White Limozeen Goes Beyond Theme and Spectacle

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Med Abrous and Marc Rose

White Limozeen’s namesake is indeed a popular Dolly Parton title track. To that end, the rooftop restaurant/bar at the Graduate Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee, is a bit flashy and a lot of fun. The dusty pink bar shines with gilded trim and a crystal chandelier, while an adjacent wall, painted as piano keys, sports portraits of country leading ladies. The outdoor patio features a pool, hot-pink, fringed umbrellas, and a pink wire bust of Parton.

The Graduate tapped L.A. restaurateurs, Med Abrous and Marc Rose, to lead the hotel’s F&B programs. And as the pair explain, White Limozeen goes beyond theme and spectacle; it celebrates community—both near and far—and, of course, Parton herself.

Local connections

We do have a lot of our places across the country in hotels. We come from the world of being independent operators, so we always think it’s super important to focus on local business. We’ve done that from a perspective of who we hire—identifying and recruiting some of the best local bartenders and chefs. It’s really important to highlight neighboring businesses, not just to attract locals, but also so those businesses can gain some of that tourism money. If we can give them a forum to do so, we feel pretty lucky.

Heart of Dolly

It’s not a Dolly Parton museum, but a bit of an homage to Dolly and all that she stands for. We focus on the product and really the ethos of how we want to bring people together. It’s this idea of celebration, this idea of really going over the top a little bit, but also being very approachable. We serve our caviar, rather than with crème fraîche, with sour cream and onion biscuits. Because we felt that obviously biscuits are big in the South, and that’s where we are and people are comfortable with that food. It should feel accessible to all.

Building on success

We don’t rest on our laurels. As busy as we’ve been and as lucky as we’ve been to have that business, we want to push the envelope. Late this summer, we built a huge outdoor bar. So that’s going to be another big part of what we do—just continuing to add to the physical space, whether it be that outdoor bar or more seating around the pool or more heaters during the winter. Finding a way to make people comfortable all year round is going to be helpful, but so far, the response has been really great.

Word to the wise

It’s always about listening to the guest, listening to the customer, listening to what the space is telling you. Allow evolution. Whatever your concept and your ideas were going into it, that’s a great start but it’s not the end—it’s really just the beginning.

We believe in longevity. We hope every place we open is open for 50-plus years, and in order to do that, you need the ability to pivot and to improvise. What you may have thought was the perfect idea on paper isn’t always so, but it can become perfect or close to perfect if you continue making little changes.

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