Have you ever thought about why the scents of a new car, autumn leaves, lavender or fresh cookies from the oven are so alluring? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why those aromas are so distinct, but since the dawn of time (or 3000 BC), candles have tried their darndest, to replicate it.
Like all these smells, the savory scents that will flood your nostrils upon entering Tupelo Honey, will instantly transport you back to your grandparent’s house on a summer morning, at seven years old. There’s pecan pie French toast, bacon and sweet potato pancakes on the table. You wash it all down with a huge glass of ice-cold sweat tea, with a wedge of lemon on top. It’s not just for decoration!
Fast forward to lunch. Good things come in threes and lunch combos are no exception here! I’ve never allowed myself to fall prey to the gimmicky avocado on a sandwich trend, so I was skeptical when I ordered the Avocado and Chopped Egg Sandwich. I prepared myself to be unimpressed. But here’s the catch: the avocado is spicy, and the slow-roasted pork grilled cheese will have your mouth watering before you’re even able to take the first bite. Top it off with fried green tomato burrata and not only do you have a hearty sandwich that will leave you full and satisfied, it’s the ultimate comfort food and you’ll walk away with a feeling that reminds you of home, family and friends.
I’ll be the first to admit, when I go to a new restaurant, it’s not just about the food. No matter where you eat, it’s important that everything is made with love. Trust me, when I say there’s no shortage of that here! I shared a few laughs with my waitress, and she seemed genuine happy and excited to be talking with me (none of that forced-smile, tight-lipped joking around just to get a tip crud), not to mention she was knowledgeable about the menu, like she actually enjoys eating here herself! I felt comfortable and relaxed and even though it takes a lot of time and elbow grease to prepare the kind of southern food, like grandma used to make, my food came quickly and not a piece of fried chicken was out of place.
When I was younger, the most important question on my mind was always: what’s for dessert? Now, my mother could make a mean pecan pie, when I was growing up, but it had nothing on the Brown Butter Pecan Pie at Tupelo (sorry mom)! The warm chocolate sauce alone is enough to have you walking way feeling better than you have in years (and like you ate entirely too much, which you probably did).
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the most important part of the menu: the drinks! I can’t mention Tupelo Honey without talking to you about their bloody marys. These aren’t your typical, run of the mill, watered-down glass of tomato juice with liquor in it. Here, they treat bloody marys like the restorative cocktails that they are, experimenting with various blends of ingredients. Tupelo Honey considers their blood marys “a meal in a glass”, blending top-shelf liquor with their house-made bloody mary mix and garnished with bacon, shrimp, pickled jalapeños and green beans. In fact, these drinks are so balanced and savory you could skip the brunch altogether and reach straight for Queen Mary.
Whether you’ve grown up in Tennessee or if you’re just passing through, after a visit to Tupelo Honey, we can all agree they know the three most important rules of southern food: Always be generous with helpings (and everything else of course), always put sugar in your tea and gravy is not just a breakfast food.
One trip to Tupelo Honey and you’ll remember a time before life became complicated with college or work. You can just relax and allow all the comforts of traditions and home to alleviate the stress of everyday life. It’s more than just food. It’s memories and nostalgia for a simpler time. But more importantly, it’s love. The love of the people who made your food growing up. Whether that’s your mom, your grandma, best friend or your neighbor next door. Now, isn’t that the most comforting food of all?