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The Largest Selection of Wholesale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products in Nashville

When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Nashville, TN. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market - to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.

Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Nashville's leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.

If you're looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!

The Nazareth Difference

At Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market, our mission is simple: bring you and your family the largest selection of wholesale Mediterranean products in Nashville. When coupled with our helpful, friendly staff and authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, it's easy to see why we are the top Middle Eastern grocery wholesaler in Nashville, TN. We're proud to carry just about every kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern product that you can think of, from prepared meals and hookahs to fine seasonings and sweets. We're here for our customers and want each one of them to have a unique, one-of-a-kind experience when they shop with us.

Our loyal customers love our selection of the following wholesale foods and gifts:

  • Fresh Breads
  • OlivesOlives
  • HummusHummus
  • CheesesCheeses
  • SaucesSauces
  • Savory-FoodsSavory Foods
  • DessertsDesserts
  • DrinksDrinks
  • HookahsHookahs
  • TobaccoTobacco
  • SaucesGifts
  • Much More!Much More!

Our Service Areas

Most Popular Wholesale Mediterranean Foods

There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That's why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.

Mediterranean countries include:

  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Spain
Mediterranean Grocery Nashville, TN

So, when it comes to the most popular wholesale Mediterranean products in Nashville,
what are we talking about?

 Mediterranean Supermarkets Nashville, TN

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a classic Mediterranean dairy product that is often enjoyed on its own, in Greek salads, on bread, or mixed with zucchini. Depending on where the feta is sourced and produced, the cheese can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or even a combination of the three. Regardless of the animal it comes from, this delicious cheese is a crowd favorite.

 Mediterranean Grocery Store Nashville, TN

Baba Ganoush

This Levantine dish is one of the most well-known Mediterranean dishes to eat in the United States. It typically comes in the form of a dip, served with pita or another kind of dipping bread. Commonly served before dinner as an appetizer of sorts, it usually features tahini, eggplant, garlic, spices, and sometimes yogurt. This tasty cuisine works great as a spread on a sandwich, or you can even eat it with a spoon, all on its own.

 Middle Eastern Grocery Nashville, TN


If you have never tried authentic baklava before, get ready to have your mind blown. This dessert is a traditional Mediterranean food that will have your taste buds craving more and more. Once you open a box of baklava from our Mediterranean grocery wholesaler in Nashville, TN, you won't want to stop eating! Baklava is made with layers of thin filo dough, which is layered together, filled with chopped nuts (think pistachios), and sealed with honey or syrup. Baklava is so good that its origins are debated, leaving many wondering which country invented the dessert. Everyone from the Turks to the Greeks and even Middle Easterners hold unique takes on baklava. Try each one to discover your favorite!

Most Popular Wholesale Middle Eastern Foods

Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it's no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.

 Mediterranean Food Stores Nashville, TN


This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It's best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party - you're almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.

 Middle Eastern Market Nashville, TN


We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason - this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Nashville, TN.

 Greek Grocery Store Nashville, TN


Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That's because it's considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

If there's one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.

Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, this "diet" is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures' foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:

Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Reduced Risk
of Heart Disease

Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.

Reduced Risk of Stroke for Women

Reduced Risk
of Stroke for Women

In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke - especially women who were at high risk of having one.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery - we're always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.

Try these tips:

Try these tips


Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It's refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.


Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn't have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.


Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don't start with meats and sweets.


They're tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.


Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.


Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.

Why Buy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products Wholesale?

Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you're essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That's great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.

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 Middle Eastern Store Nashville, TN

Latest News in Nashville, TN

Winter storm updates: Nashville-area to get more snow; roads, flights impacted

This story is being offered for free. Please consider becoming a subscriber to help power our ongoing local coverage.The first winter storm of 2024 began its sweep through ...

This story is being offered for free. Please consider becoming a subscriber to help power our ongoing local coverage.

The first winter storm of 2024 began its sweep through the state Sunday into Monday morning, bringing mounting precipitation and hazardous conditions.

Snow is expected to continue falling throughout Monday, with up to an additional 6 inches expected in some areas.

