaurant kiosks are housed in a large modern dining space above Fifth + Broadway.
March 21, 2021
Assembly Food Hall, an expansive collection of eateries located at the newly-opened Fifth + Broadway complex opened its doors on Mar. 4. The food hall, with a vast array of delicious, unique dining options and a modern, sprawling interior is sure to be the new hottest spot in the heart of Nashville.
Thus far, the hall has entered Phase 1 of opening, which introduced an already massive section of the food hall, including eight restaurants and two bars. When the Food Hall is completed, it will house over 20 dining options and multiple bars in a multilevel complex, along with a rooftop performance venue. Phase 2 will begin in May, signaling the opening of many more restaurants, including Prince’s Hot Chicken and Pharmacy Burger. Eventually, the hall will span nearly 100,000 square feet of space.
After ascending a set of escalators leading to the front entrance of the complex, revolving doors lead guests into an impressive interior. The space has an open plan format, with hundreds of different table and seating options scattered throughout, including booths, high tables, picnic tables and comfortable lounge chairs. The hall has a modern warehouse feel, with clean lines and an exposed web of pipes across the high ceilings.
For those of age, there are currently two bars in the middle of the space. One is a wine bar, while the other boasts a selection of 32 craft beers. Additionally, there is a spot for live music in one of the corners, with tables surrounding so diners can come to enjoy the entertainment.
The eight restaurants currently open for service at Assembly Food Hall include Thai Esane, Oke Poké, Desano Pizza, Smokin Chikin, Cotton & Snow, Donut Distillery, NoBaked Cookie Dough and Whisk Crepes Café. The hall is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays through Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Keep in mind, it’s all cashless, so don’t forget your credit or debit card.
We tried dishes from four of the eight eateries. First up, we tried Whisk Berry Café, a crepe cafe with a broad selection of creative savory and sweet crepes where the staff was friendly and welcoming.
We had the Madam Du-Berry crepe, a sweet crepe with berries and custard, and their drip coffee. Presented beautifully, with berry sauce drizzled on top, the crepe was delicious—a perfect dessert or afternoon snack option. It was sweet without being overwhelmingly so. The drip coffee, though a usually underwhelming choice, was surprisingly satisfying and had a rich flavor.
Next, we visited Cotton & Snow, a shaved ice and cotton candy bar. This unique eatery offers “Boozy Shaved Ice” for those over the age of 21 and signature non-alcoholic shaved ice concoctions as well. They also have the option to build your own shaved ice creation, a cotton candy bar, snow floats and soft serve available.
We tasted their namesake dish, the Cotton & Snow, which was cotton candy flavored shaved ice topped with vanilla soft serve and a gigantic tuft of pink cotton candy. Above all else, this dish was fun to look at and highly Instagrammable, but the almost sickly sweet taste left much to be desired.
Third, we went to Smokin Chikin, a chicken-dedicated eatery where diners get to build their own chicken platter, with a choice of the cut of meat, marinade and a side dish. Every tray also comes with a small side salad. The restaurant offers sandwiches and specialty sides as well.
We tried a platter with white meat and their original marinade with a side of the street corn salad. The chicken was incredibly flavorful, with tender meat and crispy skin. The sides were a little disappointing; the street corn was slightly bland and the salad was underdressed. Even so, we recommend visiting Smokin Chikin for the star of the show: the chicken (which we’re still thinking about).
Last, we visited Oke Poké, the first Nashville location of an originally Californian chain. The menu offers signature poké bowls, build-your-own bowls, small bites (including tasty gyoza) and larger non-poké entrées.
We ordered the Hawaiian bowl with spicy tuna on a white rice base. While it was certainly a good dish with fresh, tasty ingredients, it lacked a little in flavor and would benefit from a lot more sauce.
On the whole, we recommend visiting Assembly Food Hall even for the experience alone: the lively, modern new spot is a treat to explore, even to have a snack or to listen to the live performer of the day. But in particular, we recommend Whisk Berry Café for the hospitality and the delectable crepes, as well as Smokin Chikin. We’d also suggest giving Oke Poké a shot (but maybe ask for extra sauce).
When you’re done eating, head downstairs to explore the shopping and restaurants at Fifth + Broadway. It won’t be long before this place is full of tourists, so go check it out when you have the chance.