The 404 Kitchen’s Matt Bolus Pours His Heart Into the Nashville Restaurant [EXCLUSIVE]

Matt Bolus is making quite the name for himself at The 404 Kitchen, and with good reason. The James Beard-nominated chef and partner pours everything he has into his restaurant, a passion that is evident not only in the restaurant’s menu, which changes seasonally, but how he runs every aspect of his popular eatery as well.

“We don’t cook to impress people,” Bolus tells Everything Nash. “The food that’s on the menu isn’t designed or thought of, or constructed to just blow your mind, or make you think about how artfully it’s done. I think it goes back to one of the questions I get a lot is, ‘What do you cook at home?’ It’s what you see on that plate. A lot of stuff that’s on the menu started at home. … It’s food from our heart, from our soul. It’s what we want to do for people.”


The menu at the 404 Kitchen has a wide variety of items, with everything from their flavorful Burrata Salad to their Two-Bone Pork Chop, their innovative Whole Smoked Fried Chicken (an original idea Bolus had), unique cocktails and more.

But they also cater their menu to the occasion, including the newly-added NASHTY sandwich — Nashville Hot Chicken with bourbon truffle mushrooms, provolone, bacon, confit onion, arugula and dijonaise, on top of a burger — added for CMA Fest guests.

“I’m hoping it goes over well enough that we can put it on the menu full time,” Bolus says. “We’re gonna put a fried hot chicken thigh on top of a burger. It’s this burger with the hot chicken on it. .. Somebody said ‘nashty’ one time, and I thought, ‘That’s perfect,’ because you’re talking about a burger that’s already dripping with goodness, and then you’re gonna add fried chicken on top of it. Why not?”

The fact that Bolus is doing as well as he is, helming the kitchen of one of Music City’s most popular restaurants, is a testament to his childhood, and his dedication to his craft. By his own admission, the Knoxville native fell into cooking as a way to get back in his mother’s good graces as a child, unaware that he was kicking off a lifelong career in the process.

“I’m sure I’d done something wrong that I was trying to apologize for. So I asked my mom what I could do to help her around the house,” he recalls with a laugh. But when he wasn’t interested in folding laundry or vacuuming — tasks his mother suggested as a way to offer penance — Bolus suggested he make dinner, the unlikely beginning of his now massively successful career.

“That’s how it all started,” Bolus says. “It was just fun. My dad traveled a lot, so my mom and I spent quite a bit of time at home together. Some days it was just a quick meal out or whatever. And some days it was her and I just goofing off in the kitchen.”

Still, Bolus didn’t pursue cooking as a career, at least at first. Instead, he got a job in finance, working at the prestigious Merrill-Lynch, but realized he wasn’t satisfied, at all. In a bold and unlikely move, he left his lucrative career and enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu in London, choosing that location in part so he wouldn’t have to learn a different language.

After studying in England, Bolus returned to the States, working in a series of kitchens, before starting The 404 Kitchen in 2013, later expanding to their current location in 2017. And now, thanks to the restaurant’s growing popularity, Bolus is expanding even more.

“You are always trying to work your way to the next level, to the next position,” Bolus acknowledges. ” I got that opportunity to be a partner and a chef, and expansions are the next level. And we’ve already started with our place in Kentucky, but there’s a lot more.”

The 404 Kitchen is located at 507 12th Avenue S,, Nashville, TN 37203. Find more information, including hours and menu items, at