Temperatures across the area remain in "dangerous" lows, according to the Nashville Weather Service's statement on social media, and are not expected to climb above freezing until Thursday. It was 12 degrees around 7 a.m. Monday, with a high for the day of 20 and a low of 9.

The Nashville Weather Service's winter storm warning will continue until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Metro Nashville Schools announce closure, others extend snow days

Metro Nashville Public Schools announced Monday morning that they'd be closed Tuesday and Wednesday amid snow and frigid temperatures.

Nearly a dozen districts across Middle Tennessee have closed school Tuesday. Bedford County and Maury County schools also announced Wednesday closures.

Full list of School closures:School closings: Middle Tennessee schools closing Tuesday, Wednesday due to winter storm

Tennessee Valley Authority: Lower thermostats to conserve, avoid overloading power grid

Winter weather puts a strain on power demand. And with frigid temperatures expected through Thursday, Middle Tennesseans are bundling up and turning the heat up to stay warm.

Tennessee Valley Authority short-term load planning specialist Nick Austin said power demand is expected to spike Tuesday and Wednesday as temperatures stay below freezing.

Austin said on a typical winter day, TVA sees two peaks. The first is in the morning, around sunrise before a drop off, especially when the sun is shining and keeping things warmer.

Early evening brings another peak for TVA power usage as residents come back from work and are turning on lights.

To help conserve energy, Austin said users can drop their thermostat down three or four degrees before they leave for the morning.

Having a heat specialist check your system once per year is recommended to ensure your system is working properly.

A snow day for Lily and Violent

Fluffy, white snow filled the tops of their boots as they trudged up the hill, to the top of their neighbor's yard.

In the frigid 12 degree Fahrenheit weather Monday morning, 13-year-old Lily and 9-year-old Violet Buntin were out sledding down one of the many steep hills in their Cheatham County neighborhood.

They screamed and giggled as they careened down the slope, tumbling into the snow-covered, slushy road below.

With one slick, green sled between them, one waited and watched from the top of the slope as the other plunged down into the bank.

Metro Water: Pipes holding up, trash collection suspended Tuesday

Middle Tennesseans should monitor for burst pipes in the coming days as the region continues to experience frigid temperatures and what could be another round of accumulating snow later in the week.

Sonia Allman, a spokesperson with Metro Water, said there were no reports of burst pipes in Nashville Monday morning. If residents experience water service interruptions, they are asked to check the MWS outage map before calling 615-862-4600 to keep lines free.

Allman said water main breaks are possible, but likely after frigid temperatures break and the pipes begin the thaw.

Trash and recycling collections will be suspended Tuesday and assessed in the coming hours before a decision is made for Wednesday, Allman said.

Convenience centers will be closed Tuesday and recycling centers will not be open.

Preliminary snowfall totals in Middle Tennessee

As snow continues to fall across Middle Tennessee, it is still too early to say exactly how much has fallen, according to the National Weather Service

Here are some preliminary totals as of 8 a.m. Monday.

'All hands on deck': Snow plows out clearing Nashville, Middle Tennessee highways

Big LePlowski, Snowlene, Brinestone Cowboy and Sleetwood Mac are among the snow plows clearing roadways in Middle Tennessee as snowfall continued Monday.

Though there are no road closures, conditions remain dangerous and are only getting worse as snow continues to fall, TDOT community relations director Beth Emmons said, noting that TDOT's priority is clearing interstates in Middle Tennessee. They are encouraging everyone to stay home.

"It's all hands on deck," Emmons said of road crews working. "Our Traffic Management Centers are fully staffed … we've been salting and plowing all night."

But in freezing temperatures, Emmons said salt becomes ineffective.

Snow plows hampered by consistant snowfall

With no break in snowfall, roads are getting covered quickly after they are plowed, Nashville Department of Transportation spokesperson Cortnye Stone said. Extreme temperatures are causing a hard freeze and icy road conditions, she said.

Stone said they are encouraging everyone to avoid driving if they can.

"We will continue to run all crews on primary routes 24/7 until they’re cleared, and then move on to secondary routes," Stone said.

Power outages remain low

Very few power outages were reported across Middle Tennessee by 8 a.m.

