Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Carol Ann’s Home Cooking Café

Nashville Restaurants and Food
Carol Ann’s Home Cooking Café
407 Murfreesboro Road

It’s interesting to see restaurants “re-brand” and go through various marketing changes. The addition of a new logo, ad campaign and website can help a restaurant reach new customers. You want to make sure the ad campaign reflects who you are and for this reason I was a little puzzled by Carol Ann’s Café. The Murfreesboro Road restaurant has been around for nearly three years. Just recently they’ve been doing more advertising and started a website. Everything looks professional, but in this case perhaps too professional. At its heart Carol Ann’s is a classic Nashville meat and three, or actually a meat and two, as that is how their menu goes. The food on the website looks little antiseptic. In person Carol Ann’s is not that at all. It’s down home Nashville and the food rivals many meat and three’s in town.

Carol Ann’s is just down the street from Purity Dairy and it was packed on a Friday at 11:30am with Purity folks and Metro Public Works employees. I convinced the server to split my meat order so I could sample more. The catfish features a nice crunch and tender filet. The mashed potatoes are perfectly seasoned; you don’t even need to consider adding salt or butter. They bake the mac and cheese, which provides a good crunch to the top. The baked chicken comes in a creamy mushroom sauce that, while not very exciting is satisfying and keeps the chicken moist and savory. You can sop everything up with a solid cornbread muffin that is also baked with a slight char to the top. Overall the food is really good and certainly one of the better meat and two meals I’ve had in town. The website stresses that they use less sodium and sugar than traditional places. If that’s the case, they do a really good job. It tasted every bit as decadent as you’d expect for southern cooking.

They seem to be going for a variety of different feels inside the restaurant and that can be a little strange. You order either at the table or by going up to the serving area. However, the trays are on the other side with the server. You point at what you want and then waiters in black vests and bow ties take it to your table. It’s apparently an old southern thing, but here it is a little confusing. You can also pay immediately or sit down and they’ll give you your bill. The inside is fancied up with an “ice cream parlor” feel. They appear to serve ice cream, but I didn’t find that on the menu.

I guess in the end it doesn’t matter how Carol Ann’s is trying to position itself. It’s a really good meat and two restaurant with friendly service and a nice atmosphere.

The price of the meat and two changes according to your meat choice. I paid $8 with tip and lemonade. Carol Ann’s isn’t only a weekday place; they’re also open on Sundays.

Carol Ann Cafe on Urbanspoon


Lannae said...

Wow, you really do get around to hole in the walls. I have never heard of Carol Ann's. I am glad you added info about how to order and pay. It seems like any which way will work. So, if I had a hard day, and just want to sit, I could, or if I felt like ordering at the counter, I could. Pay now, pay later, either way. What a concept, the customer gets to do what they want!

Eric and Katie said...

It makes me wish I worked downtown again. There are so many hole in the wall places to visit for lunch. I suppose I should do a separate blog for Gallatin. There is some interesting food up here, especially now that the Hispanic community is growing, but overall it's chain restaurant hell.

Anonymous said...

It's Friday before sundown, and as an active Jewish Mom, I have to have my meals prepared before sundown, so before I leave work in Nashville I have to stop and get some healthy food. McDonald's, Wendy's, or Burger King never seem to suffice my growing kids, so I try to go places that know I can afford and by food that will last throughout the evening. I have gone to Carol Ann's several times but what I like most is the healthy choice of foods and the quality customer service. More so than anything, as a non-pork eater, I finally have found the Walmart of home cooked meals, Carol Ann's, a place where you can go to get about anything you want to eat.

Chioma Adaku
Franklin, Tennessee

Eric and Katie said...

That's interesting Chioma. I can see how Carol Ann's would make good take-out for a family. You can pick what you want from the buffet line and be out the door in a flash.

Anonymous said...

This was the worst food in all Greater Nashville!! Fried chicken cold!! there was no salad bar, no ketchup for your meats and box made mashed potatoes,,stay away!!