If you live in Brentwood, you might have noticed we have lost some popular neighborhood haunts – three that come to mind off the top of my head.
They were spots reminiscent of the phrase “where everybody knows your name,” made famous by the 80s TV show “Cheers.”
The most recent would be Murff’s, a great little sports bar/restaurant on Harpeth Drive, a street on which I have seldom found myself other than to go to Murff’s or to a dental appointment.
(Longtime Brentwoodians will remember Phillip’s Deli, which for many years occupied the building that Murff’s took over. As I recall, like Murff’s, Philip’s was locally owned and was a great lunch spot. I recall a killer pasta salad).
I was able to find an old Home Page story about the opening of Murff’s. Best I can tell, it opened in the spring of 2015, although I would have guessed earlier than that. At my age, the years run together. Knowledgeable readers are welcome to correct me.
Officially named “Murff’s Craft Brews and Burgers,” its owner capitalized on the popularity of craft beer, of which Murff’s did, in fact, have a great selection, with names of seasonal rotations written on a blackboard. I’m not much of a burger guy, but my wife was a fan of theirs. I had a strong fondness for their barbecue sliders and we both loved their fries.
But Murff’s is no more. The building has been torn down, as I learned only a few days ago when I went to have my teeth cleaned. In fact, my dentist, Dr. Rick Sullivan, has a new building under construction on the site where Murff’s, and Phllip’s before it, formerly stood.
Obviously, I had not been on that street, or to Murff’s, in a while (since the beginning of the pandemic, I seldom darken the door of a restaurant other than to pick up takeout), so I was a bit taken aback. According to my hygienist, the building was razed in October.
Going back much longer in time than Murff’s is Cross Corner, once located in the shopping center that’s now the home of popular restaurants like Brick’s, Peter’s and City Café. Cross Corner was affectionately nicknamed “Brentwood’s Living Room” – a comforting spot for scores of Williamson County parents to conduct post-mortems on middle or high school sporting events, as well as a decent place for a reasonably priced family meal.
I went there only a handful of times, one of the most significant being to meet former Home Page editor Susan Leathers, as well as a former staffer whose name escapes me, to discuss my column. Susan had summoned me for the meeting and I just knew it was for the purpose of telling me she was going in a different direction with the column gig. I thought she was going to let me down easy over a beer.
I was relieved when she picked up the tab, but also affirmed me in my column writing (while adding a few welcome suggestions.)
Cross Corner has been gone a few years, and as I recall, it closed rather abruptly. For a while there was a sign on the door indicating it would eventually reopen, but a more upscale restaurant, Ludlow and Prime, took over the space and appears to be doing well.
I’m sure, however, Cross Corner loyalists still mourn its demise.
The closing that made me saddest is Stout Burgers and Beers, which was on the ground floor of the Tapestry Apartments building just a few steps from Cross Corner’s former location.
I am guessing it opened three to four years ago (again, please enlighten me if you have better information), and I quickly became a big fan.
That’s mainly because of a sandwich called the “Low and Slow,” consisting of a ground chicken patty smothered in a tangy (but not too spicy) barbecue sauce and topped with crispy onions – on a piping hot bun, of course. It was at least a five-napkin sandwich and, to use the most tired of all possible clichés, it was to die for.
Stout also had the best tater tots I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. I don’t know if it was the seasoning or level of crispiness, but they were delicious. Their rotating beer selection was also top-notch.
Stout appears to be a chain out of California, with a website listing five locations in that state, and I don’t know how one ended up in Brentwood. Although it closed at the beginning of the pandemic, there were indications of some problems prior to that, so we might have lost it anyway.
I know I miss it, and if I ever see another one – in California or anywhere else – I’ll be sure to go in and order a Low and Slow.
Nobody knew my name at any of these spots, and I don’t know that I made much of a contribution to their bottom line, but I hope some new similar ones might spring up when the pandemic is behind us. We need these comfortable places that feel like home but allow us to get out the house.
I suspect that’s something we will all be wanting to do soon.
Bob McKinney is a longtime Brentwood resident, happy husband and proud father, father-in-law and grandfather. Email him at [email protected].