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A new Nashville hotel’s rooftop restaurant and bar, White Limozeen, opened to the public Friday with over-the-top, Dolly Parton-inspired flair.

Named after Parton’s 1989 song and album, the indoor-outdoor space located on the rooftop of the Graduate Nashville hotel is awash in shades of pink, another nod to the Tennessee music icon.

Marc Rose, who partnered with Med Abrous and Graduate Hotels to develop and operate the restaurant, said the venue aims to walk the line between opulence, glamour and approachability.

“We wanted it to feel really approachable and really feasible for everyone to be there, everyone to have a good time, whether you’re drinking a can of Natty Light, or you’re ordering caviar,” Rose said. “And if you order that caviar, we expect you to spill it on your shirt because you’re having such a good time.”

White Limozeen, a Dolly Parton-inspired restaurant and bar, will open on the rooftop of the Graduate Nashville hotel in Midtown on July 17, 2020. (Photo: Courtesy of Digital Love Studio)

Think pink

Rose said the decor of White Limozeen is anything but quiet. 

“We want to be on a rooftop, shouting from the rooftop that we’re up here,” he said.

The restaurant’s indoor space is bedecked with fuchsia crushed-velvet chairs, pink-hued prints, gilded trim, crystal chandeliers and ample tassels and fringe. Seating areas were designed to invoke the nostalgia of attending a dinner party in a friend’s living room, Rose explained.

A wraparound half-moon bar flanks windows looking out into the venue’s outdoor space, where the pink theme continues. Patio furniture surrounding a wading pool is clad in a variety of pinks and bright florals, punctuated by potted greenery.

A pink chicken wire statue of Parton is a focal point of the space and is visible from throughout the restaurant. The outdoor area is capped by hot pink umbrellas featuring scalloped fringe. 

The rest of the hotel, which opened in January, is similarly loud, featuring a mix of bold decor inspired by country stars — including Parton — and Vanderbilt University.

Graduate Hotels President David Rochefort said bold, location-specific designs are meant to be the hallmark for the brand, which owns 22 hotels across the nation. Graduate Nashville is the newest in the company’s portfolio, and Rochefort said they wanted the property to stand out from other Nashville hotel offerings.

“We just generally felt that a lot of hotels are starting to … really look a lot like each other,” Rochefort said. “…We wanted to be totally different.”

While notably opulent, Rochefort and Rose echoed that the space is more about celebration. 

The wading pool, for instance, bears the moniker “The Governor’s Pool,” named in honor of a night spent celebrating at the governor’s mansion during which free-flowing Jack Daniels led to jumping into the pool in a tuxedo, according to Rochefort.

He said the restaurant is meant to evoke the excitement of a rags-to-riches experience and the idea of following dreams to a big city.

“Everyone has a White Limozeen story,” Rochefort said. “Mine was my senior prom, growing up in Los Angeles, thinking that we were getting in a white limousine and we were on top of the world and we had made it.”

Opening amid a pandemic

White Limozeen was first slated to open in early March, but the opening was put on hold after tornadoes tore through some areas of Nashville. The opening was delayed a second time by mandated shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic a few weeks later.

“It’s very difficult to open a restaurant as-is, and to open it during a pandemic and other things that are going on in the world right now and such a call for change in so many different ways, it’s definitely not the easiest thing, and we’re aware of that,” Rose said.

Rose said the restaurant will follow all Metro orders regarding COVID-19 safety as well as state and CDC guidelines. 

Carts that were meant to be used for table-side salad bars will now serve as “sanitation stations,” with sanitizer, wipes and gloves for guests, and all surfaces will be regularly disinfected. Guests will also be socially distanced.

Graduate Nashville and Poindexter, its lobby cafe, reopened to the public on July 1. The hotel’s karaoke bar, Cross-Eyed Critters Watering Hole, remains closed.

Rochefort said Graduate Nashville, like other hotels within the brand, will follow safety procedures developed in cooperation with the Cleveland Clinic and Procter & Gamble.

“Obviously, we were hoping to open sooner, but we’ve been so anxious and excited to be able to provide some positivity and excitement given everything going on,” Rochefort said.

Reach Cassandra Stephenson at ckstephenson@tennessean.com or at (731) 694-7261. Follow Cassandra on Twitter at @CStephenson731.

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