I just got back from Tennessee late last night and spent most of my time in Nashville. Southern comfort food was on my radar while I was in Nashville. My very first meal was dinner at Monnell’s. This restaurant is located in a beautiful Victorian building located in historic Germantown. There are three dining rooms at Monell’s each one having one large dining table holding about 15 people each. “Pass the peas, please!” is their motto because this is a family style restaurant where you are seated at a table with strangers. The wait staff brings out platters and bowls and you pass them along to the person sitting next to you. The abundance of food felt like Thanksgiving. The main courses the night my BFF and I were there were pork chops and baked chicken. In addition, every night they serve their famous skillet fried chicken and a variety of southern side dishes such as macaroni and cheese, fried apples, and corn pudding. Being that this was a completely new experience with strangers close by and food being passed very quickly, I didn’t take photos. I enjoyed all the food, but the skillet fried chicken was the clear standout. It was also a fun experience dining with strangers and getting to know a little bit about them. There is at least one thing we have in common – the love of food. Our table included a group of visitors who worked in country radio. I was excited to tell them that we were going to see Carrie Underwood at the Grand Ole Opry. Some of them had dinner at Monell’s the night before and were returning tonight with more of their friends. We were also committed to returning again but the next visit would be for their weekend country breakfast. No longer a newbie, the camera would come along.
Offered only on weekends, we enjoyed smoked sausage, bacon, country ham, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, cinnamon rolls, scrambled eggs, potatoes, cheese grits, fried apple, corn pudding, and skillet fried chicken. I enjoyed the country breakfast even more than the other night’s dinner. This time we sat with several parties and our neighbors were sisters from Knoxville that frequently leave their husbands to take care of their families so they can come to Nashville to watch the Tennessee Volunteers, the University of Tennessee’s women’s basketball team. My neighbor asked me if I liked the country ham. This is something she doesn’t like and neither did my BFF. I like salt so I wasn’t bothered too much by the salty flavor. It was the smokey flavor that I enjoyed. I admit that I probably couldn’t eat too much of it. My favorites were the fluffy biscuits, the corn pudding (my first time), and of course the skillet fried chicken.
Monell’s is a great overall experience and I recommend it to anyone visiting Nashville. Not only is the food good and plentiful, the communal dining experience is fun and enjoyable.
I was also hoping for some good barbecue while I was in Tennessee. Stay tuned for Part II.