Food for Thought

Hello Everyone and welcome to my first “official post” as a contributor to this blog!

As some of you already know I am a chef and therefore I love food.  So, you will probably see me talk about food a lot here.  I can’t help it…I am passionate about what I do and I love to share my passion with others.  Plus, without food, well we wouldn’t survive!

I have a question for all that reads This is LaVergne.  According to a survey conducted on the City of LaVergne website entitled, “What is the biggest change you want to see in LaVergne?”  44% of the citizens voted they would like to see more sit-down restaurants.

My question to you all is if you could have any restaurant open here in LaVergne, what type of restaurant would you most like to have?

LaVergne is a small, yet growing community and we, the people, fuel the local economy.  Without our patronage, local businesses can not grow or thrive.

So, send me your comments!  Tell your friends and family about this post!  I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Chef Eleni

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”  -Virginia Woolfe


17 Responses

  1. We already have Mexican, Pizza, Meat/3 (aka country-cookin’), fast food. I want to see Indian. But something more like Sitar than the Clay Pot. Italian perhaps? What I’d love to see (and this is so tacky) is a Golden Corral or Ryan’s. But a nice little Rocking Chair-type cafe would also be good!

  2. I know as a chef you’re going to hate this, but I would love to have a sit-down chain restaurant in La Vergne! Of course, with our proximity to Smyrna, chances are slim that we’ll see that.

    In my opinion, La Vergne is in BIG trouble when it comes to retail. In order to get smaller restaurants we need a bigger draw (a large grocery chain, or a wal-mart, or maybe a Costco). — The problem is all of that is going to Smyrna. Smyrna is about to have SIX big grocerie stores (2 Krogers, Wal-Mart, Publix, with Target and another Publix on Almaville road). La Vergne currently has ONE grocery store!!! And what’s worse is that we have a new grocery store sitting empty waiting for something like big lots or goodwill to come and drag down that shopping center.

    My question is why would any major retailer come to La Vergne? We have shown that we have no problem driving to Smyrna to shop, and they have plenty of room for growth. We aren’t going to see a Wal-Mart or Target since we are smack between 2 of each, we aren’t going to see any upscale retail simply based on the median income of the area.

    Also, Kathy can probably speak to this, but I would imagine that like many other places, our explosive growth has slowed dramatically, and so again, why would a retailer come here?

    I know this is kinda off topic, but I hate to say that if I were you, I would open my restaurant in Smyrna. As a citizen of La Vergne, I want to see the tax dollars stay here, but if I was trying to make the most profit, Smyrna is the place to be.

  3. Something else that just came to mind. Being in our location smack between Smyrna and Antioch, we are currently or soon will be between TWO of the following:

    2 Logans
    2 Cracker Barrells
    2 Targets
    2 Wal-Marts
    2 Chilis
    2 Applebees
    2 major shopping areas (Hickory Hollow and Colonial Town Park).

    I think we’re just to close to everything; our best bet on getting retail is to merge with Smyrna!

  4. MichaelinLV-

    It is good to hear your comments. As an entrepreneur, I am doing a lot of research trying to find the best/ideal answer to my situation. I don’t want to rule anything out, that’s for sure.
    Tell me something…why would you like to see a sit down chain come here? I am always curious to hear people’s thoughts on chains vs. independents.

    Thanks for your insight! :)

  5. Wow MichaelinLV. Someone was finally brave enough to say it out loud! LaVergne should merge with Smyrna.

  6. If I were to open a restaurant, I would like to do something like a Soup Plantation. For those of you who might not be familiar with that chain, it is a giant buffet style salad bar with everything imaginable as well as homemade soups and fresh baked breads. I don’t remember if it was all you can eat or not, but I am thinking it wasn’t. I like Mexican, chinese, pizza, and burgers but we need healthier options. The Bi-lo space might be a little big but it could be a consideration. I don’t eat out much, but I don’t know of anything else like it around here.

  7. I’d like to see something like- and we don’t have anything like this here- Jason’s Deli. But not Jason’s Deli because I vastly prefer independent restaurants.

    I’d like fresh, healthy, quick, inexpensive options. I’d like to see something with good vegetarian options. The vegetarian options around here are generally pretty dismal.

    Check out Calypso Cafe and Jason’s Deli, come up with something somewhere in the middle and I believe you will have a winner.

    If it delivered, that would be even better. There are so very few non-pizza places that deliver around here.

  8. I know Chef’s generally hate chains, so I appreciate you asking for my input on this.

    With a chain, you generally know what you’re getting as far as food, and it generally tastes the same regardless of location. They also have a national name to protect so I generally feel safer, even though Taco Bell has had countless food problems.

