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The Franklin Mercantile Deli is a place that just feels cozy.
My husband was the first one to notice it during a breakfast visit to the Merc and as soon as he said it I noticed that, yes, that peaceful happy feeling was emanating as much from the restaurant itself as it was from our bellies full of pancake goodness.
The owners, Graeme and Corrie Asch, take as much pride in making you feel welcome there as they do in cooking up great food with fresh ingredients at great prices.
With an eclectic mix of lovingly worn tables and chairs and wonderful vintage tablecloths, the Merc operates on a spot in Franklin that has been many things through the years since 1816 when Stephen Smith first kept a store there.
Since opening in 1999, the Asch’s have also added a beer and wine menu, beer and wine tastings, live music, a kids’ menu, and a complete coffee bar. And with the addition of their Winter Special, good through the end of January, the Merc offers a value that is hard to beat in this economy — two dinner entrees with a cup of soup or a house salad and a bottle of wine for $36.
If you go for breakfast, you can choose from delicious items like the huge and fluffy Poppy’s Pancakes with your choice of pecans, blueberries or chocolate chips, to eggs served with a Cajun flair from Graeme’s Louisiana roots. From hash brown casserole, French toast, sausage and bacon, breakfast at the Merc offers the opportunity to sit and talk with family and friends, or, if you must, business acquaintances over some pretty great food.
Ah, lunch at the Merc! This is the opportunity to try one of the best things at the Merc. I’ve been trying to think of a word for awesome that doesn’t sound overused to describe Graeme’s delicious tomato basil soup. It’s stupendous (okay, try amazing, or astonishingly good if you like instead)! It is not the usual overly acidic affair so often thrown together at restaurants. For 9 years, Graeme has been painstakingly perfecting this soup with just a pinch of this and that to come up with a soup that has a slightly floral, slightly sweet taste and is in a class by itself. He’ll even give you the secret — just a touch of heavy cream. From husband to sister, this soup passes the stupendously good test!
Soups, salads, and sandwiches round out the lunch menu but, being the Merc, the sandwiches are special as well. The Annabelle is a favorite and includes smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo, & vinaigrette. This all sounds like a normal turkey sandwich, but there is something about the vinaigrette and pickles that really make that sandwich special. A Classic BLT, Patti’s Pimento Cheese, Robbins Roast Beef, Mable’s Pecan Chicken Salad, and The Vegetarian are also on the sandwich board.
During Christmas, I took 8 of my family members to the Merc to enjoy the holiday special and everyone found something they loved on the menu — including Momma who was treated to a glass of the restaurant’s homemade sangria by Graeme who had just come by to welcome everyone.
The menu emphasizes tapas starters and tapas entrees (just think of them as appetizers and entrees because, really, that’s what they are) that range from fresh salads and soups, to Bruschetta and Homemade Cheese Balls made with hand rolled red pepper cheddar cheese paired with fresh pineapple, grapes & strawberries and served with grilled French baguettes and crackers.
Our favorite entrée was the Orange Pork Tenderloin. It consists of grilled orange marinated pork tenderloin medallions with Creole honey mustard dressing on the side and is served with their signature sweet potato pancakes with sweet cinnamon butter. The sweet potato pancakes were such a nice surprise and a delicious accompaniment to the pork tenderloin, and everyone at our table tried them and loved them. Flank Steak, Port Glazed Salmon, and Tapas Burgers are some of the other great offerings on the Merc’s dinner menu.
Live music heats up the already warm atmosphere at the Merc on Fridays and also during the wine tastings on the first Saturday of every month and the beer tastings on the third Saturday of every month.
Wine and beer tastings at the Merc offer customers a chance to try different wines and beers with appetizers for an incredible price of $5 per person. On Thursdays, beer is buy one get one free!
The Franklin Mercantile Deli is located just off the corner of Fourth Avenue North and Main Street in downtown Franklin.
100 4th Avenue North
Franklin, TN 37064
I’m a native Nashvillian, and I’ve lived in Franklin for over 10 years. I have lived many other places and find that Franklin is the place that I truly love. It’s like living in Mayberry! I’m excited to have this new opportunity to share my experiences in this town with you.