Jefferson’s

Restaurants are often the place where we make our fondest memories. Its where we break bread, raise our glasses, laugh, cry, and even sing. Pictures, merchandise, and most of all memories all blend in the melting pot that our eateries and bars provide.

It’s the same for HHH here. When The Missus and I first met, we were about to celebrate my 50th birthday, and she asked some of my closest friends where I might like to be treated to.

The answer was Jefferson’s located on 1916 E Main St, Murfreesboro, TN.

It was my favorite spot. I took my sons there when we would meet for dinner. I met my best friend there every Monday night. Its one of the first places The Missus and I ever ate together.

Slowly, over the next two years, the service, cleanliness, and quality of the food began to deteriorate. Finally, they hit the third strike in a row with me and I sadly called it quits for this once hidden gem.

However, I always keep a candle lit in the window on my “second chance” list. It might take a while, but I always revisit a place for that second chance. Staff changes, managers/owners change, menus change. These things can sometimes bring redemption. When I go back and they do not, that’s when they move to the “last chance” list and one day far down the road I may go back.

Jefferson’s had languished on the second chance list long enough. A colleague of mine had told me things had turned for the better. That was a couple of months ago, so I made the turn into the parking lot just past Sir Pizza and before Slick Pig to see where things had gone. Here’s what I found:

First Impression:

Nothing has really changed here in two years. The front part of the parking lot only has a few spots and the asphalt here is not in the best repair. Cigarette butts and small pieces of trash litter the front of the building. Other parking is in the rear of the building and most of it pretty far from the entrances. There is a handicap ramp at the front of the building, but I don’t actually recall seeing any handicap spots. We walked past an open storeroom on the outside of the kitchen, and debris and equipment littered the ground.

Atmosphere:

This is one of my favorite aspects in the past. I remember back in the early 80’s when this was a small dive bar I used to frequent, made out of an old house. There’s a lot of that nostalgia still in place. Dollar bills decorated by guests adorn the walls, ceilings, and other surfaces like monetized wall paper. An old fireplace provides ambiance in two rooms, and the abundance of old wood and tile completes the scene. Instead of one large room, seating takes place like it would in grandma’s house on Thanksgiving…a little bit of everyone spread across every room in the house.

Service:

The service was adequate. Neither stellar nor terrible. The Missus never got a drink refill or offer of one. I have to say, there is just nothing memorable about the experience either good or bad.

Food:

I’ve been taking a look at burgers of late, so we decided this night would be in tune with that. I had remembered the burgers here being awesome and I felt I could not go wrong here.

I had eaten very little this day, and I decided to treat myself with a double burger. The bun would be a bit of a challenge for me, but my blood sugar had been very low that day so I felt I could have it and be ok. The tricky part? Sweet potato fries for a side is something as a diabetic I am still trying to figure out. Sweet potatoes are diabetic friendly, but it depends on how you cook them. I decided to try them, and asked if there was no sugar on them. They came with a side of maple sugar sauce which I did NOT partake of! The burger itself was hot and juicy, with a fair amount of cheese and the LTO garden was crisp and fresh. All in all, a pretty good burger. Not my favorite, but pretty good.

The Missus ordered the Fried Pickle Burger. Its just what you think it is, a burger with their fried pickles loaded on top and a ranch dressing sauce. This sounded like a great burger and I guess it wasn’t bad. However, The Missus said the end result was the moisture from the burger took the crisp out of the fried pickles and it ended up just being a burger with a LOT of extra pickles.

Cleanliness:

This is one of the things that drove me away previously. The interior is not too bad off. A few pieces of food under tables here and there. The outside continues to evidence a lack of attention. The patio was set to be used (yes, in January because…Tennessee) but was full of leaves, trash, and other debris. Cigarette butts, straw wrappers and the like were not difficult to come across.

Final Thoughts:

Did it go down the hole to the “last chance” list? I don’t think so. Did it move up to the frequent visit list? Nope. It did not. Jefferson’s has neither gained nor lost ground. It just kind of chugs along being adequate. I would not think to myself “ugh” if someone I was with wanted to go here. However, unless I hear of something different happening there than what is currently the status quo I won’t drop in again for quite some time.

3 out of 5 peace signs.

I was going to give two, but decided to give them the extra star for old time’s sake.

After all, I did turn 50 there.

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As always…make lunch, not war!