by Bobby Turman | photos by Brian Goins, Bobby Turman
Every neighborhood has that place. You know the one. The food is good, the beer is cold, the music is live, and the conversation friendly. There’s a place like this just in Nashville called Homegrown Taproom and Marketplace.
The outside is very unassuming, a simple sign on a plain awning. Windows frame the front of the building offering a preview of the smiles and easy laughter inside. Once you step inside, it’s like slipping on a pair of your favorite blue jeans. The décor is a little honkey tonk meets farmhouse, with hidden elements of pop culture poised to catch you unaware. Seating choices are range from the bar, community table, or two and four tops with low seats. Multiple dart boards are set up in a side room and a live band was in the process of setting up on a small stage and soon graces us with an incredible bluegrass set. The Missus and I spent some time learning about the food, drinks, and owners, and then it was finally time to eat.
We started out with a cheese board. One of the owners, Jennifer Starks, spent time working for Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese and it shows in the selection of artisanal and sometimes seasonal delicacies offered. Goat’s milk brie, House made pimento, and blue cheeses were a few of the offerings, paired with fresh pita, apple slices, candied pecans, and strawberry jam in an eye-pleasing display. When deciding on entrees, we were encouraged to be bold, mix things up with substitutions, and be inventive if we felt like it.
This was very outside of the box thinking in comparison to most restaurants and very welcome at our table. I opted for The Jackson, a sandwich containing roast beef, buttermilk cheddar, horseradish, and banana peppers, all on a soft hoagie roll and served with an au jus that was complimentary and strong at the same time. The Missus had the grilled cheese, complete with a bevy of “build your own” options like avocado, bacon, tomato, or turkey to make it her own. The bread was toasted but soft, just the right texture. The rest of the menu is diverse, unique, and ALL of their ingredients are locally sourced, the hallmark of the Homegrown mission statement.
Craft beer has taken America by storm, and owners Jennifer Starks and Robin Davis show a masterful grasp of the phenomenon. The chalkboard wall is a cornucopia of different styles and breweries, largely keeping with the local theme. Ciders are a big part of their selection as well, and if you can’t decide between them you can have a drink there and take home a growler. Many of their choices are informed by the “Untapped” smartphone app.
Owner Robin Davis boasts a strong marketing background, which shows thru in the marketplace feature. Artisanal meats, cheeses, sauces and more await your purchase. Homebrew has a “mug club”, that for a paltry $100 grants you your own personalized ceramic mug, complete with deals, discounts and offers just for you and the august company you keep in the club.
The next time you are in Nashville, drop in and see Donelson’s favorite neighbor Homegrown Taproom and Marketplace. You’ll be glad you did.
Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace is located at 2720 Old Lebanon Rd, Nashville, TN 37214, at https://homegrownnashville.com, and on Facebook and Instagram as @homegrownnashville