Send in the …Chefs?

Maybe it’s because I’m the fat girl that this has been on my mind. Maybe it’s because I keep seeing “Chef Eleni” listed over here as an Author, and I wonder, where exactly does Chef Eleni work? Is it here in La Vergne? Why don’t I know of this local restaurant with a real Chef?

Regardless, the real question I want answered is this:

Does La Vergne have a higher end restaurant that serves quality, fresh, authentic recipes? Not that pre-fab, frozen, boxed goop that is supposed to substitute as a meal. I thought Will Stan’s would be the answer to our city’s need for just this type of establishment, but honestly, it’s not. Nice atmosphere, though it may have, fresh home made food, it does not.

Where’s our culinary specialists? We need a nice date night spot, complete with table cloths, candle light, and a wine list. Don’t skimp on the fresh, made to order food, please. A discriminating palette can certainly deduce the difference between a meal made with market fresh ingredients and pre-fab, frozen, and boxed ones. I promise.

We have enough fast food, too much, really. From what I’ve seen, my city is full of 30 and 40-something’s adults, and adults need substinance,  not burgers and fries. So, bring on the fine dining establishments, please. I think La Vergne could only benefit from it.

What says you, La Vergne?

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39 Responses

  1. I’m married to a restaurant manager and I have several years of restaurant experience myself, just to qualify where I’m coming from here. Oh, and I’m jacked up on Benadryl, too, so keep that in mind, too.

    The reason there’s no actual fine dining in LaVergne is because it won’t support that kind of business. There’s only one, perhaps 2 fine dining establishments in Murfreesboro which is at least 4 times larger and quite a bit richer than LaV.

    My husband and I, both foodies*, were horribly unimpressed with WillStan’s both times we were there. It was just not good. Horribly, horribly underseasoned, and the service was terribly unimpressive. The server actually made fun of me for ordering my steak rare. Look, I don’t care if you like to eat shoe leather, but I do not. Don’t get on my ass about how I’m ordering my steak.

    That said, there is a restaurant in town that does serve fresh, made to order food that is very, very good. Kathy and I have been trying to get a review up but we’ve both been crazy busy. That place is the Noodle House in that A frame building on Murfreesboro Road. The food and service were excellent.

    Another place that I’ve been to a few times that is ultra tasty is that taco truck over by the Mexican grocery. I’ve always been a fan of taco trucks, so your mileage may vary.

    Also, the Mexican bakery over by the Noodle House has some darn fine bread. But if you’re looking for actual restaurants, the Noodle House is your best bet. Also, they’ve very recently changed management, so if you’ve been there before and weren’t terribly impressed, try again.

    *We’re having date night tomorrow for the first time in a long time. Where are we going? Whole Foods. Seriously.

  2. I second what Ivy says about the Noodle House. I’ve got the menu out and was going to start “the review” today. As a preview… eat at the Noodle House!

    I still really like The Lazy Pig, but by all appearances it seems to be more of a take-out-family-meal-when-you’re-too-tired-to-cook place than a sit-down-and-make-googlie-eyes-at-each-other-over-romantic-meal kind of hang out.

  3. I’ve tried Willstan’s twice and have been unimpressed. We like the Lazy Pig’s bbq but skip the sides. Soupy and orange-yellow does not a good mac & cheese make. Their service is incredibly slow, too. What types of dishes does the Noodle House offer? Ivy, are you speaking of the taco truck in front of the merchandise liquidators or the grocery with the always smoking grill across the street? Since fine dining is hard to come by, we end up cooking a lot from scratch. We made potstickers last night. Mmmm!

    Hey, locals! Post your favorite close-by hidden jewel eatery! No chain restaurants, please. I love Thai Taste on Haywood Ln.

  4. MagMom – Ivy and I have started the review of the Noodle House. Look for it soon. But quickly glancing at the menu, entrees include pork rib green pepper, lomo saltado, shu shi salmon, grill duck curry, seafood clay pot, panang duck, pad thai, panang curry, red, green and yellow curry, cashew nut stir fry, broccoli stir fry, etc. A full Thai menu.

