Restaurants & FoodTravel

Review Of Historic Franklin, Tennessee Walking Tours: Our Franklin On Foot Food Tour

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By Jenn

Did you know that we have a city right here in Tennessee named after Benjamin Franklin?

I’m talking about the city of Franklin. It was founded on October 26, 1779.

It’s also the location of one of the Civil War’s bloodiest battles. The Civil War ravaged Franklin Tennessee economically, and it took 120 years for it to bounce back.

Today, Franklin is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States (per the 2010 Census). It is a blend of southern hospitality and big city charm.

A great way to explore this trendy city is to take a tour.

Thanks to the awesome folks who created Franklin on Foot, there are several fun tours to choose from!

Downtown_Franklin

 

My Franklin On Foot Tour

We actually won tickets (via a Franklin on Foot Twitter contest) to take a Southern Food Tour.

I’d never been on a tour of Franklin, let alone a food tour. This turned out to be a fun date for me and the hubby.

If you have never been on a food tour and you like trying new foods, meeting new people, and exploring cities, then I highly recommend this tour!

 

What The Franklin On Foot Food Tour Is Like

Landmark_Booksellers

 

We all met at Landmark Booksellers in the heart of downtown Franklin.

Our tour guide Margie Thessin (the owner of Franklin on Foot) was there to welcome us.

We spent a few minutes getting to know each other.

 

Little did we know our tour was to begin there as the Chapman Pie Wagon II (think southern charm food truck) was parked right next to the building.

Pie_Wagon

One of the owners of Chapman’s Pie Wagon II (Gwen Perkins) was on hand to greet us. We learned about the original Chapman’s Pie Wagon and how Gwen and her husband Dan came to own the latest pie wagon.

Then we were served our first “sampling” of food. What we got was enough for a meal but I am not complaining — because it was so very delicious. We each got a made-from-scratch grilled corn cake topped with crab meat, avocado and peach chunks/puree. I know the combination of peach and crab meat is a little odd sounding, but it was one of the most scrumptious food combinations I have ever had!

We also were served a cup of shrimp & artichoke soup. Yum! We had about 10 to 15 minutes to devour our food, but let’s just say that I could have parked myself at Chapman’s Pie Wagon and stayed there for the entire tour — that’s how good it was!

 

It was time to move on (or roll on), and our next stop was Puckett’s Boat House.

pucketts-boathouse

This is a fairly new restaurant in Franklin, but an extension of the already popular Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant. It was only a block away from the Pie Wagon.

The two Puckett’s Franklin establishments serve completely different foods — which is good because they are both stops on the Franklin on Foot Food Tour.

The Boat House is a bar, grill, and bait shop specializing in seafood dishes. They were ready for us and we were seated right away. They served us quickly too, and on our plate was a variety of samplings.

We had a hand-breaded thick cut onion ring, a made-from-scratch hush puppy, calamari, and fish cevich (catfish marinated in lime juice & Pico De Gallo served on a tortilla chip). It looked like the perfect portion size for a food tour, but by the time I ate all of it I was full. (Not uncomfortably full though.) I ate every bite on my plate. My favorite item was the hush puppy. (We were told that it took the chef several tries — because he wanted it to be perfect for our visit.)  All of the food was wonderful!

Sometimes it can be hard to find a good seafood restaurant in Tennessee, but Puckett’s Boat House nailed it. The decor is really cool too. An upside down boat on the roof  is an unexpected sight in the bar area.

 

Next, we headed over to Papa Boudreaux’s Cajun Cafe.

Papa_Boudreuxs

It’s a good thing it was a few blocks away (in the opposite direction), because we all seemed to need the walk.

This was a great time to take in downtown Franklin with its historic homes and buildings.

We arrived at Papa Boudreaux’s and were seated at a couple of different picnic tables inside. There were about 10 to 12 of us on the tour, and Papa’s is a bit limited on space.

We were quickly served a cup of their popular gumbo. I’m not really sure all that was in the gumbo, but I was so full that I could only eat about half of it.  My hubby gladly ate the rest. This was his favorite stop on the food tour. He absolutely loved the gumbo. I am not a gumbo girl, but I vowed to try everything on the Food Tour. It was good, had a little kick, and was very filling.

 

We then made our way over to the Franklin Mercantile Deli.

Franklin_Mercantile_Deli

Here we took a bit of a breather and spent a few minutes learning about Franklin’s history from our wonderful guide Margie. She had black & white photos of what Franklin had looked like, and we compared it to the present.

Then we were served some traditional southern finger sandwiches. We had a pimento sandwich and a chicken sandwich. These were served with the most delicious fruit tea. It was to die for!

At this point I didn’t think I could eat another thing, but alas we were not done… onward we went.

 

We walked over to Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant.

Owner_Pucketts

This popular eatery features a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.

Puckett’s has a lot of ambiance. There is a small stage for live music, an assortment of  groceries for sale, and plenty of tables to accommodate those eating in the restaurant.

I dug deep here because I found out we were having a pork BBQ slider and a fried green tomato. I had never eaten a fried green tomato and was so excited! I have no point of reference, but dang that was an awesome fried green tomato. I could only eat about half of my BBQ slider (which Puckett’s smoked themselves). I wanted to eat the whole thing, but I was just so full I couldn’t eat it all.

Puckett’s did not get the stomach space it deserved. I will have to go back and have a full meal without eating anywhere else.

 

Last but certainly not least, we stopped for dessert at Merridee’s Breadbasket.

Inside_Merridees

We each got a piece of their famous chess pie. However, only one or two of us were able to eat it right then. My husband and I took ours to go and ate it later that evening. When we were finally able to indulge in the pie, it was delicious.

Merridee’s is another very popular eatery in Franklin and has a long history in the community.

 

Owners

By now we were all busting at the seams.

If you’re wondering if you get your money’s worth on this tour… you DO!

If you’re wondering about the quality of food… it’s the BEST!

We all parted ways after Merridee’s, but my husband and I consider our Franklin Food Tour one of our most interesting dates (so far) in Tennessee. We’d do it again in a heartbeat.

 

Good To Know Before You Go

  • The Franklin on Foot Food Tour (all of their tours really) requires reservations, so call or email Margie ahead of time.
  • The cost for the Food Tour is $45 per person. (Check their website for the cost of other tours.)
  • Beer/wine will be extra. You pay for that yourself.
  • The Food Tour took about 2 hours and covered about 6 blocks. It’s not a bad walk, but I still wore sneakers.
  • Parking in downtown Franklin, Tennessee is FREE. We parked right in front of the Landmark bookstore.
  • Inclement weather may affect the tour, but you will be notified should that be the case.
  • You may not have the same tour guide, so if you don’t get Margie don’t be upset. (Oh, and yes, you can tip your tour guide.)