that a restaurant is a popular tourist destination? When people line up to have their photographs taken in front of the sign and others—well, not tourists, but travelers like us—can photograph them having their photos taken. Such is the fame of the Loveless Café located in the far suburbs of Nashville, TN.
“Fried chicken and biscuits. These tried and true Southern food staples have been a part of Loveless Cafe’s history for more than sixty years. In 1951, Lon and Annie Loveless began serving them right out the front door of their home to travelers who passed by on US Highway 100….
The restaurant and motel changed hands in 1959 and again in 1972. “Thankfully, Annie Loveless’ biscuit recipe never changed with the ownership, enabling the Loveless Motel and Cafe to maintain its position as a true Tennessee tradition.”
Then, “In January 2004, under…new ownership, Loveless closed its doors for the first time in its history to undergo much-needed renovations. When the doors re-opened that June, folks were standing in lines thicker than sausage gravy to get a taste of their favorite dishes! To everyone’s delight, the Cafe menu was the same but better—enhanced with more southern favorites like pulled pork BBQ, lots of fresh country vegetables, and for the first time, homemade desserts! A new smokehouse was built on property
and those fourteen original motel rooms were converted into unique retail shops—including the Loveless Hams & Jams Country Market.
The Loveless Motel Shops provided visitors a wonderful way to pass the time while waiting for a table during busy weekend lunches” (lovelesscafe.com).
“For a long time it has been a favorite haunt among Grand Ol' Opry performers, whose pictures line the walls, and whose tour buses frequently can be seen parked towards the back of the lot. The Loveless has gotten a lot of good press in the last few years, praised by everyone from CBS-TV to Martha Stewart…” (Michael Stern at roadfood.com).
It should come as no surprise that every breakfast begins with a plate of biscuits along with samples of three preserves.
Chuck’s breakfast consisted of a seven-ounce slice of the Loveless’ country ham with two eggs, red eye gravy, and home fried potatoes. “…ham is the pride of the Loveless kitchen: It is country ham, slow cured and salty, fried on a griddle until its rim of fat turns translucent amber and the coral pink meat gets speckled sandy brown…” (Michael Stern at roadfood.com).
I ordered all a la carte—one ham biscuit, one chicken biscuit, and hash brown casserole. It was with my ham biscuit that I used Chuck’s red eye gravy as a dipping sauce. This was true red eye gravy—pan drippings plus coffee—and not the faux stuff that many places claim to be red eye gravy.
The Loveless Café is almost as well known for their fried chicken as they are for their biscuits, and the chicken was on the menu when “In October of 2012, an unexpected surprise came knocking on Loveless’ door. The prestigious James Beard Foundation extended an invitation for Loveless Cafe to serve dinner on Valentines Day 2013 in the famed James Beard House in New York City…. They pulled off one of the most successful dinner events in Loveless history, appeasing sophisticated New York palates with five courses of authentic Loveless cuisine, and warming their hearts with true Southern hospitality…” (lovelesscafe.com).
“Despite cultural changes that dot the timeline over the years, the Loveless Cafe remains true to what started it all in 1951: Serving true southern comfort food, encompassing a time when people ate what was indigenous to where they lived. Before the ‘super highways,’ the rural South was a remote area with back roads leading to treasures known only to those who ventured down them…. The Loveless Cafe represents a treasure trove of memories ‘out Highway 100’ and the generations of families who regularly return to relive those memories….” (lovelesscafe.com).
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.