While the Pittsburgh friends were visiting, we wanted to take them on a touristy tour that would show what Tennessee is all about. We went to Lynchburg, TN to get a tour of the Jack Daniel's Distillery, and to dine for lunch at Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding house. This historic home has only 2 seatings, 11 am and 1 pm, and it is by reservation only. This day, we shared our table with a Rotary Club and the Red Hat Ladies, and Miss Mary Bobo's seated 82 for lunch at this time, but has capacity for 120 per seating. The boarding house has been in service for about 99 years, and was a bed and breakfast before the bed and breakfast became shee-shee with the yuppies. In its day, there were long time renters, a school teacher and a banker, and then the wayward guests who came and went through the fine town of Lynchburg, TN. Miss Mary Bobo ran the boarding house until she died in 1983. With some wheeling and dealing, and some relatives and people weighing in on preserving the history of Miss Mary Bobo's, Jack Daniel's Distillery purchased the property, and kept it open as a historic lunch place, and discontinued the rooming part of the business.
The Franklin Friends made the lunch reservation for 1 pm. We got lucky, and were seated in the original section of the house in the rear. In olden southern times, plantation homes had a house, and then a separate building out back that had a kitchen, dining room, and slave quarters, and this building has been preserved. We had our lunch in the original kitchen, as the new industrial kitchen has been built on recently. Our dining room was across the way from the hand dug well, which is gated now, and tourists can see it and get a feel for what it was like to cook and get water way back when.
We shared our table with our hostess, and a 6 other strangers. We talked to them, and it turns out a couple were there for a birthday lunch, another was from MA, and yet another was from FL. We had our Burgh friends, so we came from all over. On the family style menu this day was fried chicken, beef stew, cabbage casserole, corn, lima beans, fried okra, chow chow spicy tomato and onion relish, cooked apples with Jack Daniel's and sugar, corn muffins, and French coconut pie with whipped cream made with a little Jack Daniel's. Lynchburg is in a dry county, so only iced tea, water and coffee were served with lunch. Sorry, no sips of the good stuff. The meal was traditional southern, showcasing ingredients that grow in the south. The fried chicken was deep fried to accommodate the shear number of diners at lunch, but the original recipe calls for southern skillet fried chicken. If we had the traditional skillet chicken, we would be there for days because it is time intensive. The meal, honestly, was ok, but the tradition, and the southern formality was what I was eating up. I just love the history of food.
One dish that I really like was the fried okra. It has a nice light, almost a thin tampura batter on it. The okra was not slimy, and the fried parts were crunchy. I have never liked fried okra until now. I ate 2 plates full of okra. Yeah, I waddled out of Miss Mary Bobo's with my big tummy after that.
I ate part of the French coconut pie. It seems that everyone at the table enjoyed the pie. I personally don't eat much pie because they are usually too sweet for my taste, as was this one. The crust, however, was completely eaten because it was a homemade crust with a light flaky texture. It was fantastic. The coconut shreds in the pie were also good. I think Jack Daniel's has done a fine job preserving the illusion of old Southern charm in Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House. Come for the tradition and the southern history, and enjoy breaking corn muffins with other travelers to this quaint home.
Labels: Nashville Eats