NASHVILLE’S BEST CHICKEN
"For the first year, we had to explain to everybody who walked through the door that we weren’t Hot Chicken…Now people come from all over the country because they want to eat at The Flipside." - Jason Sheer, co-owner
Nashville since 2003 (Tim Gibbons) & 1999 (Jason Sheer)
A rush of nostalgia overcomes customers as they walk in to The Flipside Café on Nashville’s renowned 12th Ave. South. The smell of ‘Jack’s Best Chicken’ fills the air and a 20-foot painting of 70’s cartoon character, ‘The Great Grape Ape’, looks on as you sit to eat at diner-style tables meticulously decorated in homage to the 1950’s. Just don’t ask for burgers or sushi, because owners Jason Sheer & Tim Gibbons are sticking to chicken.
The Flipside is a Renaissance project of sorts for co-owner, Jason Sheer. An original owner of the popular Tin Roof Bar in Nashville, Sheer wanted to create a unique concept where the focus would be on perfecting a singular location & menu, rather than pursuing a more franchise-centric model. “Let’s not open something just to scale it,” said Sheer, “let’s just open ONE thing we love and go from there.” He partnered with Tim Gibbons, who had been working at the Tin Roof for years and had been looking to go in a different direction with his career. Gibbons, affectionately known by his friends as ‘Bizzle’, leapt at the idea and the duo planned to open their restaurant in July of 2014.
With the Grand Opening weeks away, Tim drove to the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee for a weekend getaway. He saw The Flipside as his visionary opportunity to make it big in the restaurant business. “I wanted this to be my home run,” he said.
Meanwhile back in Nashville, Jason was having serious reservations about getting back into a world that he’d just worked so hard to leave. “It was just 20 years of the restaurant business, and then doing it again,” Jason explained. “I felt like I was making the biggest mistake of my life. Why would I get out of something that I wanted to get out of, and now I did it again? I’m an idiot!”
Fortunately, Jason’s freak-out moment didn’t last and The Flipside opened as planned in July of 2014, although there were immediately some hurdles that needed to be overcome. The Nashville food scene was exploding, with new restaurants opening every day. Also, Sheer and Gibbons were noticing that their customers didn’t quite understand what it was exactly that The Flipside served. “For the first year, we had to explain to every table, and everybody who walked through the door, that THIS is what it is.” He then quickly rattled off the core recipe of The Flipside’s flagship item, ‘Jack’s Best Chicken,’ as though he’s done it a million times. “We take a chicken breast, pound it real thin, season it, egg wash it, coat it lightly in Italian dressing & bread crumbs, and pan sautee it in olive oil.” This southern take on the classic Chicken Milanese dish began to grow on people, and they eventually stopped asking for the burgers and tacos portion of the menu.
The Flipside has been featured on food shows on FOOD Network and The Travel Channel, but Jason & Bizzle get more satisfaction from the positive reputation they’ve built organically, one chicken dish at a time. “Customers are more important than any write up you’ll ever get,” said Jason. They’ve heard stories of people coming from as far as Alaska, just to order their epic ‘Big Fix’ Bloody Mary. The restaurant that began as a square white building with a confusing menu has morphed into a local treasure in Nashville, and the Home Run that its founders set out to hit. “This is what we wanted to do,” says Bizzle, “and we did it.”
MORE ABOUT THE FLIPSIDE: http://www.theflipside12south.com/menu
Check out a picture of their epic Bloody Mary, ‘The Big Fix’, here.
Follow them @theflipsidenash