The Block, which opened in 2015, joins a fine group of local restaurants that stand out from the assortment of fast-food chains in Murfreesboro.
The Broad Street restaurant has a vision of revolutionizing Murfreesboro’s idea of food altogether. As the only restaurant in town with the Real Epicurean Agricultural Leadership (REAL) certification, a program of the United States Healthful Food Council, every meal crafted in the eatery’s kitchen is chock-full of farm-fresh food. The Block’s menu lists Middle Tennessee farms Batey Farms, Rocky Glade, Double Star Bar Farm, Triple A Farms and Head Family Farm as ingredient sources. And this summer, the restaurant even grew its own small garden in the lot neighboring the restaurant.
In order to maintain the qualifications of the REAL certification, participating restaurants must source foods from high-quality area locations, provide nutritional dining options and lead in the community by enabling wiser choices for food. The Block beautifully accomplishes it all. With a vast array of delicious and wholesome dishes which are all created using 80 percent local food, The Block rotates its menu seasonally, setting a high bar that could influence Murfreesboro’s culinary community in the best possible ways.
On a recent visit, I sampled three delightful dishes from the restaurant’s summer menu: blackened chicken, chicken and sausage gumbo, and stuffed poblano peppers, all of which seem to have gone over well with diners and will be hanging around on the fall menu.
The chicken, expertly spiced and grilled, was topped with a mango-peach relish and surrounded in a bed of rice. Fresh, nutritious and teeming with flavor, this dish will definitely be one of my top choices when I return. The meat was crispy but not dry or tough, and the rice was simple, buttery and delightful, but, to be quite honest, my favorite feature of this dish was the mango-peach relish. The sweet accent atop the blackened, savory meat was exquisite.
The gumbo was straightforward and not incredibly rich in flavor, but tasty nonetheless. With chicken, sausage, rice and assorted veggies swimming in a broth-like tomato base, this Southern classic is bound to fill local tummies.
The stuffed peppers dish features two whole poblano peppers roasted and beautifully stuffed with rice, sun-dried tomatoes and cream cheese and topped with a spicy, creamy drizzle to make for a rich and memorable experience. What delighted me most about this dish was the stuffing of the peppers. The cream cheese soothed most of the spice from the pepper, and the sun-dried tomatoes nicely accented the flavor of the dish.
The Block also serves some great burgers, and patrons can look for various daily specials, such as four tacos for $9 during lunchtime on Tuesdays.
Coming on the fall menu will be some premium mac-and-cheese dishes like Philly cheesesteak mac-and-cheese with bits of sirloin steak and sauteed peppers and onions, and “Danksgiving” mac-and-cheese, loaded with pieces of smoked turkey and cranberries.
Farm-to-table dining is growing in popularity, but what makes the people at The Block so special is their affinity for community. From becoming one of the most popular music venues in town to hosting local art to starting a community garden, The Block is doing wonderful things to ensure that Murfreesboro remains a loving, supportive, creative community as it continues to grow. That is why The Block deserves your visit. Not only is the food both local and scrumptious, but when you eat at their table you support a group of people who want to improve their community. I know I will be returning frequently to The Block and am excited to see what’s in store for the fantastic eatery.
123 SE Broad St.
Tues.–Sat., 10 a.m.–2 p.m., 5 p.m.–2 a.m.; Sun., 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Blackened Chicken: $13, Stuffed Peppers: $11, Gumbo $4/7, Murfreesburger (with white cheddar and bacon) with one side: $10.50