In Nashville, Tenn., it’s hard to find a single soul who hasn’t found themselves completely enamored with the exquisitely charming Loveless Cafe. Nestled off-the-beaten path in farmland and quintessential Southern scenery, the Loveless has been in operation for more than 60 years, made famous by their biscuits and good finger-lickin’ country food made from scratch daily.
But what business does the biscuit-wielding enterprise have in New York? A visit to the James Beard House, that’s what. Their trip to the famed gastronomic destination located in the heart of Greenwich Village lands, fittingly, on Valentine’s Day—they are the “Love”less—and the team will be appropriately serving dishes that make people feel as if they are home and loved, whether they’re true Southerners or were born in the heart of Brooklyn.
And for the first time ever, the Beard House is allowing the Loveless chefs to serve their offerings family style—well, at least for the final course. After all, it’s practically a Southern virtue that creamed corn and fried chicken just can’t be served any other way.
The Loveless is not only trail-blazing for Southern comfort food but has also prepared for this massive endeavor unlike any visiting chef team has before. They’ve left absolutely nothing to chance. The chefs are making the trip by bus to avoid the pains of lost luggage and unpredictable weather, lugging cases of Loveless-approved and very specific (and secret-ingredient laced) biscuit flour with them, and bringing barbecue that has already been smoked and prepared in their Tennessee smokehouse.
But the biggest effort they’ve made to ensure there will be no hitches is by hosting a mock-Beard dinner in the Loveless Barn located behind their restaurant. At this dinner, the Loveless served the exact amount of people expected in New York—family and friends of the team—using the same number of place settings that will be available, situated on tables just as the Beard ones will be. They even mocked-up their kitchen to reflect the much smaller space at the Beard House. That meant not using an industrial-sized fryer for their beloved chicken.
Now that they’ve taken all cautious measures, the big night is all that’s left. With a sold-out Beard House and a highly experienced team of chefs ready to satisfy with homemade buttermilk pimiento cheese profiteroles, shrimp and stone-ground Tennessee cheese grits, watermelon ribs, and Southern squash casserole amongst other menu items, the Loveless Cafe is ready to have New York fall in love with them.
—By Emily Arno, Relish Multimedia Editor