Belle’s Nashville Kitchen celebrated its grand opening on Saturday, as the Old Town Scottsdale bar looks to make its mark in one of the Valley’s top tourism spots. Owner Mike Haley put his blood, sweat and tears into the project, having done a lot of the framing himself, with the help of friends. Hand-built elements such as the rustic sheet metal paneling along the front of the bar are what really makes the interior stand out. Haley told a story of waking up and watering his sheet metal to really mirror the rusty look of a country barn and stopping to think about how he became “that guy” doing crazy things in his front yard. It was that kind of attention to detail and dedication that allowed this new restaurant to open during such a turbulent time in the industry.

A slice of Music City

The atmosphere had a very honkytonk vibe. There were old western pistol grips gracing the restroom doors and a swinging saloon door separating the kitchen from the dining room. There were even signed guitars hung on the walls, and the story behind those are enough to warm your hearts. At first glance, it might appear that the guitars are signed by famous country artists as to go along with Belle’s Nashville theme. Instead, Haley purchased all of the instruments on a used retail app called OfferUp, and the signatures do not belong to famous musicians. They are actually the signatures of the people that sold the guitars to Haley, including a young girl whose family sold Haley the instrument to use as art in his restaurant. When he explained that he would be displaying it in front of everyone at Belle’s, she enthusiastically agreed to sign the hot pink acoustic guitar. Ultimately, it is a pretty cool way to honor the restaurant’s authentic origins and the many people that were included in its construction.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Nashville bar if it didn’t include live music. At the front of the dining room, across from the bar, there are live performers playing country music.

Sweet, spicy and everything in between

Belle’s offers a robust selection of signature cocktails and delicious food items. Chef Samantha Roberts of Riot Hospitality Group is credited for creating the menu. It features a wide array of options that fall into the sweet, savory and even healthy categories.

The honkytonk fries were among the appetizer options, and they offered the perfect glimpse into some of the Nashville flavor featured on the menu. The fries closely resembled steak fries but were thinner and offered a crisp, similar to a chip. Atop the fries was a sauce combination that included the spiciness of hot sauce with the cool tang of blue cheese dressing. Of course, the star of the show was the thick cut bacon bits that tied everything together.

As of a part of their honkytonk brunch lineup, there are French toast sticks made up of thick Texas toast slices with a drizzling of hot syrup and a bourbon-infused cream cheese icing. Enough to make your mouth water just reading the menu.

The chicken and French toast entrée is the epitome of a sweet and savory combination. The Nashville hot chicken atop the sweet French toast made your taste buds burst with every bite. Of course, the fried chicken is one their signature dishes, so the crisp and juiciness definitely lived up to the name.

Ultimately, Belle’s Nashville Kitchen delivered both on its country-style atmosphere and its mouth-watering menu to make it a sure-fire recommendation for honkytonk lovers in Arizona.