Far off the beaten path is Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, a place that serves no-frills, grandma-style fixings in a rustic country kitchen. There are several Puckett’s locations, but the one in Leiper’s Fork just south of Nashville offers the most authentically Southern experience. Driving to Puckett’s is an experience in itself. The hilly grasslands, horse farms, and backroads of Tennessee offer a beautiful scenic drive away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Founded in 1953, Puckett’s serves Southern comfort food and is famous for its meat-and-three lunch options and slow-smoked BBQ. Entering Puckett’s transports guests back to a time when families would grab their groceries for dinner while waiting on a home-cooked breakfast. Vintage memorabilia adorns the walls, and a small stage is positioned adjacent to the dining area. Country and bluegrass bands play live music in the evenings on weekends, but more often, the restaurant is quiet and gives diners a glimpse of the slower pace of rural life.
Guests order at the counter, where a hot-tray bar and grill make up most of the kitchen and are in full view. The day’s scratch-made pie selection is so tempting that visitors often order a slice to accompany their breakfast. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and to-go orders are available. While some lighter fare is available, Puckett’s specializes in hearty meals that stick to the ribs. Breakfast options include sweet potato pancakes topped with pulled pork, build-your-own omelets, and fried chicken platters with eggs, home fries, and a biscuit. The most popular lunch item is the meat-and-three, where diners choose from a selection of smoked meats, fried chicken (including Nashville hot chicken), roast beef, and other options accompanied by three sides of choice. Vegetarian options are available as well. Dinner items include classics like "chicken fried chicken" topped with white pepper gravy, shrimp and grits, and black Angus ribeye.
Visitors can find unique food items and souvenirs in the grocery section of Puckett’s. The restaurant’s homemade marinades and rubs are available for purchase, but the grocery isn’t just for the store’s merchandise. The small market provides household staples like milk, bread, and detergent making it an all-in-one stop for many local families. Outside the restaurant, the rustic digs make for a great photo-op or resting space to digest. Nearby antique shops offer travelers a fun excursion before driving back to the city.
Puckett’s Restaurants are busy, especially on weekends. The Leiper's Fork location mentioned in this article does not accept reservations, however, reservations are available and encouraged at their other restaurants. *Note: Some menu items vary by location.
Cover Image: Outside of Puckett's Grocery. Courtesy of "Puckett's" by derekbruff, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0