  5. Sounds enticing! I can’t wait for your review.

  6. Looks like Ichiban is closed. I am a fan of both WillStans & Lazy Pig.

  7. Are you serious?!? Ichibuffet is closed?

    Does anyone have the 411 on this “Pancho’s Grille”… that now is under new owners… but was previously “The Catfish Hole” … and before that “The Lazy Donkey”? I’m sorry, but I don’t care how cool they paint the windows or how cute the patio lights are – I’m not gonna eat at any place that can not make up their mind for more than 3 months at a shot. Call me snobby, but I don’t care… I don’t care to get food poisoning ever again (not that I got it there), but still….

  8. We tried them right after they opened as Pancho’s. While average Mexican food is still good, there are a lot of other restaurants I like better. The benches are just wooden seating-not very comfy. The waitstaff was nice enough. If the weather wasn’t so hot, it’d be fun to sit out on the patio and drink margaritas.

  9. Ivy, I understand what you mean in saying that La Vergne wouldn’t sustain a find dining place, but I think we could sustain some more places with better quality than what we currently have. Thanks for the heads up on The Noodle house, it sounds great to me…but for the wife, there is the issue of a severe peanut allergy. Thai is kind of out of the question since there are so many peanut sauces and oils. Please do let me know of any others though! : )

  10. Sorry, but I have to agree with Ivy. You have 27,000 people in this city, and 35,000 in Smyrna. That’s over 60,000. The problem is us in LV are much more willing to go eat in Smyrna. I don’t know anyone who comes from Smyrna to LV (not since the big apple buffett closed, anyway). I thought WilStan’s was good, but not world class.

    If you want fine dining, go to Cool Springs. It’s not that far.

  11. I noticed new construction going on across the street from burger king on M’boro Rd. The sign says retail coming soon. Any ideas?

  12. maybe La Vergne folks drive to Smyrna to go out to eat because we don’t have many decent options to choose from here at home…just a thought.
    I’m not even asking for a NY or San Francisco style 5 star kind of joint, just someplace that has some quality food in the kitchen and a chef who knows how to prepare it without it being frozen and from a box. I think La Vergne can handle that. : ) I’d bet La Vergne would LOVE that.

  13. My point wasn’t that us in LV wouldn’t patronize our restaurants, but that Smyrna residents won’t.

    Example, Chilis in Smyrna can reasonably expect to draw from a population base of 60,000 in Smyrna/LV. However, if TGI Friday’s built in La Vergne instead of Smyrna, it should only expect to draw from a base of about 30,000.

    I don’t believe people from Smyrna will eat out in LV regularly. They have plenty of options in their city. But before any of you assume a holier than thou approach, I bet most people reading this feel the same way about Antioch as Smyrna feels about LV – the feeling that ‘they’ are below us. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, I’m just sating it is what it is.

  14. I would love a restaurant that wasn’t a chain restaurant. Chili’s, Logan’s, and the like all have their place (apparently that’s Sam Ridley) but I’d really like a place that serves fresh homemade foods. I know it was in Smyrna, but I loved Massimo’s early on before it’s change in management and inclusion of sandwiches. The chef would make dishes from scratch and feature a creation for the evening. The food was really good.

  15. I don’t believe people from Smyrna will eat out in LV regularly. They have plenty of options in their city. But before any of you assume a holier than thou approach, I bet most people reading this feel the same way about Antioch as Smyrna feels about LV – the feeling that ‘they’ are below us. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, I’m just sating it is what it is.

    I get what you’re saying, Michael, but if the food is good enough and word gets out, people might come from Smyrna and/or Antioch to eat. I never, ever shop in Antioch, but since friends raved about 2 restaurants in Antioch (Los Rosales- amazing Mexican food- not your standard order by number type joint and Noodle Pot- yes, another Thai restaurant), I go there fairly regularly to eat. The key is to come up with something that’s different AND affordable.

    Personally, I just wish WillStan’s would call Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and get a new menu. I’d be happy.

