This week Tim Dutton visits Goodness Gracious Cafe & Catering located in downtown Murfreesboro. Tim tastes a variety of the dishes available at Goodness Gracious from both their breakfast and lunch menus.

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TIM:  Tim Dutton here with another edition of Taste of the Town.  Today, I’m at Goodness Gracious, and I’m sitting here with the owner, Karen Ford.  Karen, thank you for having me.

KAREN:  Well, thank you for coming.

TIM:  You want to tell folks a little bit about where you guys are located, Karen?

KAREN:  Sure.  We are located just one block off the square in downtown Murfreesboro on College Street between Church and Spring Street.

TIM:  And they’re located in a very old home.  What’s the history of this?

KAREN:  Okay.  It is about a hundred years old.  It was never built as a permanent home.  It was a funeral home.  It was an apartment, a lodge.  So it had several prior tenants.  A couple of restaurants were in here and a beauty salon.  So there’s been a lot of activity in this place.

TIM:  Karen, I’ll tell ya, it’s a great atmosphere.

KAREN:  It is.  It’s wonderful.

TIM:  Got the fireplace going back here and stuff.  It is good.  This food, first of all it’s beautiful.  If it tastes half as good as it looks, we’re in for a treat.

KAREN:  Yes.

TIM:  What do we have right here?

KAREN:  Okay.  That is the strawberry spinach salad, so it’s baby spinach with fresh strawberries.  We do our sugar pecans here, red onion, and it goes with a poppy seed dressing that we make here as well.  Springtime, you think of strawberries coming in and that is a very big seller here.

TIM:  That is very good.  And look at the quantity.

KAREN:  Yeah, that’s the large size.  We’re coming out with an updated menu that you’ll be able to get a half size as well just in case you just want a little something but still good.

TIM:  The next thing that we’ve got is another one of my favorites.  Do you want to tell folks what we’re looking at here?

KAREN:  It’s shrimp and grits and we make it with our gouda grits.  Gouda cheese, creamy.  Gouda cheese in there and has a little bit of spice.  Chef Eric came up with that.  That’s a great seller.  If you like something a little bit spicy and if you like grits.

TIM:  And I’ll tell you this is a terrible job I have.

KAREN:  It’s good isn’t it?

TIM:  That is great.  I mean great.  And it does have that spice to it.

KAREN:  It does have a kick.  And so since we make it here, we can adjust the seasoning.  Some people like it a little more spicy.  Some people like it a little less.

TIM:  I think that’s perfect.

KAREN:  Yeah, want to go with breakfast?

TIM:  That’s something we hadn’t talked about.  You guys do breakfast also.

KAREN:  Yes, we do.  We started doing breakfast just breakfast hours and then we had so many calls for it.  And now we do breakfast all day long.  And that has been an amazing success for us.

TIM:  I bet it has.

KAREN:  And so you’re tasting apple pancakes.  It has freshly sautéed apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  And then if you like more syrup, you certainly can add that.

TIM:  The maple syrup.

KAREN:  And as you can see, that is a huge stick to your ribs plate of food right there.  And so that is big enough to share.

TIM:  Ooo, girl!

KAREN:  Or you can just eat it yourself.  One of the two.

TIM:  That is top quality.  And you do it all day long.

KAREN:  We do, yes.  You know, we tossed it around, should we, shouldn’t we.  And we decided to do breakfast all day, and we are so glad we did.  And people are just thrilled with it because it gives a different option.  So it’s good.

TIM:  I noticed on your menu, Karen, you guys have so many different items between the breakfast and the lunch.

KAREN:  We do.  Yes.

TIM:  It’s incredible what all you guys do.  You also have the sweet potato fries.

KAREN:  Sweet potato fries.  We bake them, so they sometimes aren’t as crisp as a regular fried potato, but they’re healthy.

TIM:  They’re a lot better for you.

KAREN:  So that’s an alternative.  A lot of people talking about obviously this is a calorie-laden table.  Even the salad has some calories.  But it’s choices.  So we try to equip everybody with some choices.

TIM:  Right.  Tell me what we have here.

KAREN:  That is the strawberry pretzel salad, so it is a congealed salad with sugared pretzels and then the whipped cream and strawberry on top.  So that is a very popular item as well.  And a majority of our customers are women and women seem to love Jello salads, congealed salads.  So although men are very welcome, obviously by that sandwich, we want to appeal to men as well. 

And we think we have a good menu with our shrimp and grits and then the Boro Beef Steak Sandwich, hamburgers, things like that, that would apply as well to men.  Has peppers and onions and Swiss cheese, and that roll. 

TIM:  I was going to ask.

KAREN:  And we just try to give you a good value for your money when you come into Goodness Gracious.

TIM:  This stuff is great.

KAREN:  Okay, the last thing we have on the table today is our quiche plate.  And quiche we sell a lot of quiche.  We bake them individually now.  Your own little quiche.  That one there is a spinach and cream chicken, and then one of the side items here is our filled strawberries that are strawberries filled with a cream cheese icing that are just amazingly delicious.

TIM:  Aww, man!

KAREN:  I can’t even begin to tell you how many of those we sell in a day’s time.

TIM:  Mmm, mmm, mmm.  And the cream-filled…?

KAREN:  It’s a cream cheese icing like you would get on a cake.  We put it in the strawberry.  And the tart strawberry with that sweet….it’s close to like a chocolate-covered strawberry and it’s just very delicious.

TIM:  You’re absolutely right.

KAREN:  We sell a lot of those.  And then just with our setting we kind of want to have a cute little, trendy little something to put them in.  So we are always looking for fun little ways to display food items.  That’s part of my background being a caterer as well.  We are always wanting to display food in a neat, attractive way.  So we kind of think that suits the bill there.

TIM:  You guys do so many different specialty things.  Like one of them the fruit tea.

KAREN:  Yes.

TIM:  I tasted it as I was waiting on you, and it is great.  You guys also do catering?

KAREN:  Yes.  That is a big part of our business.  We were awarded the favorite caterer in Murfreesboro from the Daily News Journal and so we are thrilled with that honor.  And we take it very seriously.  We love being able to plan parties from birthday parties to weddings to anything very special.  That’s just something I love to do.

TIM:  Right.

KAREN:  Just very passionate about it.

TIM:  So we’ve got a Ruthies Award winner here at Goodness Gracious.

KAREN:  Yes, yes.

TIM:  Now what are the hours that you guys are open and which days and that kind of stuff?

KAREN:  Sure.  We’re open Monday through Thursday from 10 until 2 and then Friday and Saturday we open at 8:00 until 2.  And we are open anytime for private parties, any day of the week.

TIM:  Well, guys, I’m going to tell you make a trip down here to Goodness Gracious.  You will not regret it.  Karen, do you have a special for the people that come in and say, “Hey, I saw you on Taste of the Town”?

KAREN:  Sure, we would love to offer a special.  From now through the end of March, we would be willing to do a buy one, get one free.  Just mention that you had seen it on Taste of the Town, and we would be happy to honor that.  And you’ll just have to tell us you’ve seen it and it’ll be great.

TIM:  So there you go, guys.  Just come on in, and Karen will give you buy one, get one free of the same value up to the end of March?

KAREN:  Yes, sir.

TIM:  Up until the end of March.  It’s a no-brainer.  Well, that’s about it for this edition of Taste of the Town.  And remember, if you’re thinking real estate, think Tim Dutton.