Chris Blair, owner of The Listening Room Café

By Janice Malone

NASHVILLE, TN — Last weekend was a time of eating, drinking and being merry at the all-day celebration of the Grand Opening of The Listening Room Café. The restaurant recently changed its location to 618 4th Avenue South, after previously leaving its Second Ave address after five years. But all of the moving has actually been very good because the restaurant has expanded its brand due to overwhelming popularity with customers. To help meet the demand for the larger crowds, The Listening Room Café is utilizing Toast ( a restaurant technology company that’s helping restaurants of all sizes ditch their old cash registers and terminals. This mobile, cloud-based technology utilizes handheld tablets to help restaurants of any size manage long lines and multiple tables. It even updates their menus, adds order modifications, and split checks multiple ways.

Music City has not only become the “it place” for re-location but these new “transplants” are also bringing their robust appetites. The Listening Room Café is known for its delectable cuisine, in addition to being a haven for local musicians and songwriters to come perform each week.

Owner/founder Chris Blair opened the eatery originally in Franklin, TN in 2006, only three years after he moved to town from St. Louis, MO. His vision was to launch a venue where fine food was served, while area artists could perform their music before an appreciative crowd.

Like so many talented people here, Chris also moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music. He’s a musician who sings and plays several instruments. He says: “Music is really my passion but I also grew up cooking with my grandpa and working in the restaurant business because my dad owned four restaurants back in St. Louis. One of my first jobs was working in the family restaurant.  So, food has always been important to me too.”

Nashville has always had a plethora of talented musicians, singers and songwriters. Nashville’s restaurant scene is now hotter than ever. Within recent years Music City is quickly becoming known as “Foodie City.” So, what makes The Listening Room Café standout from the rest of the pack? “There’s definitely a lot of great restaurants in town that don’t have music and but then, there are good restaurants that do have great food but don’t have good music,” Chris recently shared with the Tribune. “What we’ve tried to do is marry the two. I wanted to have a place that had the best sounding music venue in town and pare that with a great chef that would highlight the arts on the stage as well as on the plate.”

All of the meats at The Listening Room Café are smoked in-house. Owner Chris is very hands-on when it comes to their BBQ. In fact, he’s created his own personal specialty dry rubs for meat, which are for sale to the public. One of the restaurant’s standout meat entrees with customers is their Pork Steak. Chris explains how it’s done: “We take the ‘Boston Butt’ cut of meat and slice it about 3 quarters to an inch thick, with the bone still in. It’s then seasoned down with my own dry rub, then smoked for about 8 – 10 hours. When it comes out, it looks like a steak. The meat is so tender until you don’t really need to cut it with a knife.”

We’re now getting into the holiday season, so catering is also available. For more information about The Listening Room Café and it’s menu, music show times and more, visit:

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