As a resident of Sylvan Park since 2008, I would personally say that it has always been ‘cool’, but my father weighing in on my house search did not agree. The neighborhood was still developing and he was unsure of it’s safety for a 24-year-old single woman at the time.
In 2008, 46th AVE in Sylvan Park featured a run-down convenience store where Answer Restaurant now stands. I’m 99% sure the place was a part of a drug-running operation as they had very little inventory and didn’t even sell beer. The traffic circle was absent and instead home to a wonky intersection whose rules only neighborhood residents understood. In place of Edley’s was a restaurant run out of, I think, a cinderblock building - I can’t exactly remember - but it was the kind of place where you could order fried catfish and okra. The McCabe Community Center and driving range weren’t even thought of. While the good ‘ole days in Sylvan Park were just that, quite good, as you can see by the neighborhood now, there was certainly room for improvement!
How has Sylvan Park improved over the last 15 or so years? At what point did the neighborhood become ‘cool’?
Sylvan Park OG’s
Cafe Nonna and Park Cafe are Sylvan Park originals, opening in 1999 and 2001 respectively. While these successful restaurants remain neighborhood staples, at the time they opened Sylvan Park wasn’t exactly a hotspot.
Local Taco opened in 2009 where Pancho and Lefty’s now stands. The restaurant quickly became a busy locale for 20-somethings seeking refreshing margaritas on sunny weekend afternoons - a definite step toward ‘cool’.
Two years after Local Taco took a chance on Sylvan Park, Metro Nashville opened the McCabe Community Center. Not only was the facility a valued amenity to the transitioning neighborhood, the new construction also freshened up the appearance of the heart of the neighborhood, a visual of the fresh energy taking root.
Burger joint ML Rose took the leap of opening its second location on Charlotte AVE in 2012. While some might not consider Charlotte AVE a part of Sylvan Park, the restaurant was important as the neighborhood was now flanked on all sides with dining and entertainment options. This paved the way for other Charlotte improvements like Sylvan Supply and other eateries.
The contested Sylvan Park traffic circle was developed circa 2015 and served to further beautify the neighborhood and make businesses more accessible. Goodbye wonky intersection.
In 2016, Edley’s opened where the Sylvan Park Restaurant once stood. Now, Sylvan Park was home to multiple trendy restaurants both casual and upscale. Edley’s appearance in the neighborhood was followed closely by the opening of Answer Restaurant in 2017 and further development on Charlotte AVE including Taqueria del Sol and finally the Clementine event space and Hawthorne Restaurant in 2018.
I think it’s safe to say that Edley’s arrival was the tipping point for Sylvan Park becoming ‘cool’. Even if you aren’t a BBQ fan, 2016 marks the time when development on all sides and within the Sylvan Park neighborhood began to boom. So, if you lived in the neighborhood pre-2016 and enjoyed margs on sunny afternoons at Local Taco, it’s safe to say you lived in the neighborhood before it was cool.