Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Loveless Cafe and Motel

Loveless Cafe
Originally uploaded by weezienyc.

I know I am really far behind on the posts from my trip to Charleston. But that is only because I’ve spent the past three weeks traveling around down south – eating and working on the cookbook. I’ve been in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and now - I’m in Tennessee.

I’ve been in Nashville for the past two days doing a little work, a little touring around, and a lot of eating. Of all the places I’ve visited, the Loveless Café and Motel has been my best experience. The food was delicious, the people charming, and the atmosphere was truly authentic.

The Loveless Café and Motel opened in 1951, with the owners – Lon and Annie Loveless serving fried chicken and biscuits to passersby on Highway 100. Lon ran the motel, while Annie ran the kitchen. Today the kitchen takes up a greater part of the main house, where a variety of southern delicacies are freshly prepared for guests rotating through the 75 seat dining room from open to close.

I was told to order the “Famous” Loveless Breakfast, two eggs any style, country ham (which is cured, smoked and carved in the smoking house right next door), red-eye gravy, creamy grits, and fresh biscuits. I arrived at the café well after lunch-time, but for the purpose of “cookbook research” I ordered the breakfast. For the purpose of “wanting lunch food” (read: dying for homemade fried chicken), I also ordered the Fried Chicken platter with okra and squash casserole. The waitress thought I was crazy.

Loveless Breakfast
Originally uploaded by weezienyc.

The breakfast came out first. I cracked open one of the eggs, letting the yolk run. Then I cut a bite of ham, added a bite of egg, dipped it into the gravy, the egg yolk, then the grits for the perfect bite. It was delicious, yet I set the remaining plate aside and waited for the chicken.

Finally – the chicken arrived. The waitress looked to me and the full plate of breakfast on the table, shook her head, then set down what was the largest platter of food I’ve seen for one person. And I ate it all. Just kidding. I selected the leg from the four pieces in front of me and quickly bit into the best (and hottest) chicken I’ve had since my grandfather passed away (he made the world best fried chicken). While the chicken cooled, I tasted the squash casserole, which is the best I’ve ever had. EVER. And I've always thought I made the best squash casserole. The okra was okay, so I ate a few pieces and opted for another biscuit instead. I finished the chicken, asked for a box – not wanting to let even one bite go to waste, paid my bill (under $25, by the way) and left to explore the rest of the “motel”.

Loveless Cafe Store
Originally uploaded by weezienyc.

The motel rooms have been transformed into eclectic shops, including the Hams & Jam Country Market, Ruthie Cherry Fine Art Gallery, Trace Bikes, and more. I spent over an hour in the Hams & Jams store, flipping through old southern cookbooks and drooling over jars of homemade jams and fresh foods. If I'd had a bigger suitcase, I would've filled it up with jams and fried pies. Good thing they have a catalog AND you can buy some things online - http://www.hamsandjams.com/.

I spent so much time in the store that I'll have to save the tour of the other shops for next time.
I highly recommend a stop at the Loveless to anyone traveling through Tennessee. I will be back as soon as I can - dreaming about the chicken and squash casserole in the meantime.

Loveless Cafe
8400 Highway 100
Nashville, TN
Open 7AM - 9PM, Seven days a week

1 comment:

sarahmcsimmons said...