Nashville Electric Service reported about 140 customers out predominantly in East Nashville.

Cumberland Electric Membership Corporation and Middle Tennessee Electric reported just two and three customers without power, respectively.

Nashville wakes up to multiple inches of snow

So far, the Nashville area has seen anywhere from 3-5 inches and another inch is expected before the day is over, according to Meteorologist Mark Rose.

"We've gotten most of what we're going to get, but not all," Rose said, noting that the weather station in Old Hickory was recording 2.75 inches as of 6 a.m. on Monday. "We'll see more snow throughout the day. It will linger into the evening. There'll be light snow and flurries before it ends entirely."

And the snow on the ground is expected to stick around. The majority of Middle Tennessee won't see above freezing temperatures until Thursday, though Rose said Nashville and some areas along the Tennessee River could see a high of 33 degrees on Wednesday.

Middle Tennessee as a whole won't see temperatures that far above freezing on Thursday, with highs forecast in the mid-to-upper 30's. Then, there will be another chance of snow Thursday night into Friday, Rose said.

"We're not forecasting amounts with that system yet," he said.

But, during any snow or cold event, people should limit their time outside and use common sense, Rose said.

"We're going to be in the teens all day." he added. "If you don't have to be out, then don't be out in it."

Road conditions hazardous

The Tennessee Department of Transportation urged drivers to stay home if possible as their crews salted and plowed roads Monday morning.

School closures across the state

Schools were closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, and numerous districts announced they would also be closed on Tuesday.

So far, Cheatham County Schools, Lebanon Special School District, Robertson County Schools, Rutherford County Schools, Sumner County Schools and Wilson County Schools have announced closures for Tuesday.

Keep up with the latest closures here.

Flights canceled at BNA

Dozens of flights were canceled or delayed at Nashville Interational Airport on Monday.

"Winter weather prep is underway at BNA!" the airport posted on X on Sunday. "We are applying deicing fluid to the runways, taxiways, and terminal ramps."

Check on flight status here.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day march canceled

Nashville's Martin Luther King Jr. Day march was canceled. The convocation will take place virtually on the organizers' Facebook page.

Legislative offices closed

Offices will be closed at the Tennessee General Assembly on Tuesday following the Monday holiday.

The legislature, which began its session last week, had several committee meetings on the schedule but announced its closure Sunday afternoon as the winter storm threat advanced. The General Assembly told employees to await further instructions on Wednesday's schedule.

Need assistance?

Metro Nashville will be extending the hours of operation for its cold weather overflow shelter as the storm impacts those who are unhoused.

The shelter, which opened 7 p.m. Sunday, will remain open until Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. and is located at 3230 Brick Church Pike in Nashville.

Couples and pets are welcome, and pets must be crated.

Metro Social Services will continue monitoring the weather to determine if a further extension is needed and asks that those in need of shelter first go to the Nashville Rescue Mission, located at 639 Lafayette St., and Room In The Inn, located at 705 Drexel St.

As Gold Rush plans to reopen, Nashville experiences resurgence of classic restaurants

For a 20-something, shaggy-haired Randy Rayburn in the mid-'70s, Midtown's Rock Block was a haven from the workaday routine and the ever-present twang of country music.He could strut into Exit/In wearing his characteristic motorcycle jacket, catch a Jimmy Buffett, Mac Gayden or Willie Nelson concert and mingle with others who didn't fit into the mainstream Nashville scene on the edgy two-block strip of Elliston Place in Midtown.After the show, he and his friends could keep the party going at the Gold Rush with dr...

For a 20-something, shaggy-haired Randy Rayburn in the mid-'70s, Midtown's Rock Block was a haven from the workaday routine and the ever-present twang of country music.

He could strut into Exit/In wearing his characteristic motorcycle jacket, catch a Jimmy Buffett, Mac Gayden or Willie Nelson concert and mingle with others who didn't fit into the mainstream Nashville scene on the edgy two-block strip of Elliston Place in Midtown.

After the show, he and his friends could keep the party going at the Gold Rush with drinks and TexMex food — including their signature "bean roll."

