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Nashville: Back in the Spotlight

Nashville

Here’s a Nashville story: we’re tucking in to authentic muhammara and makanek near the front entrance at Epice, a Lebanese bistro in the city’s up-and-coming Twelve South neighborhood, when the actress Hayden Panettiere—who plays the upstart young country singer in the ABC series Nashville—walks in. It’s the lunchtime rush, and the sun-splashed terrace of the restaurant is jammed. Panettiere and her friend wait, in full view of the dining room, for the hostess to return from seating a table. Maybe a minute or two passes, and we start to imagine the moment when the room will erupt in a pandemonium of camera phones and proffered Sharpies. We should have known better. We’d been prepped for this very moment by Matt Bolus, a young chef who moved from Charleston, South Carolina, our hometown, to Nashville several years ago. “Nashville’s like L.A.,” he’d reported back to us, “but with the soul of a small Southern town. I’ll look up from the pass and see Nicole Kidman in the dining room, but people respect that she’s a person, eating at a restaurant. Nashvillians would never beg for an autograph or sneak a selfie.”

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