Walker Hayes Working on Lower Broadway Applebee’s Location

When the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Lower Broadway in Nashville was under threat of being closed down permanently and sold off earlier this year, a few were predicting sarcastically that they might turn the historic business and property into a Walker Hayes-themed Applebee’s restaurant. It was the perfect way to illustrate the rabid commercialization and lunacy occurring in an important portion of downtown Nashville where the greats of country music once walked the sidewalks and performed.

Now, life could very well be imitating sarcasm in the coming future, as Walker Hayes has confirmed that he’s in discussions to open a Walker Hayes-themed Applebee’s restaurant location in the bustling entertainment district. “There is talk of us really opening an Applebee’s downtown on Broadway in Nashville,” Hayes said on a recent episode of the “Gunner & Cheyenne” morning show on KMLE 107.9 in Phoenix, AZ. “It’s a good time to be a country artist.”

Of course, the concept stems from Walker’s 2021 mega-hit “Fancy Like,” which includes the line, “Yeah, we fancy like Applebee’s on a date night/Got that Bourbon Street steak with the Oreo shake/Get some whipped cream on the top/Two straws, one check, girl, I got you…”

The song went viral on Tik-Tok, though it generally became reviled by many country fans and the general population as well after it became ubiquitous throughout culture. Applebee’s even brought back their Oreo shake due to the virality of the song, and used the track in a dedicated commercial campaign. In fact, many people thought the song was a commercial, and were shocked to to find out there was an original song behind it.

“Fancy Like” blurred the lines between art and commerce in country music like never before, and opening a corporate chain restaurant on Lower Broadway would be a similar offense. Though the entertainment corridor is already full of pop country artist-themed restaurants and bars encroaching on more authentic establishments such as Robert’s Western World and Layla’s, they’re at least all still original concepts, often operated by local proprietors. As America’s quintessential corporate restaurant right after McDonald’s, Applebee’s would be the exception, and they’ll probably close down or bulldoze something much more important and historic to do it.

Thankfully, it won’t be the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, which was recently saved by a new set of owners. But an Applebee’s location inspired by a song most Americans find annoying would be the latest sign of descent right in the epicenter of the country music Holy Land.

© 2023 Saving Country Music