Now, Rayburn is a successful restaurateur who is part of an effort with downtown developer Tony Giarratana to bring back the energy that the Rock Block had from the 1970s to 1990s. They reopened Elliston Place Soda Shop in 2020 and are now working on plans to bring back Gold Rush.

"In the mid-1970s (Rock Block) was just a really fun spot compared to the more traditional places in Nashville," Rayburn said. "It really became the hangout of those people in the music industry who were up-and-coming."

Gold Rush is the latest of several long-standing Nashville restaurant brands that closed and reopened to popular demand. In January, Arnold's Country Kitchen meat-and-three reopened temporarily after closing in 2022 and was immediately inundated with crowds who missed their chicken-fried chicken, turnip greens and black-eyed peas.

Rotier's Restaurant closed its 90-year-old home on Elliston Place in 2021 but opened a location inside Bridgestone Arena the same year, where locals can still enjoy their signature cheeseburger on french bread.

Long-standing local restaurant brands like Arnold's, Rotier's and Gold Rush have established followings because they strike a deep chord with locals, said Greater Nashville Hospitality Association President Leesa LeClaire.

"I think they conjure up memories," LeClaire said. "My favorite thing to do was to go to an event in Centennial Park and walk to Rotier's for a cheeseburger. Those fond memories that we all have are the draw of places like Elliston Place Soda Shop."

Ultimately, LeClaire said Nashville's restaurant scene relies on having a diversity of homegrown favorites and newcomers from national brands to standalone restaurants like Sicilian chef-driven Tutti Da Gio.

"We are so fortunate to have a really strong neighborhood network with a variety of fast-casual to luxury dinners," LeClaire said.

'We're all in'

The closure of Gold Rush in 2019 after 44 years was widely mourned as the end of an era. Business had dropped off considerably after the bar outlawed smoking in 2016.

Rayburn and Giarratana worked together to bring back Elliston Place Soda Shop and are now designing a reconfigured Gold Rush using as much of the original materials and decorations as possible.

"If we're successful in redeveloping the Rock Block, I think it would be really terrific to bring all this back to life," Giarratana said. "We're all in."

Ridgefield Properties bought three parcels, including Gold Rush, in 2021 and leased them to Giarratana in 2022, according to property records. They have agreed to maintain the look of the historic storefronts.

Giarratana is also developing several apartment buildings on the block. Behind the Gold Rush and neighboring retail storefronts, he's building a 90-unit apartment complex called Rock Block Flats.

Across the street, AJ Capital Partners last year reopened a renovated Exit/In — the strip's beloved concert venue.

But they're not done making plans to revitalize the run-down strip.

Next up: Bring back Mosko's?

Giarratana and his partners are already lining up their next classic Rock Block brand to bring back to life: Mosko's Muncheonette newstand, sandwich shop and tobacco purveyor, which was a mainstay of the block and the first place to sell The New York Times in Nashville.

Scott Moskowitz was in his 20s with no prior business experience when he opened Mosko's on Elliston Place in 1977. But it grew to be a go-to for everyone from local entrepreneurs to famous musicians.

"In the early days, I was working behind the counter and Bob Dylan walked in," Moskowitz said. "Everybody rubbed elbows and everybody got along. It was nothing for a roadie for John Prine to be in line next to Tommy Frist, CEO and founder of HCA Healthcare."

It was the only place to get periodicals from around the country, from Billboard to Variety, Hemmings Motor News and Harvard Business Review — with a tobacco pipe and a sandwich.

Moskowitz said he hopes to revive the shop for a new generation.

"Everything old becomes new and people are looking for experiences," he said. "I think it'd be a home run."

Rayburn said he envisions the transformation of Elliston Place being similar to Hillsboro Village's growth after the 1990s, where he ran the popular Sunset Grill for decades.

"It's the perfect location, it just needs a renaissance to occur," Rayburn said. "The whole goal is to retain the grit and glory of the original space. I love my decades of misspent youth entertaining myself on the Rock Block."

They've even got permission to sell Gold Rush's popular bean rolls.

There is still a lot of work to do before a new Gold Rush opens — and Rayburn said he hopes it's named "After the Gold Rush," harkening the Neil Young song. They're currently reviewing architectural designs to configure the redesigned spaces.

