A popular Nashville restaurant has captured enough national attention to be named the restaurant of the year for 2022.
Locust, a unique dining establishment in 12 South, was chosen by Food & Wine as its restaurant of the year. Open just three days a week for lunch and dinner, the "hard to define" restaurant has a curated menu of about six dishes plus a special, as well as a short wine list.
While the selective menu sets Locust apart from other restaurants in a city with a growing culinary scene, the atmosphere is also a fun change.
"And on any given night, there might be a heavy metal soundtrack blasting from the open kitchen, with a few chefs head-banging away as they prepare your next dish," Food & Wine writes. "Locust is fully, uncompromisingly, and unapologetically itself — which is exactly what makes it so playful and brilliant."
What started as a dumpling and noodle pop-up during the pandemic has grown into a new favorite restaurant that Chef Trevor Moran said was meant to transform the industry standard of long hours and tough work into an enjoyable environment.
"Chefs are very proud of saying out loud, 'Oh, this business is so hard, and the only way to make it is if you just destroy yourself.' And I always thought, 'Well, that's weird,'" said Moran.
Food & Wine writes that Locust currently "mostly has a Japanese bent" with dishes like shrimp toast, beef tartare with caviar and a kakigori dessert, the menu is likely to change as Moran and his team experiment with different flavors.
"It still feels like a pop-up in our own permanent kitchen," he said. "It's lovely."
Locust is located at 2305 12th Avenue North in Nashville and open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12-2 p.m. and 5-8:30 p.m.