By Hope S. Philbrick
After a five-hour summertime drive without air-conditioning, once you reach your cool and cozy accommodations, you may not want to drive another eight miles into town to reach a restaurant.
Sure, it’s dinner time and you’re hungry. But you’re also hot, feeling lazy, and there’s what’s sure to be a perfectly good restaurant just steps away.
Suck it up: Gray’s on Main is worth the effort.
Housed in a Victorian building (circa 1876) in Historic Downtown Franklin, Tennessee, Gray’s on Main is named in honor of the building’s former occupant: The Gray Drug Co. was the town’s landmark pharmacy for nearly a century.
Gray’s opened in 2013 after the building was lovingly restored. The restaurant has not yet celebrated its first anniversary, but even on a random Tuesday it’s buzzing with activity that suggests it’s already community mainstay.
For good reason: This place serves up some serious yum!
The seasonal menu is packed with mouth-watering Southern dishes, with a focus on locally and regionally sourced ingredients. But you’ll also find some dishes from other regions, like the popular lobster mac—which, one can safely assume, is not light in terms of calories, but has a light mouthfeel and manages to fill a stomach while avoiding that over-stuffed feeling.
The bar serves epicurean, handcrafted cocktails that reflect the season and complement the food offerings. The aim, according to press materials, is to “celebrate the brandy culture of the late 19th Century.” A recent introduction: house-made bergamot tonics, which are available in a growler-like bottle to be refilled in the restaurant at request.
Gray’s is an Rx for more than hunger pangs and parched palates. It’s a communal gathering spot that manages to straddle extremes: It’s historic yet current, eclectic yet Southern, contemporary yet traditional, festive yet relaxed.
Billed as honoring “Tennessee’s cultural heritage through ‘Soulful Sounds. Vintage Spirits. Traditional Flavors,’” Gray’s is a great place to get a taste of the South—and not just food and drink but also culture and music.
Above the first floor dining room is a bar and music hall. The third story is available for supper club members and boasts the only public third-floor view of Franklin’s Main Street.
Hot? Lazy? Hungry? Gray’s cures what ails you.
GRAY’S on Main
332 Main Street
Franklin, TN 37064
– Photo Credits: Gray’s on Main interior and exterior by Marty Paoletta; cocktails courtesy Gray’s on Main; lobster mac © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion. Thanks to Visit Franklin for hosting my visit.