"It was my favorite place to go after a long day at work," Rayburn said. "It became my favorite haunt to meet friends. There were diverse folks of all ages and social strata. It was really a mixing bowl and that's what was so great about it."

Sandy Mazza can be reached via email at [email protected], by calling 615-726-5962, or on Twitter @SandyMazza.

Exclusive: Luke Combs covers Toby Keith, leads 'Fast Car' singalong during private Ryman set

Luke Combs' performance at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium was for winners of his "Living Lucky With Luke Combs" partnership with lotteries across America.Nashville Tennessean0:001:19ADMultiple-time country music artist and entertainer of the year Luke Combs' private, intimate and acoustic 90-minute performance at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium did much more than award nearly $1 million to winners of his ...

Luke Combs' performance at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium was for winners of his "Living Lucky With Luke Combs" partnership with lotteries across America.

Nashville Tennessean

Multiple-time country music artist and entertainer of the year Luke Combs' private, intimate and acoustic 90-minute performance at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium did much more than award nearly $1 million to winners of his "Living Lucky With Luke Combs" scratch-off ticket game partnership with Atlas and North American Lotteries across 15 states in the United States.

The grand prize event involved flying nearly 500 winners nationwide to Nashville for prizes, including chances at $10,000 and a private concert from Combs (with highly-touted Warner Music-signed Georgia sister trio The Castellows as openers) at the Ryman Auditorium. One fan in attendance also won $500,000.

In his 2017 hit ballad "When It Rains It Pours," Combs sings of driving on Interstate 65 outside of Nashville and purchasing two 12-packs of beer and a tank of gasoline from a Shell gas station. He also wins $100 from a scratch-off ticket he purchases there.

"She swore they were a waste of time / Oh, but she was wrong," he adds.

Combs' nearly 500 similar scratch-off game devotees from across America in attendance at The Ryman would agree with his sentiments.

"No name is bigger in country music right now than Luke Combs. [He's] selling out stadiums but still understands what it means to be a fan of country music and experience intimate performances, stated Rick Stowe, a partner at EastCoast Entertainment, to The Tennessean.

Stowe and company executed the event alongside Atlas Experiences, plus Combs and The Castellows' management teams at Make Wake Artists.

Tracy Chapman, Toby Keith covers performed

Combs arrived at The Ryman 48 hours removed from performing "Fast Car" — for which he was awarded 2023's CMA's Single of the Year, thus making its writer and initial performer, Tracy Chapman, the first Black woman ever to win a CMA Award — at Los Angeles' 66th Grammy Awards, alongside the soulful folk-rock icon.

He admitted to still being in awe of the moment. Though he had stood mere feet away from her in support on Sunday evening, he was no more capable of playing a better rendition of the anthem because of the experience.

The take Combs performed at country music's Mother Church still proved riveting. It still caused an impassioned in-pew sing-along among the lottery winners in attendance.

Also, the news of superstar country hitmaker Toby Keith's death a day prior was fresh on the minds of all in attendance.

At the intimate event, Combs played 13 songs without a setlist. He eventually obliged the crowd with a rendition of "Should've Been A Cowboy."

It followed, at various points in the evening, his band striking into "Doin' This" or "Beautiful Crazy," Combs himself suggesting a track like "Lovin' On You," or, in the case of Keith, an audience member would ask to hear one of his hit songs.

Six years later...

A significant amount of contextual magic also touched the "Living Lucky with Luke Combs" event.

Six years ago, to the week, Combs headlined The Ryman on back-to-back nights.

A Tennessean report from the events highlighted that Combs had played a benefit concert for radio host Bobby Bones a week before two concerts that sold out in 45 minutes.

At the time, his "growing fan base [was] passionate and loyal to [Combs'] "approachable" and "plain-spoken anthems" that he delivered, while singing the track "Out There," — and like another approachable plain-spoken country troubadour in the just-passed Keith — drinking from a red Solo cup.