  16. Ivy-I totally agree ! Kitchen Nightmares needs to pay WillStan’s a visit!
    And yes, even if the restaurant is in a less desirable area, if it’s good, they will come. The best Thai place I’ve ever been to is Siam Cafe. It’s a dinky hole in the wall on Nolensville Rd in South Nashville. Smack dab in the middle of a pretty rough little run. I used to go there all the time before I met the wife, (we avoid any place with peanut oil due to her previously mentioned allergy). Why did I take my life into my own hands to go to a restaurant in a seedy part of town? Because it’s some of the best food you can ever pop into your mouth.
    That said, La Vergne is much nicer to come to than that run down, thug infested area is. A great restaurant, with affordable prices and friendly staff will surely do well here. Hmmm….maybe I’m in the wrong business ; )

  17. I love siam cafe!! I think I might go there for lunch. YUMMM Pad Thai!

  18. Ummm, I’m craving Panang Curry now….

  19. MagMom-why’d you have to go and mention Panang Curry… No fair! LOL

  20. We love Siam too, but the new Noodle House is just awesome! We ate there twice last week. Definitely the best thing that we’ve had in La Vergne since the Pea Pod closed. It’s the best thing La Vergne has going for it, by far. Everyone has to eat there a lot, please. I’d hate to see it disappear.

  21. I’ve gone to Raz’z several times, it’s very good food and the owner lives in Nashville. It’s in Smyrna but it’s in that border zone that I think we could invade and possibly claim…

  22. Nofortunecookies-

    I am Chef Eleni! I have taken a hiatus from the blog because I have been too darn busy. I own Savor the Flavor Catering, LLC, and we just moved our kitchen operations to Smyrna! We are a full service catering company that handles both socila and corporate catering events. Feel free to check out our website at http://www.stfcatering.com and please tell all of your friends and colleagues about us!

    Our ultimate dream is to open a few different restaurant concepts in the area that provide great, fresh food, with great service, at great prices. My business partner and I are both professionally trained chefs and we love food, therefore we want to share our love with everyone! So, hopefully within the next couple of years I will get to advertise the opening our new place. Maybe I will win the lottery by then so I can pay for it! If there are any investors interested in speaking with us, feel free to contact us.

    There aren’t many nice places around in the area. Murfreesboro has a couple places, but Nashville seems to be getting everything. The people of LaVergne would never support a nice restaurant, but I feel Smyrna would. Who knows maybe you will see us pop up in Smyrna in the near future!

    Happy Eating!!

    Chef Eleni

  23. “The people of LaVergne would never support a nice restaurant, but I feel Smyrna would.”

    Wow, that kinda hurts my feelings :(

  24. “The people of LaVergne would never support a nice restaurant, but I feel Smyrna would.”

    I believe it was said once that Kroger would never want to open in La Vergne because it was not big enough and the “people of La Vergne” would not support it either….. WRONG!!

    Good luck with your new business. Although, you may be better off if you try not to offend those that you are promoting your business to.

  25. Wow! I did not mean to offend anyone with my comment. When I first started writing on this blog, i asked the good people here what they thought about independent restaurants opening here and the thoughts were that people may not patronize them. I listen to people’s opinions and I consider the facts when making business decisions. Someone could very well come here and open a white table cloth restaurant and be successful, but right now things are slow at 8pm around here while Smyrna is jumping.
    Please do accept my apology.

  26. ChefEleni- Hello there! Nice to “meet” you! I fully understand where you are coming from with your concers about opening a restaurant in Lavergne. However, I believe that with the city’s growth, influx of a younger home buyer base, and so few truly good options to choose from, a good restaurant has nothing but excellent chances here in La Vergne. And as I was saying earlier, when it’s good, people will come, even when they believe the drive to be a bit far. I believe Smyrna is hopping simply because that is where all of the retail and restaurants have been concentrated. If La Vergne had that kind of development, we would be drawing our own people ot stay within city limits, as well as attracting Antioch people who may be tired of the same old thing from Antoioch. Anyways, all I’m saying is I’m glad to know you are not a mythical character and that La Vergne actually does hold hope for a real, good, fresh choice in dining. Now I’m off to visit your web site!

