The Loveless Cafe and Motel is one of those special places that Nashvillians hold dear to them and also one that would've most likely been demolished if it hadn't been for the Morales family purchasing the property in 2003.
At the time, many locals thought that the Loveless Motel & Cafe was a Nashville Icon and should remain in tact and be preserved in some fashion. There was plenty of talk about what would become of this old cafe which is flanked on both sides by the remains of the motel rooms.
The local buzz included the dreaded words like Strip Mall, developer, and bulldozer. The talk, no doubt, sent plenty of locals, couldn't afford to purchase and preserve this landmark, into mourning.
Just when most thought that the Loveless would be lost forever it was announced that the owner of the local catering company, TomKats purchased the property.
A media release was published almost immediately after the sale and, thankfully, it was made very clear to all that the Loveless Cafe and it's history would be preserved..right down to the biscuit recipe. The media release included this statement from it's newest owner Tom Morales;
“We bought the Loveless because we want to preserve what’s great about it,” says Tom Morales, president of TomKats. “Obviously, it’s a great opportunity; however, we felt compelled to act because of the Loveless’ unique status as a one-of-a-kind slice of Tennessee history. There’s no place else like it in the world. We didn’t want to lose it.”
Within months the Loveless Cafe & Motel closed it's doors, for the first time in 50 years, but this time it was for renovations. The project included renovations to the Cafe as well as a major overhauling of the Motel rooms, which had been being used for primarily storage. By the time the face lift was complete, the Loveless property had a new kitchen, new restrooms, additional seating, and the old motel rooms were converted into quaint little shops.
While renovation the Loveless was a large task it was also one that the Morales family evidently took very seriously because they hired one of the best architectural firms in Nashville, Tuck Hinton. They also made it very clear that they wanted to ensure that the traditional and historical feel of the Loveless remained in tact...and all you have to do is go by the Loveless Cafe today to see that this was accomplished.
In 2008, when the Loveless announced that a new addition, The Loveless Barn was going to be added to their property it once again peaked locals interest but at the same time it also reassured folks that even during these hard economic times that the Loveless was more secure than ever.
Needless to say, when the Loveless Barn had it's grand opening in January 2009, the place was filled to the brim not only out of curiosity but in support of the Morales Family and their continued dedication to preserving an important part of Nashville History.
This newest addition is situated behind the Cafe, offers 8500 square feet of space and plenty of parking too. As once can imagine it's a barn, but it's not your regular run of the mill county barn because it's got plenty of special extra amenities and add-ons that includes a full stage set-up, plenty of restrooms, on-site catering, a private upstairs balcony, and even a private bride's room.
A few things that jumped out at me were:
- Garage Doors
The barn is flanked on both sides with several huge garage doors. The door panels have been replaced with a glass-type of material and they can be opened and closed within a minute or two. This is a very unique design that offers several things including an open air feel and also a great accessible un-loading area for equipment and other party necessities.
While most folks (other than the truest music lovers) don't really pay attention to acoustics, I typically do. The sound and acoustics in the Loveless barn are superb and I mean recording studio quality. This is no easy task to achieve and the effort did not go un-noticed.
- Church Pews
Several rows of church pews were set out and there's no doubt in my mind that any bride to be would just love to have these at their wedding.
- The Stage
I'm not 100% sure about this one but it looked to me to be about 20 foot across and it also looked like it could be easily removed if not needed. Either way, at the Grand Opening, there was plenty of stage lighting, technical gear, and all in place to the left of the stage or the stage itself was large enough to hold a 5-6 piece band easily.
- Building Flexibility
As mentioned above, the garage doors are a unique feature but they also allow for more room expansion as they lead to a covered outdoor patio (on both sides) that is easily adaptable to additional add-ons such as a tent or awning.
- Event Management
The Loveless Barn has an entire event management team to help organize every event - right down to the last plate and chair.