2024 also finds Combs, also like Keith — and now many other country stars in the three decades since Keith's triple-platinum success via "Should've Been A Cowboy" — as soon having his name licensed to Lower Broadway honky-tonk Category 10 (named to honor his inaugural 2016 hit "Hurricane"). Like The Ryman, Category 10 has Opry Entertainment Group as one of its owners.

Thus, as Combs played hit after hit in an acoustic set in front of 500 people, it had every earmarking of what a night at Category 10 could look like in the summer of 2024.

He offered that he was unexpectedly "sweating more than usual" onstage because he was unsure that songs like the Toby Keith cover, plus a take on Brooks & Dunn's "Brand New Man," would hold up to a diverse, wholly national crowd.

However, on the night after Keith's death, in the wake of playing with Chapman, one torch was passed and another shared with Combs.

In a quiet moment during his concert, Combs humbly noted that many times during his lottery campaign, he was not recognized while buying scratch-off cards with his face on them.

This, though he's a seven-times Grammy-nominated, Billboard Hot 100 chart-topping artist with over a dozen consecutive No. 1 songs on country radio to open the first half-decade of his mainstream career.

Combs' performance and country's future, in context

Modern country music history has created the genre as a Frankenstein-style cultural polyglot boldly stumbling into an unknown future.

Also, it bears noting that nearly 60 million albums sold, over 100 global top 10 hits recorded and almost 30 Country Music Association Awards are split between Brooks & Dunn, Tracy Chapman, Luke Combs, and Toby Keith.

On many levels, there is no precedent for what having that history — and having country music and its direct inspirations as American pop culture and music's guiding hand for the first time in a half-century — can mean for the nation.

However, Combs has the resources and talent to be a leader in discovering the extraordinary music and times that could exist ahead.

Jon Bon Jovi to open JBJ's Nashville on lower Broadway this spring

Eric Church, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley and Jason Aldean are about to get a new neighbor on Broadway who might just rock things up a bit.After months of speculation, it's official: the stretch of bars on Lower Broadway in Nashville, mostly named after country stars, is about to add the name Jon Bon Jovi to its roster.On the heels of being named MusiCares Person of the Year at the 2024 Grammy Awards, Bon Jovi has ...

Eric Church, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley and Jason Aldean are about to get a new neighbor on Broadway who might just rock things up a bit.

After months of speculation, it's official: the stretch of bars on Lower Broadway in Nashville, mostly named after country stars, is about to add the name Jon Bon Jovi to its roster.

On the heels of being named MusiCares Person of the Year at the 2024 Grammy Awards, Bon Jovi has officially announced his plans to open JBJ's Nashville, a five-story, 37,000-square-foot venue, complete with two rooftop spaces, at the corner of Broadway and Fourth Avenue this spring.

The property is situated at 405 Broadway two doors down from Brooks' Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky Tonk and across the street from Bentley's Whiskey Row Nashville. Big Plan Holdings bought the former parking lot for $9.4 million in 2020 and construction is underway.

Under construction:First look: Nashville's next celebrity-themed bar uses high-tech for construction

Person of the Year:Nashville showed up to honor Jon Bon Jovi at annual pre-Grammy MusiCares event

In a release, Bon Jovi said, "We’re looking forward to having a place in Nashville that we call home. When Big Plan Holdings and the team of Josh and Tara Joseph asked us if we were interested, it wasn’t because we were just another rock band, it was because we are a band with deep roots in Nashville. We have had wonderful times in Nashville recording several albums and working with some of the finest people in all the music business. I can’t wait to toast all of Broadway and get to know our neighbors!”

According to the website, the venue will be a "state-of-the-art fusion of rock 'n' roll and country ... brought to Nashville by the legendary Jon Bon Jovi and BPH Hospitality."

The website goes on to say, "Renowned as a singer, songwriter, musician, actor, restaurateur, and philanthropist, Jon has always been drawn to the lyrical tales of Music City. His frequent collaborations with Nashville’s artists, songwriters, and recording studios have fueled his passion for the vibrant musical culture that permeates the streets."

Bon Jovi is not new to the restaurant industry, as he founded his JBJ Soul Kitchen in 2011, which now has four locations. Bon Jovi the band is commemorating the 40th anniversary of its self-titled debut with the digital release of a Bon Jovi Deluxe Edition on all streaming platforms. The band is also working on a four-part docuseries called "Thank You Goodnight: The Bon Jovi story."

