ABOVE: The Shell gas station is closed, but indications are that the pumps will be reactivated under the new plan. // Photo by VINCE TROIA
By VINCE TROIA
The Shell gas station, which included a Bar-B-Cutie take-out restaurant on Highway 100 at McCrory Lane, has closed, but new owners say the business will reopen under a different name.
Owners of the adjacent Loveless Cafe have purchased the shuttered property but are mum about future plans, according to sources close to the project.
With signs reading “new concept coming soon,” patrons will have to wait for several weeks to see what the new owners have in mind.
“The owners of the Loveless Cafe have purchased the gas station property and have asked the Loveless Cafe team to oversee and manage the business for the time being,” said Wendy Felts, community relations manager for the Loveless.
Loveless representatives on-site were able to say what the property would not be — it will not be an expansion of the existing Loveless campus. The renovation would not carry the Loveless name nor its brand or products.
The gas pumps, now with placards reading ‘closed, re-opening soon,’ will stay on site and be active fuel pumps. Also, Bar-B-Cutie will not return.
Loveless owners, Charles A. “Chuck” Elcan and his wife Trisha Frist, the daughter of Thomas F. Frist, Jr., who took over the Loveless franchise in December 2014, reportedly had been interested in acquiring the neighboring property for a few years.
Royal City bought the gas station in 2013, records show, and was approached by Loveless parties in 2017. No financial details of the transaction have been disclosed.
Concurrently, the Loveless Cafe has been teasing an upcoming ‘big announcement’ for a few weeks on social media, but Felts said that was unrelated to the property sale.
The iconic cafe and Nashville landmark was born in 1951 when Lon and Anne Loveless purchased the Harpeth Valley Tea Room and renamed it after themselves. Changing owners a few times through 1973, the Loveless began to show signs of age through 1982.
It was then that George McCabe launched a remodeling and expansion plan that included the creation of the mail-order business and catalog.
The past 15 years has seen extensive remodeling, the opening of Hams & Jams Country Market and the Loveless Motel Shops, and the construction of the Loveless Barn, a 1,000-seat event center.
Elcan, the founder of Ardent Health Services, has not announced any expansion plans for the Loveless.