When Keith Hayman moved to Nashville four years ago, he couldn’t find a good slice of pizza anywhere. For a former touring musician who’d spent years traveling across the country, Nashville was a cheaper, comfier place to call home... but it just so happened to lack the more than 1,600 pizzerias he was used to.
Well, Keith's about to make that 1,599. Following the success of new establishments like Five Points Pizza, Bella Nashville and Soulshine Pizza Factory, Keith is introducing another pizzeria to the area, but it won't be like any other. Opening in late August, Music City Pizza will specialize in gourmet pies inspired—and even designed—by local musicians.
The small restaurant will be located in the former lounge of 12th & Porter, a venue that Keith now owns. He’s still working on the restaurant’s menu, and some of his wilder ideas, like painting the outside of the restaurant’s 6,000-pound pizza oven and using it as a projection screen, require a bit more rehearsal before they’re ready to take the stage. But Keith has already started looking for musicians to help him design a few of the pizzas, and he even plans on sharing the profits with them.
“We want to support local musicians like crazy,” he said. “We’re calling our pizzas 'records,' and since everyone in town is looking for a record deal, we’re giving out some 'record deals' of our own." Meaning? "Basically, we’re going to be partnering with up-and-coming bands for three months," said Keith. "We’ll work with them to design a pizza, and for every pizza that gets sold under their name, we’ll give them a dollar. It’s our way of profit-sharing with bands.”
First up is Alanna Royale, who’s been considering a white pizza topped with artichokes, garlic, broccoli, onions, mushrooms and peppers. “We support good ideas from local business owners,” she said, “and we think the ideas Keith has for the restaurant are really great.”
Meanwhile, Keith has also been putting together a list of wines, beers and liquors designed by musicians on a national level. Restaurant visitors will be able to wash down their “Whiter Shade of Kale” salad with a glass of Crush, Dave Matthews’s red wine, or a shot of Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Tequila.
“Instead of being nothing more than a pizza and beer place, I’m trying to promote bands the way they’ve never been promoted before," said Keith. In a melty layer of cheese? We'll eat to that.