We will continue to update this story as details become available.

Melonee Hurt covers music and music business at The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY NETWORK — Tennessee. Reach Melonee at [email protected], on X @HurtMelonee or Instagram at @MelHurtWrites.

Nashville baker makes beautiful cookies of Taylor Swift in her NFL era ahead of Super Bowl

Emily Henegar is a frosting virtuoso known for her delectable creations that belong in museums. She delineates memories on sugar cookies for all occasions, and she's made her mark by designing cookies for the stars: Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, John Mayer, Travis Scott, The Lumineers and Maggie Rogers. Her latest jaw-dropping batch featured Taylor Swift in her “NFL era.”...

Emily Henegar is a frosting virtuoso known for her delectable creations that belong in museums. She delineates memories on sugar cookies for all occasions, and she's made her mark by designing cookies for the stars: Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, Ariana Grande, John Mayer, Travis Scott, The Lumineers and Maggie Rogers. Her latest jaw-dropping batch featured Taylor Swift in her “NFL era.”

Henegar, who lives in Nashville, frosted cookies in red-and-gold. Six rectangular sweets replicated Swift's Chiefs outfits: the custom jacket designed by NFL wife Kristin Juszczyk, the red-and-black sweatshirt she bought from small business Westside Storey and the custom white sweatshirt designed by Kilo Kish for GANT.

Another morsel is a cutout of Travis Kelce's gloves shaped in a heart, a symbol he made when he scored a touchdown during a game against the Bills. Swift often makes the gesture during the "Fearless" set of the Eras Tour.

Henegar also made a replica of the beanie Swift wore to a game made by Kansas City small business Kut the Knit. And then there's a rectangle with the line Swift famously sang to Kelce in Buenos Aires, Argentina: "Karma is the guy on the Chiefs coming straight home to me."

It's a trend!Iowa baker hand-paints Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce cookies that will blow your mind

That’s how the cookie crumbles

Before making the NFL-themed batch, the baker explained how she got a 25 custom treats hand delivered to Taylor Swift in May. All three assortments made it backstage at the Eras Tour.

“I cannot let Taylor Swift be in Nashville and not make her cookies,” the 24-year-old business owner said. “Like every great Taylor Swift story, it goes way back.”

Henegar began her business, Cookie in the Kitchen, 13 years ago when she was 11 years old. She combined her love of graphic design, business, music and baking into a winning recipe.

The chef sells sweets for birthdays, graduations, baby showers, wedding showers and corporate events. Her specialty is crafting sugary, custom-made memories for bands and artists.

“My tagline is making celebrities feel like people and people feel like celebrities,” she said. Her first big break happened senior year in Atlanta. Henegar took album covers, fan art and popular moments of Dua Lipa’s career and frosted them onto cookies.

“I made some cookies for her and passed them off to her security guard thinking, ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen,’” she said, “and then I’m driving away from the venue when my mom calls me.”

Dua Lipa had posted a photo of the cookies and a series of videos with people coming up to try each one.

“My mom said, ‘I think you’re on to something,’” she said.

In her pop star cookie era

So when Swift announced she was performing at Nissan Stadium for three nights, Henegar got to work making three sets of designs, one for each night.

For night one, she made a replica of Swift’s “Lover House,” a symbolic house where every room represents a different album. For night two, she frosted outfits Swift wore during her three-and-a-half-hour performance. And for night three, she had 25 cookies of inside jokes and memories from the “Anti-Hero” music video guests to the "ME!" mural Kelsey Montague painted to Swift's three cats Olivia, Meredith and Benjamin Button.

“[My contact at Nissan] told me they brought the ‘Lover House’ just generally backstage,” Henegar said. “And then the second night, they brought those to Taylor’s team, and then the third night, they brought the personalized set to her team, and then her team was like, ‘OK, we’re taking these to Taylor now.’”

Follow Bryan West, the USA TODAY Network's Taylor Swift reporter, on Instagram, TikTok and X as @BryanWestTV.


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