For a recent holiday outing, Steve and I made our way to Nashville with some friends for dinner and a show. It proved to be a night for Nashville traditions.
(The AT&T Building, often dubbed "Batman" as seen from the entrance to Ryman Auditorium).
THE ORIGINAL MONELL'S
The Monell's in Germantown, which is just north of downtown Nashville, was originally built in 1905 as a Victorian style home. Murals, transom windows, and fireplaces remaining from that time suggest the grandeur it once enjoyed. Now, as a restaurant, it is attractive and inviting.
Guests are seated at tables of 8, 10, or 12, and immediately bowls appear on the table to be passed around. Here is how my plate looked after I took "just a little" of pretty much everything that was offered. Fried chicken is considered an every-night staple, and I agree that it is very good.
At this location, breakfast and lunch are served seven days a week, and dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday.
To be completely honest, I love to sit down at a restaurant and enjoy an attractively presented meal in an unhurried environment. The food was good at Monell's (I'd give it a B overall), but I felt hurried, and nothing was done in the way of "presentation." Conversation around the table rated an A+, though, and that's what REALLY matters. Right? Monell's might be a place you'd really enjoy, so feel free to give it a try.
More good news is that it was near the Ryman Auditorium which is where we were headed next.
The Ryman Auditorium, built more than 130 years ago, was originally the Union Gospel Tabernacle, and the sturdy (hard) wooden pews still lend a church-like feeling to the place. As we were leaving, I noticed a gentleman carrying thick cushions. No doubt, he had attended concerts there before and was "in the know." :)
One insider tip when you order tickets -- Section 2 is fine, but, if possible, avoid Row U. Other rows are longer and allow for more breathing room per person.
The Ryman is primarily a country music venue, but it also plays host to other types of music, such as the Nutcracker ballet and the Music City Chorus. My friends and I were there for the Amy Grant and Vince Gill Christmas Special. I have been a fan of Amy Grant's since she first recorded Michael Card's "El Shaddai" in 1982. Vince Gill, her husband for the past 22 years, is a big name but not someone I was familiar with. His guitar playing alone made me a fan, but I also enjoyed his voice. The instrumentalists and backup singers on stage with the duo were excellent, and Henry Cho, the comedian who was the opening act for the evening was hysterical.
I'm glad I finally got to attend an event at the Ryman and look forward to returning for another one in the near future.