Nashville’s Nolensville Road

Drive south out of downtown. The country music and neon lights fade. Along Nolensville Road (technically named Nolensville Pike but commonly referred to by Nashvillians as Nolensville Road), among the used car dealerships, Nashville’s international corridor buzzes with immigrant entrepreneurs. No Epcot-style experience frames their hard work. Instead, to understand this New South citadel, meet these people through the SFA Nolensville Road Oral History project.

According to Mayor Megan Barry’s Office of New Americans, nearly twelve percent of Nashville’s population was born outside the U.S. and half of those people are recent immigrants who entered the U.S. since 2000.  Thirty percent of students enrolled in metro schools speak a language other than English.

Listen to the voices of Nashville, home to the nation’s largest Kurdish population. Here, bakers in a Kurdish market turn out flat rounds of warm bread. Mexican immigrants stuff empanadas with Tennessee fruits. And farmers from Bhutan, Burma, and Rwanda practice the skills they learned in their native countries to supply the restaurants of Nashville with produce.

Meet the men and women who work along Nolensville Road. Farmers, caterers, restaurateurs, and market owners, they reflect this city’s growing diversity and add a vibrant and global tone to Nashville’s song.


Beatrice Gatebuke

Beatrice Gatebuke is a co-founder and farmer with FASHA (Fervent Assistance to Survivors for Healthy Adjustment) in Nashville, Tennessee.

Chandra Poudel

Chandra Poudel is a farmer with Growing Together, part of The Nashville Food Project and Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee.

Deepesh Subedi

Deepesh Subedi is owner of Central Market in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hana Gebretensae

Hana Gebretensae is owner of Gojo Ethiopian Cafe and Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee.

Javaneh Hemmat

Javaneh Hemmat is owner of Hummus Chick in Nashville, Tennessee.

Karla Ruiz

Karla Ruiz runs Karla’s Catering and Prepared Foods in Nashville, Tennessee.

Khalil Numan

Khalil Numan is owner of Grassmere Kabob and Grill in Nashville, Tennessee.

Lizeth Alonso

Lizeth Alonso runs La Michoacana Premium with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.

Renata Soto

Renata Soto is co-founder of Conexion Americas on Nolensville Pike in Nashville, Tennessee.

Shirzad Tayyar

Shirzad Tayyar designed and guides his own Kurdish food tour in Nashville, Tennessee.

Thomas Piang

Thomas Piang is a farmer with Growing Together, part of The Nashville Food Project and Center for Refugees and Immigrants of Tennessee.