The balance between family and customer service can be tricky to maintain, but the owners of Polly’s Kitchen in Murfreesboro manage to tread that fine line.
The eatery, formerly known at Katie’s Kitchen, is owned by Lewie and Penny Eden, along with their son, Lewie Jr. It bears the unmistakable stamps of family, from the restaurant’s namesake (Lewie and Penny’s three-year-old granddaughter) to a display of photos and flowers from their son Tommy, currently serving in Iraq.
In turn, the Edens show the same dedication to their clientele.
“We have a lot of regular customers,” Lewie noted. “Certain people come in on certain days at certain times, and we know to prepare exactly what they want and exactly how they want it.”
Polly’s Kitchen offers a limited menu: breakfast staples like eggs and biscuits, and a collection of lunch items. The lunch menu includes standards like hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries, as well as special items throughout the week.
“Some of our most popular lunch plates are the meatloaf on Tuesdays, our famous seven-layer salad and our fried bologna, which we’re also going to be famous for someday,” Penny shared. “People also really love our frog leg and catfish Fridays.”
The food lives up to the Edens’ family-style promises. Everything is homemade, and from fresh, simple ingredients. The classic breakfast and lunch dishes are delivered in a traditional, familiar way without fanfare. Polly’s Kitchen keeps prices low by focusing solely on the food, and wasting little time with dining atmosphere.
As a result, while none of their flavor combinations or menu items are revolutionary, they adhere to the traditional expectations of classic comfort food and completely satisfy.
“We’re here to serve the working people of Murfreesboro,” Lewie said. “We make quality food for a low cost, and it’s ready for people so they can take it, and then go start their day.”
Every morning, a steady stream of those customers pours through the Polly’s Kitchen serving line. Meals are always packed in to-go boxes, and few people stay on the premises to eat. For those who do, however, a simple patio is available for customers 21 and over.
The steady service yields a loyal client base, and until early 2008, the Edens were just two such customers.
“Every Sunday morning for years, when this was still Katie’s Kitchen, we’d come down here and have biscuits,” Lewie said. “Then one day, the kitchen closed, people from the community who worked here lost their jobs, and Penny and I couldn’t get our biscuits.”
The Edens purchased the restaurant, rechristened it as Polly’s, and rehired many of the earlier employees.
“This is a small place that’s here to serve the community,” Lewie said. “There are fewer and fewer places like that around, so it’s important that we stay true to that.”
In return, the community stays true to Polly’s.
“Katie’s Kitchen was closed for a month or so before we took it over as Polly’s,” Lewie said. “And then, when we re-opened, all the customers came back, just like, ?Where’ve you guys been?’”