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The perfect partnership

Rodney Scott x Eric Church

For at least a little while longer, Rodney Scott can still go relatively undetected at an Eric Church show.

Scott was a guest at one of the Charleston performances on the Outsiders Revival tour last summer. In a unique venue normally used for tennis matches, Scott was in the front-of-house area, standing just to the right of the soundboard. Church was about to go on stage.

Suddenly, a fan recognized Scott — or thought he did.

“Aren’t you,” the fan asked, “part of security?”

Scott just grinned. It’s a safe bet that the next time he goes to a Church show, he’ll be as recognizable as the rest of the cast of characters that makes up Church’s orbit. When Chief’s opens, he’ll become the only James Beard Award-winning chef on Broadway in Nashville.

And as soon as that happens, fans will begin to understand exactly why Church wanted to partner with Scott. The coalition actually came about thanks to an unexpected bit of Covid serendipity.

Like most of us, Eric Church didn’t have much to do during the early months of lockdown in 2020. There were no shows to play. Arenas were empty.

He happened across a television feature on Scott, and a friendship was born. Both approach their art the same way — Church leaning on the Hippie Radio roots passed down to him from his family, Scott incorporating the cooking methods he learned as early as 11 years old at his family’s barbecue restaurant in Hemingway, South Carolina.

As soon as they began talking, they realized the natural kinship. And that’s why Scott is bringing his whole hog barbecue to Nashville, where the Hell of a Q restaurant on the fifth floor is one of the centerpieces of Chief’s.

Fans will have the opportunity to sample Scott’s cooking in a variety of ways. Hell of a Q is a sit-down restaurant, and there is also a sixth-floor rooftop with an incredible view of downtown Nashville and Broadway, but you don’t even have to come inside Chief’s to grab a bite. A first-of-its-kind walk-up window will serve food from breakfast through late night, perfect to sustain some of those long days and nights on Broadway.

Scott takes the same kind of care with his cooking that Church takes with his music. Six smokers are active throughout the day—and much of the cooking operation is visible to patrons—to provide non-stop availability. Every detail of Hell of a Q is designed to Scott’s specifications, right down to the disco ball that is a fixture in all his restaurants, a throwback to his upbringing in the 1970s.

Church’s friends know that while he has an appreciation for the country’s best restaurants, there’s nothing he loves more than discovering the best local joint—you know the kind, with the taps and the stools and the tables—in any given town across the tour map. The best burger, the best barbecue…Church wants a spot that takes as much authentic care with its food as he takes with his music. Hell of a Q is designed to be that place in Nashville.

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