Less than two months after it was announced, the first bar concept from restaurateur Sam Fox, Pushing Daisies, will open in Nashville on Nov. 17.
Inspired by Mexican speakeasies and located beneath Fox’s restaurants The Twelve Thirty Club and Blanco Cocina + Cantina, Pushing Daisies will serve variations on the margarita — including a shared punch-bowl version — agave-based cocktails and “drinking snacks.”
While Fox Restaurant Concepts (FRC), which was acquired by The Cheesecake Factory in 2019, has 75 units of over a dozen brands, Pushing Daisies is the company’s first bar-only concept.
“It’s the evolution of just trying to grow and do new and exciting things within Fox Restaurant Concepts,” Fox told Nation’s Restaurant News. “This space was presented to us, and we can’t have a kitchen in here, and so [we thought] let’s do a bar,” Fox said.
“Obviously from the financial side, the profit margin is better,” he added.
As for which cocktail he wanted to feature, Fox said that at the beginning of the pandemic, to-go margaritas from his restaurants were outselling other cocktails four-to-one.
“No one likes to make a margarita at home,” he said, recalling how neighbors would ask him to bring them margaritas in early 2020, and they’d all sit in his yard drinking the cocktails. “And a margarita’s always a good time.”
The Pushing Daisies cocktail menu, featuring nearly 100 tequilas, was created by director of beverage Aubrey Mansene and includes such drinks as:
- Mucho Matcha: 400 canejos mezcal, matcha, yuzu sour, egg white and bamboo leaf for $17;
- El Carajillo: gran Centenario añejo, licor 43, cold brew, Madagascar vanilla banana and horchata crème for $16;
- ¡Vamanos!: served up or frozen with reposado tequila, borghetti espresso liqueur, Spanish vanilla and cinnamon spiced cold brew for $16;
- Devil’s VICE: jalapeno-soaked blanco tequila, smashed strawberry, clementine, blistered shishito and finishing salt for $15; and
- The Classic: served on the rocks or frozen with Corazón blanco tequila, agave and salted lime for $14.
“Don’t be afraid of mezcal,” Fox advises. “We embraced it and we have some really easy smooth mezcal drinks.”
The bar also has a shared punch bowl for $150 called the Barrio Punch, which it describes in a release as “a shared punch bowl where the classic margarita meets boozy sparkling Mexican street punch.”
“It’s been fun working on [the drink menu],” Fox said. “I did a lot of fun tastings.”
Snacks are also available, including queso and a crispy beef taco.
Fox said that the process of opening a bar has been “a lot easier” than opening a full restaurant. “We just don’t have the complexity of the food and the complexity of the kitchen and the staffing,” he said.
FRC already had around 1,000 employees in Nashville, including a full-time hiring director, so staffing the bar wasn’t a big challenge even in the current tough labor market.
“We have a great reputation growing in the market and we can share some employees [between brands],” Fox said.
FRC may or may not open more bar concepts in the future.
“It's not something we plan on doing a lot of,” Fox said, “but it’s something that we’re doing right now, today, and we’ll see where it goes.”
Pushing Daisies also offers VIP table service and can be booked for private or semi-private events, which Fox said is generating a lot of interest.
The underground concept was designed in collaboration with architecture firm Smith Hanes to specifically evoke the feeling of a Mexico City speakeasy.
Pushing Daisies will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 5 p.m. until “late night.”
Contact Leigh Anne Zinsmeister at [email protected]