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The Honeysuckle in Franklin

The Honeysuckle introduces a brasserie-like experience to Franklin.

Written By:  Erin Byers Murray

Photographers:  Ron Manville

It’s rare for a perfectly well-performing restaurant to shutter when things are running smoothly. But that’s exactly what restaurateur Kelly Black did when he closed his Cool Springs location of Pie in the Sky—the revamp, called The Honeysuckle, opened in the spot near Cool Springs Galleria in August.

In addition to updating the space into a casually upscale destination, Black provided something you can’t find anywhere else in Franklin: a progressive Southern restaurant focusing on both dry-aged steaks and a stellar oyster bar. The vibe is Tennessee brasserie, with reclaimed wood, exposed beams, tufted leather banquettes, and a mirror behind the bar, plus a marble-countered oyster bar where the daily selection of bivalves is set out on an ice-covered display.

Chef Josh Weekley (formerly at 360 Bistro) mans the kitchen and provides a selection for all types, from couples looking to sear their own ahi tuna over a 700-degree salt stone to die-hard foodies who will appreciate his pristine seafood. Weekley is originally from South Florida and an avid fisherman, which is how he’s developed strong ties with seafood suppliers from all coasts—oysters come from both the East and West while Peekytoe crab from a supplier in Maine often arrives with hand-harvested seaweed.

Wherever you fall in the diner spectrum, aim to start with the charcuterie and cheese plate, which hopefully includes the country ham made from Mangalitsa pigs or Tasso supplied by Cochon Butcher. Crab cakes packed loosely with that Peekytoe are a good follow-up, as are oysters on the half shell. For those who prefer their shellfish cooked, the Oysters Vanderbilt is loaded with more of that Tasso ham as well as a barbecue-flavored hollandaise and goat cheese.

Weekley is proud of his dry-aged Angus, which according to the menu is aged for 21 days. You can order it in the form of a fillet, steak frites, or cowboy-style rib eye for two. There are also comforting takes on classics, like the chicken fried chicken and wild mushroom meatloaf. If you’re lucky, Weekley will have just gotten a delivery of a whole West Coast halibut, which might find its way onto the specials menu.

Though so many of the dishes are hard to resist, don’t skip dessert by pastry chef Ashley Jent, who used to work at Mason’s—the Elvis tarte tatin is her fun play on the crooner’s favorite dessert featuring caramelized bananas and a bacon-peanut brittle. It’s a killer ending to a refreshing meal and concept for those who either want to stick close to home—or venture out of Nashville for a destination-worthy meal.

1770 Galleria Blvd., Franklin, 615-771-2111; thehoneysuckle.com

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