Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Sky Was Darkening…

and I was sure that I felt a few rain drops. What do we do to get out of the rain? Chuck suggested lunch, but it was only 11:30, and I thought it was a bit too early, but as Chuck said, “It’s never too early.” And it wasn’t. In fact, we weren’t any too soon. Not because the heavens opened and a deluge ensued, but because when we arrived at Puckett’s Grocery we snagged one of the last two empty tables.

As Chuck mentioned yesterday, Franklin (TN) is a popular tourist destination, and many such tourists arrive on bus tours. How did we know? Because they are walking around town with badges in plastic pouches hung around their necks. Always a dead give-away. But the crowd at Puckett’s seemed to be a mix of locals and tourists. This is indeed a popular restaurant.
“Have you ever walked into a place, and you instantly feel at home? Founded by the Puckett family in the 1950s, Puckett's has served as a country store to several communities in Williamson County. Andy Marshall bought the Leiper's Fork Puckett's Grocery in 1998. ‘We were serving everyone from songwriters to business moguls to country folk. People would come from all around—even hop off a plane from LA—to get a Puckett Burger. Before long, I realized what I have here is a restaurant pretending to be a grocery store.’ In 2002, Puckett's branched out to start a formal dinner and music program. With all of the talented writers in and around town, the Friday night writers' show grew fast with folks coming from all over to hear some of the finest that the industry has to offer in a cool, eclectic environment. The music and good food continues at Puckett's second location in Historic Downtown Franklin” (

“As a young man, Andy Marshall felt his future involved following in his father’s footsteps, never imagining he’d be among the most successful restaurateurs in Nashville. ‘I was raised in the grocery business,’ Marshall says. ‘I started working in the back room at 14; by 16, I was in produce; by the time I went to college, it was all I knew.’ Today Puckett’s, with five locations, a food trolley, two event venues, and a high-end restaurant concept, Gray’s On Main in Franklin, thrives….”
“’I’d always loved the prepared food side of the grocery business,’ Marshall says. ‘I started cooking and loved it. I got to explore the meat 'n’ three lunches, breakfasts, burgers, really got to know how to make good barbecue—still the most popular item on our menu. Little by little, we moved the shelves out and more tables in. Then we added music, and started building on it as a nighttime location. We got a good reputation and the beginnings of a brand’” (Stephanie Stewart-Howard at

While the interior—what we could see through the crowd—evokes the spirit of a grocery, I suspect that the shelf displays are really visible storage for items used in the kitchen.
And the smallish stage set along one wall held two or three dining tables. I’m glad that we weren’t seated at one of these where those around us could watch us as we ate.
Chuck had seen a picture of the fried green beans appetizer on the restaurant’s web site (“Yeah, that’s right, fried green beans! Fresh green beans hand battered and fried golden so they’re hot and crisp.”), and we began our meal by sharing an order.
These were wonderful! The beans were just barely cooked and retained their fresh—almost “green”—flavor, and there wasn’t a tough or woody bean on the plate. And the slightly spicy chipotle ranch dipping sauce was a perfect addition.

Now let’s take a long walk down memory lane. Growing up, it was Chuck’s task every Saturday to run into the local grocery store (Park’s Brothers, which, alas, no longer exists) to obtain a pound of bologna for his and his brother and sister’s school lunches. Chuck carried his lunch to school in a blue lunch box (mine was plaid and thank heaven that these were the days before The Little Pony), and we both remember frequently dropping our thermoses and breaking the glass lining which made a musical sound when shaken.

But to this day, Chuck still retains a fondness for bologna—one that I don’t totally share—so he couldn’t resist the lure of what the menu called “poor man’s steak”—the Smoked Bologna sandwich.
This was a slab of bologna almost a half-inch thick served on Texas toast with lettuce, tomato, and red onion. I took a bite and it was good—Chuck thoroughly enjoyed it, but a bite was enough for me.

With his sandwich came a side of really good shoestring fries, and he added a side of good skin-on potato salad.

Puckett’s still offers daily plate lunches (or “meat and threes”), and the day’s offerings were chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, and BBQ pulled pork. But the minute I saw the menu I knew what I wanted—the Music City Hot Chicken Sandwich.
Hot (as in spicy) fried chicken is a Nashville favorite, and I have seen three Nashville restaurants—Pepperfire, Prince’s, and 400 Degrees—featured on Food Network/Cooking Channel/Travel Channel programs. But knowing that we wouldn’t have enough time to visit any of these, this was my chance.

“Eating hot chicken in Nashville isn’t just food to fill the belly. It’s entertainment. An event. An ordeal. It overtakes the senses like a Hank song—all tears, fire, and passion. And that might be part of why it has a home in Music City—and until recently, almost no place else. Let Buffalo have its vinegary wing and Philadelphia its greasy cheese steak. In Nashville, no dish better embodies the city’s mix of high and low culture, the global reach of its booming economy and the down home nooks where the people behind it gather, than searingly-hot, flame-colored fried chicken.

“…In its most traditional form, hot chicken is fried in an iron skillet and caked in a cayenne paste until reddish-rust in color, resembling nothing so much as a rock from the surface of Hell. It arrives glowing atop white bread turned orange from those spicy drippings, with pickle rounds on the side.
“Everyone has their own method for tackling the bird, though the processes tend to follow a similar ritual. Bite of chicken followed by one of pickle, for example, then a tear of bread and spoonful of cooling slaw. Repeat. As the heat ramps up, the speed of eating tends to follow, because if you keep pressing onward (or so you tell yourself), you’ll push through. You’ll beat the heat. But you won’t. Beads of sweat might form, a tear could roll. What you will find in reward for feeding the addiction, though, is a high. It takes the eater to another dimension, if only for a moment, like an extra cup of coffee without the caffeine jitters or a runner’s high achieved without the run” (Jennifer Justus at

I am not sure that Puckett’s was prepared as described above, and from the vinegar tang, I suspect hot sauce played a part somewhere. And I also suspect that on a scale of hotness the chicken on my sandwich would fall somewhere from mild to medium, but it was certainly hot enough for me. In fact, I did find myself frequently taking a “spoonful of cooling slaw” to tamp down the spice. The chicken was crisp and moist, and I am glad that I had the chance to try it. But I am not sure that I would order it again.

Well, the rain never did appear, so we set forth, following a really good 4.5 Addie lunch, to continue our tour of Historic Franklin, Tennessee.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.


adham said...

شركة تنظيف بالطائف شركة الهدي افضل شركة نقل عفش بالطائف كذلك هى افضل شركة رش مبيدات بالطائف
شركه الهدى
شركة رش بالطائف
خدمات الطائف
شركة تنظيف بالطائف
شركة تنظيف فلل بالطائف
نظافه عامه بالطائف
شركة تنظيف منازل بالطائف

adham said...

شركة تنظيف شقق بالطائف
نقل عفش بالطائف
بالطائف شفط بيارات
تسليك مجارى بالطائف
تنظيف خزنات بالطائف
رش مبيدات بالطائف
نقل عفش بخميس مشيط
شركة عزل اسطح بالطائف

adham said...

ان اردت نقل عفش منزلك بالدمام ابيات الشرقية من اهم شركات نقل العفش بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والقطيف والاحساء
شركة المتحدة
شركة نقل عفش بنجران
شركة نقل عفش بخميس مشيط
شركة نقل عفش بالطائف
شركة نقل عفش بمكة
شركة نقل عفش بينبع
شركة نقل عفش بابها

adham said...

شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
شركة نقل عفش بجدة
شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
شركة نقل عفش ببريدة
شركة نقل عفش بالقصيم
شركة نقل عفش بتبوك