Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bang Candy Company

Nashville Restaurants and Food Bang Candy Company
Marathon Village
1300 Clinton Street
Nashville
615-587-4819
www.bangcandycompany.com

Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Oklahoma, Ohio. It’s easy to play the license plate game at Marathon Village these days. Everyone has antique fever and the tourists are lining up to check out the Antique Archeology store, made famous by those genial guys from “American Pickers.” What does all of this have to do with Bang Candy Company? The wise folks located well.

I struggle to find a place in the parking lot across the street. An elderly lady in rhinestone bedazzled sunglasses asks me “Is this where the American Pickers are?” I nod and continue on my way. The line in front of the place should have provided the answer for her. It’s a pretty cool Nashville story, stretching back to Yazoo, Lightning FM, Corsair and all of the other folks who homesteaded the gigantic, red brick Marathon Motor Works building. It’s turned into a hopping area. Many hip and interesting folks have set up offices in the main building and the owners are doing a great job with the renovation. The Marathon Music Works venue packs them in at night for concerts. A cool gallery is right across the street. It’s a great place to be…a marshmallow maker? Well, that may have been how Sarah Souther started her enterprise. The store has become an emporium of many things sweet and delicious.

It would be a shame not to start with one of the creative lemonade or tea mashups. They do their own syrups at Bang and sell them by the bottle. Ginger Rosemary, Habanero Lime and other interesting concoctions provide a number of choices for customers. The blueberry, sage lemonade cuts the tart with fruity sweet and hits the spot. Those square, house-made marshmallows are things of beauty, but don’t be afraid to dig in to the delicate goodies. Chocolate dipped is the trend and when it’s cinnamon, orange and ginger chocolate you get a brush of exotic with that dense and tasty marshmallow. They always have several marshmallow varieties and you can get them boxed for a gift. The fudge is pretty darn good as well. We sampled moist and rich peanut butter fudge and lovely almond fudge.

Don’t despair lunch hopefuls, there is more than just Candy at Bang Candy Company. They take great pride in a tiny and awesome lunch menu. Wes is apparently the cook and baker. His bread puts their Panini’s over the top. The Bandolera for the Meat Eater is salami, red pepper, goat cheese, olives, and pesto-mayo. The bread is super-crispy and light. You won’t find these Panini’s drenched in oil or butter. The ingredients are allowed to shine on a crispy-pillowy bed. Things get even better with the quiche Lorraine. That crust is truly awesome and the creamy, light consistency inside is near perfect. They only have a few Panini options each day, so look for the specials. The small menu doesn’t provide a lot of choice for the Veggie Eater. I didn’t hear her complaining.

Veggie Eater: I had a fabulous Bandolera (veggie version) which features that floury, delightful homemade Panini bread, with fresh spinach, olives, tomatoes, onions, goat cheese, and pesto mayo. Completely satisfying, though seemed a bit pricy for the serving (a bit on the small side-I may just be holding a grudge because I ate it all and did not have any for leftovers the next day). I opted for a fresh tropical green tea spritzer-not overly sweet and very refreshing on a hot day. I also ate the peanut butter fudge for my appetizer—it held me over until my sandwich made its way to me. They’ve got an old fashioned turntable and encourage customers to pick an album to spin. It makes for great people watching, as the lines for Antique Archeology spill over into this space on the sidewalk.

Meat Eater: They make hand pressed coffee and take equal care with tea. We’ve heard amazing things about that hot chocolate, after all, marshmallows go best with hot chocolate and Souther says that’s where she got her inspiration. They also sell that hot chocolate mix by the jar.

The tourists come in small herds, check things out and then usually leave. That’s a good thing. Bang is a small, comfortable space. Plenty enough adventurous folks stick around for sweets or sandwiches to have made business quite good for Souther and her staff. There’s an Americana instrument store next door now (amazingly cool dobros) and the Corsair Distillery tasting room just down the street. Heck, did we forget to mention the Corsair craft beer taproom? We love that place. It’s in the former Yazoo space and it has some of the best beer hall character in Nashville.

So, here the deal: Let’s not have Marathon Village become tourist land. It’s fine if the tourists can help those businesses. They’ll need us locals to really thrive. This would be a fantastic location for a bar/restaurant and maybe some more specialty shops. Once the American Pickers hype has died down a little bit Marathon Village can settle into a comfortable and hip neighborhood. And for that we should thank Mike and Frank for putting their store here. I would bet they’re excited about how the spillover is helping the neighborhood. Marathon Village was cool before they came, but the extra money can help that cool grow much quicker.

We paid $33 with tax and tip on one visit and I paid $15 on another (with plenty of candy sampling included).

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