"It seems too good to be true how it's all come back around," Blake Shelton tells PEOPLE

By Cynthia Sanz Emily Davies
June 27, 2018 02:00 PM

Music, love and vodka — Blake Shelton has it all.

The most-crowned judge on The Voice, recent CMT Video of the Year winner and boyfriend of Gwen Stefani has added “restaurateur” to his long list of titles. Still, he’s a much better judge of music than he is of cocktails.

“I have one drink, and it’s Sprite Zero and vodka,” he tells PEOPLE with a laugh while taste testing cocktails at Ole Red Nashville, his newest restaurant, live music venue and retail space, named after his first hit “Ol’ Red.”

In this week’s issue, the country star, 42, opens up about the venture and how he couldn’t be happier — or busier.

Ole Red Nashville

Thinking back, “‘Ol’ Red was handed to me within the first week that I moved to Nashville,” Shelton says of recording his breakout 2001 song that catapulted his career. “Twenty-four years later, it seems too good to be true how it’s all come back around.”

The first Ole Red restaurant opened in Shelton’s hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma. In service since September 2017, the restaurant is “doing really good,” Shelton says.

When he was ready for round two, Shelton smartly set his sights on the Country Music Capital of the World, but it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing for him to set up shop in Nashville.

Two years ago, when he and Stefani went to check out the vacant former bank building that would become the next Ole Red location, there were some holes in the plan — literally.

“We went upstairs to the rooftop and Gwen’s heel goes through the roof,” Shelton recalls of the venue’s rough beginnings. “And I’m trying to get her leg back out and free and I’m like, ‘What the f— is that?'”

Patrick McMullan/Getty

Now, the place is buzzing with live music and guests sipping on the “Tishomingo Sunset” cocktail or enjoying “Cumberland Punch,” named after the Cumberland River running through Music City’s backyard.

Shelton, who’s already enlisted a slew of his famous friends to perform at the venue, wants to make sure that the Nashville music scene continues to thrive. “It’s funny how it’s taken all this time for us artists to figure out we ought to stake a claim downtown and remind people this is still a music-based community,” Shelton says.

For more on Blake Shelton and his newfound happiness, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Perry Hagopian

The magnitude of the new undertaking isn’t lost on him. “This is a big deal for me,” says Shelton who dreams of having Ole Red locations across the nation in coming years. He adds, “It’s overwhelming.”

RELATED: Blake Shelton Digs into His Cake as Gwen Stefani Serenades Him — and Buys Him a Flagpole! — for his 42nd Birthday

Blake Shelton/Instagram

Still, with Stefani and her three sons cheering him on, “I wouldn’t change one thing about my life right now,” he says. And if nothing else, Shelton’s banking on his new venture giving him an even bigger competitive advantage on The Voice

“None of those other three morons can say, ‘If you get on my team, you’ll have a gig at Ole Red,'” Shelton jokes. “What can they say? ‘Do you want to play Adam [Levine]‘s barbecue?'”

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