By Anna Robertson Hamm
Williamson County has no shortage of great eateries, and I recently visited a newer one in Franklin. Located in the Westhaven community, Front St. Tavern sits in the Town Center with a view of the beautiful lake. This family-friendly restaurant boasts a great variety of menu offerings as well as a fun vibe, with live music during the week and a back patio. CEO Ty Hauter says that they wanted to bring more dining options, along with entertainment, to the growing community of Westhaven and Franklin residents. “We wanted to create a space that would provide a welcoming vibe for families with younger children during the earlier hours, but also stay open late for those who want to join us after dinner for some live music and great cocktails,” explains Ty. “We are looking forward to expanding across the street next year, with a coal-fired pizza concept and another interactive entertainment and dining experience.”
“Since Franklin/Nashville is the heart of American music, I wanted the decor to touch on present day performers, but also bring past entertainers of varying genres into the fold. I wanted to create some nostalgia for all generations. This is how the old show and concert posters came into play, along with the use of building materials both new age and vintage in nature,” he says.
“When we took over the business, it was a juice shop,” says Director of Nashville Operations, Frank Miller. “It did not have a hood so we did not have access to a fryer or grill. We developed the menu based on using the science of slow cooking and baking as our main vehicle of cooking. We wanted to offer clean and healthy eating options while being able to offer remarkable takes on classic home cooking. Now that we are a few months into this new adventure, we have mastered the art of broiling our hand smashed burgers as well as having the ability to serve great brunch options for all of our Franklin patrons! Chef Chris Cunningham has done a great job taking what most chefs would look at as a major challenge, and has really created a great menu that has been well received by our regulars and Franklin locals.”
Some of their popular menu items are the Lobster Rolls, Lettuce Wraps and Short Rib Pot Roast. They are also rolling out some new fall items this week, which I had the opportunity to try out early! One of these new items is their Deviled Eggs, served with candied black pepper bacon and gherkin relish. I loved the candied bacon flavor and texture with these deviled eggs. It truly set them apart.
Next up, I tried the "Big Blue" Smash Burger - a smashed angus beef patty with blue cheese, pickled red onion, artisan greens and red wine jelly, on a brioche bun and served with kettle chips. This burger is prepared in a broiler, giving it a perfect outer texture and holding together with rich flavors and juices once you take a bite. It was an amazing take on a burger, giving it a great flavor from the traditional grilled version.
After that, I tried the Truffled Lobster Mac & Pesto, which is a mound of creamy truffle mac and cheese with fresh lobster, parmesan breadcrumbs and basil oil. Talk about comfort food kicked up a notch! I am a big fan of truffle anything, so when you pair it with mac and cheese and lobster - hold the phone! This is a delicious and hearty dish sure to satisfy the mac and cheese fans out there. Prepare to leave full.
Saving the best for last… The last dish I tried was the Spaghetti Squash, served with marinara sauce, parmesan cheese and basil pesto. This happened to be my favorite. Not only is it on the healthier side, the flavor of the house-made marinara and basil pesto was perfection. It completed the dish with simplicity, yet a magnitude of flavors. This can also be served with shrimp or meatballs.
After that, I sampled a few of their new cocktails. The Paloma with Altos Tequila, fresh grapefruit, fresh lime, a splash of lemon and Tajin Rim; the Espresso Martini made with Absolut Vodka, Maggie’s Farm Coffee Liquor, orange bitters and house whipped cream; and the New York Sour with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye, Simple Syrup, fresh lemon, Angostura Bitters and a Cabernet float. These were all tasty in their own unique way. The Paloma was refreshing and would definitely be a loved drink among the margarita fans. The Expresso Martini was delicious - step aside Starbucks - and would be a perfect cocktail to end your meal or start it if you need little pep! My favorite was the New York Sour... Being a whiskey and red wine lover, it was a perfect blend, creating a fabulous fall drink.
I highly recommend you go visit Front St. Tavern for a family night or date night and take in the great food and atmosphere yourself. They are open Monday through Wednesday from 11am to 10pm, Thursdays 11am until 11pm, Friday and Saturday 11 am until midnight, and Sundays from 9am to 10pm. Brunch can be enjoyed on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am until 2pm. They also offer half off bottles of wine on Mondays and do a Taco Tuesday special every week. “Our back patio is also a great place for large groups to celebrate parties or host private engagements,” Ty says. “At our company's core, we are all about hospitality, live music and good times...so we figured, let's bring a little of the fun we create in our downtown Nashville and San Diego restaurants, to Franklin and make it family-friendly.”