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Jason McConnell grew up on a cattle farm, which means he loves a good steak. And while diners get a glimpse of that on his menu at Franklin’s Red Pony, with Cork and Cow, which opened in late October, he’s bringing true meat and potatoes to town with his signature local approach.
McConnell was one of the first in Williamson County to spearhead the “independently owned” movement, so it’s no surprise that he’s the first to introduce a non-chain steak joint to Main Street. “Honestly the steak options were limited down here,” he says, admitting, “When I wanted a steak, I generally ended up cooking it at home.”
Though he’s not yet sourcing all of his meats locally, the goal is in place to consistently supply more and more options straight from farms around Tennessee. And, McConnell is also amped up about both the craft cocktails as well as his interpretations on the classic steakhouse sides. There are four different potato dishes (try the salt crusted baked) as well as lima beans, Brussels sprouts, and Itlaina-style spinach, most of which is sourced from local farms.
Jason McConnell has distinct favorites when it comes to what to order at his new Cork & Cow. Start out with the fantastic dry-aged New York Strip, the shrimp and scallop gnocchi or the Lobster fra Diavolo, made to an old-school Italian perfection. For the side, go with the mac and cheese or the bacon-rich Brussels sprouts. Save room for dessert, and try the individual ice cream cakes. Order an Italian wine from the huge, weekly changing wine list. Know that you don’t have to take everything too seriously, in spite of the white tablecloths.
Cork and Cow, 403 W. Main St., Franklin (615) 538-6021; corkandcow.com.