Alan Jackson Opens His New Nashville Restaurant with a Surprise Concert

Alan Jackson Nashville Restaurant Opening: Surprise Concert
Alan Jackson performing at Acme Feed & Seed
Rick Diamond/Getty

updated 09/11/2014 AT 07:00 PM EDT

originally published 09/11/2014 AT 03:00 PM EDT

It was just supposed to be the grand opening of Nashville's newest restaurant and live music club. But guests to the VIP party at the Acme Feed & Seed Wednesday night got a whole lot more than that.

"Thank y'all for letting me crash your party," Alan Jackson told the stunned crowd when he took the stage for a surprise show at the eatery.

The 55-year-old singer was a primary investor in the multi-million-dollar renovation that turned the Acme Farm Supply Store – a century-old brick Victorian building at the foot of Lower Broadway – into a three-story, multi-entertainment complex that consists of a restaurant, honky-tonk, cocktail lounge, concert hall and rooftop bar.

"I've loved Lower Broadway since I first came to Nashville and it was still a little bit shady," Jackson told the crowd. "This is a much nicer place than I used to play down here back in the day."



Then he strapped on his guitar and – to the delight of a few hundred lucky guests at the invitation-only party – kicked into his 1991 hit "Don't Rock the Jukebox" with his band behind him.

The surprise set also included a short version of Merle Haggard's "Back to the Barrooms Again" – "I feel like I have to bring out a barroom song tonight," Jackson said – plus his own standards "Good Time" and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere."

On his bus after the show, Jackson told PEOPLE why he got involved with the Acme project. "I love old things," he said. "I love old cars, old boats, old music and old buildings. I've always loved that building, since back when it was still a farm store. It was sad to see it empty so I am proud to be a part of this.”

One thing they didn't ask his advice on, though? The food, which includes chicken fried steak, a grilled ahi tuna sandwich, Thai-style shrimp fried rice and pulled pork tacos.

"They didn't want me anywhere near the menu!," he joked. "It's not fancy, but it's fancier than what I eat!"

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