The two-story house on East College Street looks like many other homes in downtown Murfreesboro, but anyone who walks through the double doors of The Front Porch Caf’ knows that they are not just in for experiencing a bit of history; they are in for a delicious lunch.
Original hardwood floors, wooden tables draped with white tablecloths and the sound of old music permeating the air create a sense of Southern hospitality. The moment they walk into the foyer, patrons are greeted warmly by owners and chefs Terry Confer and Chris Hendley and encouraged to choose one of many tables in the restaurant’s expansive dining area.
Customers gather at tables modestly decorated with fresh flower arrangements, and the wooden chairs and rich-colored walls capture the house’s original Southern charm. The paper menus offer simple, traditional Southern fare such as their ’Signature’ meatloaf, an individually baked, 14-ounce serving, topped with a tangy tomato sauce and sides of skin-in mashed potatoes, green beans and a roll or biscuit. Choices of sides include frozen fruit salad, squash casserole and a delicious congealed cranberry salad.
Confer , who previously worked for U.S. Airways, and Hendley, a former music teacher, purchased The Front Porch Caf’ in July.
’We have known each other for over a year,’ Hendley said. ’It has always been Terry’s dream to own a business, and I have always wanted to own a restaurant. In July, we got the call.’
Since purchasing the house, which is listed as a historic home in Rutherford County, Confer and Hendley have started a series of extensive renovations.
’We are trying to restore the original hardwood floors,’ Confer said. ’We are trying to keep the interior true to original as we can.’
Currently, they are focusing their renovation efforts downstairs in the main dining area. They hope to soon begin work on the large upstairs area, which now serves as a banquet room for up to 100.
Even with all of the changes being made to the interior of the restaurant, there is one item that the men say they will not change: the menu.
’Most of the recipes came with the restaurant,’ Hendley said. ’They have created a following, so we don’t really want to change them. What we are trying to do is make the menu our own by adding our own specials.’
Hendley said he and Confer are working with the kitchen to add items to the menu that give it more variety. He said he hopes to add seasonal dishes and excitedly mentions his hopes of adding some personal recipes such as his fresh-roasted green chili cheese grits.
Gourmet sandwiches and tasty side dishes made with fresh produce from the local Farmer’s Market are not the only menu items that The Front Porch Caf’ is famous for. The restaurant has been the recipient of three ’Ruthie Awards’ for their homemade desserts. Gina, the in-house baker, prepares cakes and pies fresh daily. These delightful concoctions include a moist red velvet cake with homemade cream cheese icing and their famous ’Sinsational Pie.’ Gina also bakes the crusts for the quiche plate, a menu item that changes daily.
’All of our food is homemade everyday,’ Hendley said. ’We try to gauge what the average number of people will be each day because we do not want leftovers. Of course, this means we do run out of things, but it also means everything we serve is fresh.’
So, for those readers looking for good food with a side of old-south charm, The Front Porch Caf’ is just the place.
The Front Porch Caf’ will be open for Thanksgiving and will offer a special brunch menu. Reservations are required. To make reservations for Thanksgiving or for more information about menu items or catering, call (615) 896-6771.