    I’m not opposed to locals. I ate at the big apple buffet quite a bit, and the pea pod is great; but 9 times outr of 10 I’m going to eat at a chain.

  9. […] Over at This Is LaVergne, their new contributor, Chef Eleni is wondering what kind of restaurant LaV…: I have a question for all that reads This is LaVergne. According to a survey conducted on the City of LaVergne website entitled, “What is the biggest change you want to see in LaVergne?” 44% of the citizens voted they would like to see more sit-down restaurants. […]

  10. They also have a national name to protect so I generally feel safer, even though Taco Bell has had countless food problems.

    And independent restaurant owners have their entire living on the line. The Health Department goes to the independent restaurants same as they do the corporate chains.

    Me, I’m just not a big fan of faceless corporate entities.

  11. Believe me, I’m as much a supporter of small businesses as anyone else, but if a local restaurant has a food safety problem, they can move to another nearby city and just change the name of the restaurant.

    When taco bell had the problems late last year with ecoli, those places were empty. Fortunately, people forget…

  12. I agree with ML about a salad bar & soup cafe. There is no place in La Vergne that has a buffet like the Piccadilly in Nashville. Since I eat lunch by myself most of the time, this would be a “comfortable” place for me to enjoy a good healthy meal alone and finally get away from the fast food restaurants. Come on La Vergne…let’s get with it!!!

  13. Believe me, I’m as much a supporter of small businesses as anyone else, but if a local restaurant has a food safety problem, they can move to another nearby city and just change the name of the restaurant.

    The problem with that, is the people that open independent restaurants have sunk their entire life savings into this business venture. Either that or they’re up to their eyeballs in debt with banks and loan companies. They don’t have the luxury of millions of dollars in yearly profits to pull their butts out of the fire.

    These independent restaurants are like children to the people who own them. They are just struggling to raise them right. So saying that a restaurant would just pick up and move to another city rather than practice proper food safety is ludicrous.

  14. Forget the restaurant…What this city clearly needs is a car wash.

  15. Ivy, that sounds good in priciple, but it doesn’t work in practice. The perfect example is the BBQ place that is, or used to be, on Murfreesboro road. That place changed hands 2 or 3 times during the 2 years I lived in LFE. I went in their one time after it had switched to “new management,” and as I remember, the lady told me the previous owner failed their health inspection and moved to Nashville. That was the last time I went in there.

    Unfortunately, not all small business owners view their business like bringing up a child. Sometimes a small business will want to cut corners to save money. Maybe they’ll cut back on their pest control service to save money, or wipe down tables with dirty rages instead of paper towels. Or maybe they will hire illegal aliens who don’t know health and safety regulations of the US?

    Again, let me reiterate that I am not opposed to locally owned restaurants, and I do eat at many in the area. I’m just saying IMO you have to be more careful.

  16. Wow! This post has really sparked some interesting comments. I have been to some good independent restaurants and good chains and equally as bad for both. I have seen people open restaurants and not abide by any health regulations whatsoever, due to laziness and ignorance. Who gets hurt by these practices? You, the patrons. With that said, it takes a trained person to go out on a limb, put up their lifesavings, and make many sacrifices in order for their dream to become a reality. The chain restaurants do have an edge, at times, offering decent consistency in food and service and at a value due to business volume. However, I have had might fine food and more personal service at an independent restaurant because you can feel the love that an owner/operator puts into his/her business. That isn’t always the case, but when you stumble across that diamond in the rough, it is so worth it.
    I have worked for chains in the past, and I have also seen the practices that are performed, such as hiring illegal aliens at a reduced rate of pay that speak no English, yet they are washing your dishes. Are they washing them the correct way according to the health department? You never know. Are the servers washing their hands after bathroom and smoke breaks? In large chains, who is watching their employees? Who has time? The managers are more concerned with hitting monthly sales goals so they can win the big trip to Hawaii. Badbadivy said it right: Independents work themselves 6-7 days a week to bring about a great overall experience to their customers because they love what they do.
    This is all about personal opinion. Chains work hard and have lots of money to open 300 restaurants in 5 years. Some independents work 30 years just to save enough to have the startup costs. Chains are good to have, but I think this town (including the Nashville area), should try to pay more attention to the underdogs.
    I appreciate hearing all of the comments thus far! :)

  17. I would personally love to open a breakfast/lunch buffet kinda thing in this area, then again, I don’t have that savings to even really consider that.

    But with that being said, I’d also like to see something like the olive garden, some kind of italian eatery, not focused entirely on the pizza, but on the pastas, the chicken parmesean etc…. I would definitely eat itailian at least twice a month. ;)

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