From day one, 3 Brothers Deli & Brewhouse has kept owners Rob and Eric Fortney on their toes.
The restaurant and bar opened its doors in downtown Murfreesboro in September 2009 only to be set ablaze when an adjoining building caught fire six months later.
Luckily, it was saved, and the neighborhood hot spot reopened bigger and better with exciting renovations and an extended menu and beer selection.
Then, after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, the staff at 3 Brothers grouped together to hold a successful benefit show featuring 12 hours of live music.
It was only a matter of time before the Fortney brothers would find themselves in another bout of excitement, and that moment has arrived.
All the exposure and hoorah surrounding 3 Brothers apparently caught the eyes of TV Network "Destination America" producers. They selected the local hangout for its upcoming series "Late Night Eats," a cooking competition that has also filmed in Memphis and Austin, Texas.
“They called the restaurant about eight weeks ago … and it turned out to be the real deal,” said Eric Fortney, the resident chef who was put to the test on Tuesday evening. As of press time, Fortney was under the impression he would be challenged to create a dish based on Music City’s other claim to fame – hot chicken.
“With its formidable cult following, hot chicken has become to Nashville what pizza is to New York, chowder is to New England and cheesecakes are to Philadelphia — it’s our signature dish to rest our culinary laurels,” according to the Music City Hot Chicken Festival’s website. “It’s an intensely spicy seasoned cut of leg or breast meat on the bone served on a slice of white bread (which, for you newbies, acts like a sponge for sopping up the fiery sauce and spices).”
Eric Fortney couldn’t release too many details, but he did say the first challenge is chicken wing based. He expects the show to air in six to eight months.
“I guess our reputation is preceding us with the great food we have,” Rob Fortney said.
But being filmed for a cooking show isn’t the only news 3 Brothers has to share – the live music brewhouse has announced it will move closer to the heart of the Square and share space with Social, formerly Bluesboro.
3 Brothers Craft Brewhouse is expected to open its doors and offer “food built for beer” while expanding its craft beer selection exponentially.
“Social is such a big place, and we haven’t taken up much of the usable space here,” said Rob Fortney, who owns Social and its building at 114 N. Church St. in downtown Murfreesboro. “It’s something we should’ve taken advantage of a long time ago.”
The building will house both Social and 3 Brothers; however, each venue will have its own entrance and space. Crews have constructed a floor-to-ceiling dividing wall to separate the two businesses.
“Basically, the only thing we will ultimately share is the kitchen and restrooms down the hall area,” Rob Fortney said. “The building has always had two entrances, dating back to Woolworth’s when customers went in one door and out the other. When you walk in (3 Brothers), you’ll never see Social. You won’t cross over there at any point.”
Crews replaced the stage with a dining area, and live music will now take place in the patio area of the bar. In all, the actual space for 3 Brothers is 1,000 square feet larger than the current space on West Main Street.
It also provides Social the opportunity to offer catering options – something Eric Fortney says will allow him to use his culinary creativity – to its venue space that is currently open for weddings, parties and even meetings.
“We’ll have sound, visual lighting and catering – it’s a one-stop-shop for any type of special events,” Rob Fortney continued. “We’ll also continue to throw our own parties at Social. If we’re not rented out, depending on the schedule, we will have our own events (and live music).”
The move just makes sense, he said, pointing out he was renting space for 3 Brothers while owning the Social building and paying two sets of utilities.
“This location, in the heart of the Square, will also allow people to notice and see us, and we’ll be more convenient. There’s not a lot of foot traffic over on that end (West Main Street) of the Square,” he said. “We’re not interfering with Social. This is a building that has a great venue and a lot of unused space.”
3 Brothers will officially open for lunch in its new location on Thursday, Feb. 21.
In the meantime, husband-and-wife duo Rooster and Lori Beane will take over 3 Brothers’ former home at 223 W. Main St. and begin renovations to reopen as Rooster’s Lonestar BBQ & Steakhouse.
Originally from Smyrna, Rooster Beane said he moved to Texas where he learned to smoke brisket. After a stint with the Dallas Cowboys, he decided to move back to Nashville and open his own BBQ restaurant.
Now, he’s coming even closer to home and opening a second location to offer local residents his mouth-watering Texas-style BBQ.
He, too, expects to open his doors on Feb. 21 and is inviting residents to stop in, say hello and stay a while.