Last Sunday in Murfreesboro I roller skated for hours in the hot mid-afternoon sun. After a bit of that, I was hungry – and thirsty. Being a holiday weekend, not much in the way of eateries was open in the historic downtown area of Murfreesboro, where I was happily tucked away with no car.
I rolled up to the square. Sadly, no coffee shops open. In fact, nothing open at all. I was headed back home when I noticed that B. McNeel’s was open for 20 more minutes. This restaurant is elegant; housed in a historic building just a block off the square. This establishment reminds me of something one might see adorned with magnolia blossoms and featured in Southern Living Magazine, it’s that beautiful on the inside.
I walked up the stairs to the front door on my skate stoppers and a smiling hostess opened the door for me.
“Can I eat in here?” I asked. The hostess kind of gave me a funny look. I pointed to my skates. “I don’t want to mess up your hardwoods.”
“I’ll go ask my manager,” she said.
I waited, sweating outside no more than thirty seconds before the front door was flung open yet again by another smiling face. It was Barbara herself, the owner of the restaurant.
“Get in here, girl!” she said, laughing. “Just don’t fall.”
I did have to catch my balance momentarily as I rolled across those slick, polished hardwood floors. The menu at B. McNeel’s is simple for Sunday brunch. There’s a buffet with everything you can imagine, but I didn’t want to get out of my seat or walk up to the buffet line in my socked feet amongst all the families who were sporting their Sunday finery.
My waitress came to get my drink order and informed me that Barbara was taking care of my tab! I wanted something special and made-to-order and insisted that I pay. “No,” the waitress repeated. “It’s on us.”
“Thank you! How nice!” I said. “I’m a guest in this town!”
I ordered the huevos rancheros and was very pleasantly surprised by this Southern restaurant’s rendition of my favorite Latin breakfast. The refried beans were whole beans, not refried bean paste. And the sauce! Oh the sauce! It was just spicy enough and very dark reddish brown, full of speckles of peppers and herbs and goodness and full of flavor too. I’m sure they make it in the kitchen from scratch.
The restaurant is full of dappled light from the long windows and has a great feel in general. I indeed felt as though I stepped into a magazine. And then, just when I thought the experience couldn’t get any better, Lyle Lovett’s voice pumped through the loudspeaker. My favorite song was playing.