Sunset Grill is a Music City Hit in the fine dining landscape of Nashville. Located in Hillsboro Village, near Music Row, Vanderbilt, Belmont and David Lipscomb Universities, Sunset Grill features contemporary American cuisine, specializing in locally grown and produced products, steaks and seafood. Known for stellar service, celebrity patrons, silk-to-denim attire, Music City ambiance and a comprehensive Wine Spectator Award of Excellence wine list. Sunset Grill has won numerous local and national dining awards since opening in 1990, including as a DiRonna Award recipient in 2000.
Sunset Grill offers private dining rooms for up to 90 people or and special events services for buyout receptions up to 600. A free shuttle service is available for these events and also for local hotel guests. Sunset Grill serves dinner every night from 5 pm - 10 pm. The Late Nite Menu is served until Midnight Thursday - Saturday.
Executive Chef / Managing Partner
Restaurateur Randy Rayburn has named Chris Cunningham executive chef of the Sunset Grill and is shifting the focus of the popular Hillsboro Village restaurant to dinner, late-night service and special events.
Cunningham – who has been at the Sunset Grill for eight years, the last four as chef de cuisine – also becomes a partner in the restaurant. He is a protégé of Deb Paquette and was her sous chef at Cakewalk, Bound’ry and Zola before joining the Sunset Grill in 2006.
“This is another milestone in the never-ending evolution of a great restaurant. It marks the eighth major change in the Sunset Grill’s 23-year history as we work to please our long-term guests and entice new ones,” Rayburn said.
Cunningham, who also worked under Will Uhlhorn at F. Scott’s, has begun modifying the Sunset Grill, placing personal emphasis on daily special selections.
“Practically all of our specials are devoted to ingredients that are locally or regionally sourced, and I’m including vegan and gluten-free selections daily. Every time you come in, I guaranteed you’ll have something new to try,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham said he has begun frequent visits with patrons to discuss their selections.
“Those table visits let me explain what I’ve done to make their meals and to tell the guests the sources of their food. In return, I learn what they are thinking about food and what might please them in the future.”
Sunset Grill, Midtown Cafe, Cabana
Most people first meet Randy Rayburn at one of his nationally renowned restaurants, Sunset Grill or Cabana in Hillsboro Village, or Midtown Cafe on 19th Avenue south. They are, however, just as likely to meet him in and around Nashville, giving his time as a community leader. Randy is passionate about giving back to the community. Additionally, he designates one percent of all sales from his restaurants to non-profit and community organizations.
Born in Memphis and raised on a 27 acre farm in Milan with 5 acres of strawberries, he worked during high school at the Milan Supermarket, where he gained culinary skills beyond his Grandmother’s home cooking. After graduating from UT-Knoxville, he returned to Nashville and started his career while going to night law school in 1975. He dropped out of school later to pursue his dream of owning his own restaurant. He worked in numerous restaurants, including Gaylord Opryland Hotel in management and opened 11 restaurants in the Nashville area for others before selling his home in 1990 to open his own Sunset Grill.
An avid supporter of hunger-relief and non-profit arts organizations, Rayburn passionately cares about Nashville’s economic development. From 1999 to 2009, he served on the Board and as Chairman of the Nashville Convention Center and Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Task Force that led to our new Music City Center. In 2011, the Nashville State Community College and its faculty unanimously voted to name the NSCC Culinary Program, the Randy Rayburn School of Culinary Arts, which he started in 1998.
He is also a past president and board member of Nashville’s Table along with the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Symphony Guild and numerous others. In addition, you have probably run into him while he was organizing fundraising events such as Taste of the Nation, Taste of the NFL and Generous Helpings. Since 2000, Sunset Grill has represented Nashville at the Taste of the NFL dinner benefiting United Way at each Super Bowl. He also helped start the Nashville Originals, a local group of now over 50+ independently owned local restaurants.
Rayburn is part of the Leadership Nashville class of 1998 and was nominated for the Mary Katherine Strobel Award for Community Volunteerism the same year. In 2000 he was named Outstanding Volunteer of the Year by the Nashville Society for Fund Raising Executives. In 2009 Randy was nominated for Tennessean of the Year (click to read more).
Sunset Grill was also selected as a single-unit finalist for the National Restaurant Association Neighbor Award. He received the Restaurateur of the Year by the American Culinary Federation - Middle TN and the TN Restaurant Association in the past and the Tennessee Hospitality Association in 2012.
Rayburn believes that Middle Tennessee prospers as each individual, family and business succeeds. To that end he has focused many of his efforts in and around the revitalization of Hillsboro Village where he resides with his wife Sonata, son Duke, two dogs, Dusty and Tattie and cat, Gracie.
Read about Randy in The Tennessean.
Read about Randy in the Nashville Business Journal.