Puckett's Grocery, by Brian Jewell
Published June 02, 2014
Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant is everything I could want in a country store in small-town Tennessee.
I took a break from touring Maury County to have lunch at Puckett’s in Columbia (there are also locations of the store in Franklin and Nashville). The establishment sits in the middle of the town square and welcomes the community and visitors alike with a hometown feel. You’ll find the best of Middle Tennessee there: authentic country ambiance, great country cooking and live country music.
Locals stop by Puckett’s to pick up their signature merchandise, which includes branded barbecue sauce and coffee. At mealtime, they linger over breakfast dishes such as sweet potato pancakes with pulled pork or barbecued chicken, pork and ribs for lunch and dinner. The culinary staff smokes meat low and slow over cherry wood for 18 hours and serves the dishes with classic country sides such as turnip greens, baked beans and squash casserole. I had a sampling of menu favorites at lunchtime and found them all deeply satisfying.
Perhaps the most memorable part of my visit, though, was the live music. Puckett’s features live performances every Friday and Saturday night, showcasing many locals who work in the area’s country music scene. The day of my visit, songwriter Jason Matthews made a special lunchtime appearance and performed hit songs such as “Country Man” and “Must be Doin’ Something Right” that he wrote for some of Nashville’s top stars. Matthews is as entertaining as he is talented, and the intimate, hometown feel of the country store made his stories and songs come to life.
Groups touring Maury County can work with the convention and visitors bureau to arrange for special musical performances when their itineraries bring them to Puckett’s.