Although Big Spoon's parents have been very proactive with planning the rehearsal dinner they so generously offered to pay for, they are at a disadvantage because they live in Colorado. With so much time to plan, we were more than happy to help plan rehearsal dinner. So on Saturday, Big Spoon and I took a drive out to Hartsville, TN to visit Tully's Bistro and discuss having our rehearsal dinner there.
Backtracking for a moment, I'd like to discuss why we did not opt to have rehearsal dinner a mere block away from our venue at Monell's.
After some discussion at Christmas about the limited restaurant choices in Gallatin, Big Spoon's mom contacted Monell's. They have a location just a few blocks down the street from Rose Mont Mansion. Now, I'm sure their food is great- they have a great reputation- BUT they require a 25 person minimum for a rehearsal dinner. I simply do not understand this. We aren't asking for special treatment, we just want to make a reservation. We could show up unannounced with 20 people and they wouldn't refuse to seat us because we have less than 25, so why demand that we have 25 for a rehearsal dinner? It would be much worse on their staff if we just showed up, right? (That's rhetorical, I waited tables and I know the answer is YES!)
Additionally, they wanted to charge $25 a person for this event. WTH? Seriously? It's southern cooking severed family style. What reason would they possibly have to charge us $25 per person for something I know my mom makes better. Just to put it in perspective, the amount of money Monell's wanted for the minimum pp requirement is 35% of our budgeted reception food/bev cost.
Now, back to the venue we DID choose ....
I probably would have not known about Tully’s Bistro if we hadn’t been watching Tennessee Crossroads on PBS one Sunday morning. They did a feature on Chef Tully and it got me really interested. Not only is it 20 minutes away from our venue, it’s also 20 minutes away from where I grew up. I love to see good things like this happen to small towns, and trust me, Hartsville is a very small town. Tully’s Bistro is located in a beautiful historical home in the main part of the town, which is in keeping with our “historical home” wedding. You can read all about Chef Tully’s education, food and events at the restaurant website.
Our appointment was at 10am and although the chef had forgotten our appointment and was heading toward Nashville, he postponed his meeting and came to talk to us. He was patient and we didn’t feel as though he was trying to rush through.
We had never been there before, so we let him lead us through the menu design. We decided on a of shoulder cut, glazed tenderloin with caramelized apples and spices, a chicken option, fresh vegetable mix, assorted breads and mini desserts and non-alcoholic drinks. We will have our rehearsal dinner in the upstairs portion of the restaurant.
Grand total: $15 per person. A 20 minute drive equals better food, better communication and willingness to compromise, better price.
Chef Tully treated us to a wonderful lunch, printed us a quote before we left and sent us on our way feeling really good about this decision. We talked to Big Spoon's parents about it later on that day and they seemed excited about it as well. We are looking forward to receiving the contract info this week so we can lock in our date.