Walk into the new Opry City Stage in Times Square and you'll feel like you've been transplanted in Nashville. Country music drifts down to the main floor and draws you up the stairs to meet the hostess. The panels near the hostess desk twinkle with tiny lights and behind, a large stage looms framed by deep red velvet curtains.. Even the stairs leading up to the main level are covered with photographs of famous country singers and quotes from industry legends.
The four-floor restaurant is a relatively new hub of entertainment in the middle of the bustling tourist district of the city. It's designed to bring the experience of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry to the Big Apple.
We were seated at a booth in the back next to a glass case where historic pink cowboy boots and a studded jacket were shown off. The venue is filled with artifacts from the Opry Archives, adding a unique museum-like quality to the event and bringing history, culture, music and delicious food all to one spot.
As we scanned the menu, the band finished a song to applause. The lead singer, Bobby McGrath, a New York native told us a little bit about his story. He and the band travel back and forth between Tennessee and the city. McGrath's musical ability flows through his blood. It turns out that both of his parents were musicians. He told The Daily Country, "My mom brought the folk influence, of course, and my dad was more into rock and roll. His favorite band is The Doors." There's nothing that accompanies delicious BBQ food better than live music.
The menu was what you'd expect: BBQ, hamburgers, sandwiches, a salad or two, and homemade southern sides. The Mac N' Cheese is baked in a skillet and has just the right amount of cheese where it stretches between the plate and your fork with each bite, but isn't overwhelming.
Overwhelming is often a word that we associate with negative feelings. We are overwhelmed when there is "too much on our plate", or when we "bite off more than we can chew". However, sometimes the word can be twisted into a positive. While I wouldn't want the cheese on my macaroni to be overwhelming, I would venture into a dessert menu where the treats are overwhelmingly sweet. And that's exactly what we did at the Opry.
The Monkey Bread is a dish for the table. It's one you're supposed to share with four people, and one that we decided to attempt with just two. It came out hot with the cinnamon still swirling in syrup on top and two perfectly scooped vanilla ice cream spheres in the middle.
The bread practically fell apart with each tug of the fork. The doughy inside and carmalized outside worked in unison to create an addicting dessert. Pair it with a bite of the ice cream and you're golden.
A slice of Nashville in the New York City lights turns out to be a delightful combo. There's nothing quite as sweet as live music, hearty BBQ and an archive of amazing country music material. Except for the monkey bread from the dessert menu - that may be the sweetest of all.