  27. I have seen growth here and I have no doubt that more retail is coming our way. I would love to open a place here and I have a concept that I think would do great. Financing is the problem. But we will see how the future unfolds.

  28. Ya know, LaVergne doesn’t really have an “eat street”, where there is a concentration of restaurants to choose from. That seems to help spur foodie patronage. If a family hasn’t decided which restaurant they want, they still know that, driving down Dinner Alley, they’ll spot the place where they want to eat.

  29. Has anyone checked out Kym & Bev’s Grill on Old Nash Hwy in LaVergne. It is a meat & three that has been in business for over 3 yrs………..If u come try it, I promise you will write about it. WE have homemade desserts, 3 Meats and 16 veggies to choose from daily as well as old fashion hand pattied out hamburgers…… Open M-F 7-2 Breakfast and lunch Sat 7-12 And breakfast is served all day……Hope to see u soon….Thanks

  30. If anyone likes Italian food I know of a great restaurant. It’s a little hole in the wall on Trousdale Dr. in Nashville. It’s called Mama Mia’s. I’m extremely picky about my italian food as I spent 2 years in a home as a teen with a woman who was born and raised in Italy. WOW, could she cook. This place even holds up to HER standards.

  31. Kym,

    Ivy and I had a very enjoyable lunch at your place today. And we thought we spotted Deja MooOooOoo on an antennea in the parking lot, but my camera phone said “Phhhbbbttt!!!” on the photo and lost it.

    I’m dying to bring my hubby over there for brunch soon!

    Angela,

    My mom has had wonderful things to say about Mama Mia’s as well…

    Have any of y’all ventured to Cedars Greek & Italian Cafe in Smyrna? OMG!!!!! It’s A-FREAKIN’-MAZING!!!!

  32. We’ve tried Cedars a few times. I craved the Greek pizza when I was pregnant (I still do but no dairy right now). My hubby likes their Greek food as well.

  33. Angela, Mama Mia’s is just about the best Italian in Nashville! I spent some time in a home with a true Italian woman too, and I agree with you, theirs even holds up to her standards.

  34. I’ve been to Mama Mia’s, I really didn’t think it was all that great. The food was decent, and the price was decent, but it tasted like any other chain italian restaurant. Plus, since I don’t drink there really weren’t any beverage options since it’s a bring-your-own-wine place.

  35. michaelinLV – “it tasted like any other chain italian restaurant” are you talking about the family owned and operated Mama Mia’s on Harding and Trousdale? The tiny white building? The one that has been repeatedly voted Nashville Scene’s Best Italian restaurant? Because they are certainly not a chain and they actually make everything fresh, in house, nothing frozen like the chains you speak of….maybe you hit them on an off day?

  36. Yes, I know they’re not a chain, that’s my point. I expected something unique but it was just the same old stuff, minus a beverage choice.

  37. I don’t read the Scene so I don’t know what their writers said about the place. I thought the food was average, tables were crammed in there, and there was no parking except at the gas station where I thought for sure my car would be towed.

    I’m sure it’s a great place and 99% of people will love the food. I personally equate the atmosphere to the food. A small building in a bad location doesn’t exactly wet my appetite.

  38. Okay ya’ll. Now I’m going to have to go over and try the place. Heartburn due to tomato sauce aside, you’re forcing me.

  39. one more place I’ve found that has some awesome pizza is Sal’s on Stewarts Ferry. Another hole in the wall place, but if you’ve ever been to NY and love TRUE NY pizza you’ll love Sal’s.
    Actually Sal is the owner and originally from NY. He used to run a pizzaria in NY. The cheeese that stretches seems to stretch for miles. Now for those of you who have never had actual NY pizza in NY you should know…it’s greasy, it’s cheesy, and it’s messy, it’s the kind you almost have to fold in half to eat…but oh it is soooo yummy.

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