March 27, 2009
Copper Kettle expands to
SoBro second location
and Lana Robb are the magic duo behind the Copper Kettle
as well as its new sibling in SoBro.
The Green Hills Copper Kettle has evolved — within
only seven years — into a Nashville institution, a
down-home yet subtly urbane eatery that combines buttered
corn and vegetarian wraps with a small yet inviting
The recently opened SoBro version of this “stylish
meat ‘n’ three” yearns to become its own institution,
with a radically different feel and vibe compared to
its diminutive Granny White Pike-based sister.
Copper Kettle Café & Catering owners Lana and
Jon Robb know the task will be challenging. Still,
the Robbs are as excited about growing their business,
located at 94 Peabody Place and overlooking the Nashville
skyline, as their customers are about feasting on the
Kettle’s scrumptious jalapeno cheese grits and signature
“Green Hills and SoBro are more alike than I expected
them to be,” Lana said. “I was wondering if we would
have the faithful regular customers like we do in Green
To date, Lana’s wondering has been answered.
“There are several people who live in this area as
it builds and who are so excited to see us here,” she
Since opening in early November 2008, “C-Kettle No.
2” has gained a solid customer base, the Robbs said.
Given its building (perhaps best known for short-lived
bars more so than former stalwart tenant Sole Mio)
and its specific hours (Copper Kettle closes at 8 p.m.
Mondays through Fridays, is not open on Saturdays,
and serves only brunch on Sundays), that support is
all the more impressive.
“Without a doubt, lunch numbers are the best,” Lana
said. “We have watched a steady increase from the moment
we opened until now. When we first opened, everyone
was eating our core meat and three options such as
fried chicken, pot roast and meatloaf. The trend has
broadened, and now our customers have discovered our
signature salads and sandwiches as well.”
Due to its early evening closing time, the Copper
Kettle is not a late-night haunt like either Sole Mio
or Hermitage Café, both located nearby. However, the
Robbs said dinner take-out numbers are growing and
the restaurant is now offering songwriters nights on
Thursdays and Fridays.
“We were open in Green Hills on Saturdays in the beginning
and also downtown,” Lana said. “[Saturday] has always
proved to be our slowest day of the week. People sometimes
think we are crazy [for the days and hours], but honestly,
we have three beautiful children that are more important
to us than being open seven days a week. If we feel
there is a high demand down the road and that our support
staff can give us time with our family, we may consider
it again. For now, we are content being open six days.”
As are Copper Kettle customers.
On a recent Wednesday, this writer visited the Kettle
at 1:30 to find a respectable late-lunch crowd. A robust
meal of tasty stir-fried vegetables, green bean casserole,
herb-roasted potatoes, fried okra and sweet potatoes
with almonds and marshmallow bordered on stupendous.
For regulars, standout menu items include the ahi
tuna wrap, goat cheese salad and coconut encrusted
chicken, Lana said.
Rivaling the food is the Copper Kettle vibe, which
melds seemingly incongruous contemporary and rustic
colors and elements in an effective manner. The Robbs
bought the building and land on which it sits, and
hired general contractor Superior Inc. for the rough
“The place needed a facelift, and we decided to take
the plunge and give it one,” Jon said.
Artists Veta Cicolello and Theo Antoniadis (the owners
of Ovvio Arte and friends of the Robbs) skillfully
oversaw both the interior and exterior design. Step
inside and one realizes you’re not about to dine in
a typical meat ‘n’ three.
“Theo made all of the tables by hand, and Veta came
up with the design,” Lana said. “The structure to this
building has so much character and we just wanted to
accent that. It was also very important to keep the
restaurant comfortable and warm. Our Granny White store
is so cramped yet cozy, and we did not want to lose
that [charming feel]. We also needed to keep in mind
that we are downtown and wanted to put a little urban
twist to it. I told Veta that I liked yellows and greens
and she went with it.”
Indeed Cicolello did, as the yellows and greens (used
mainly on the tables and walls) pop off silver chairs,
black ceiling fans and dark brown exposed beams. An
eye-catching circular lighting fixture dominates the
center of the dining space, with one of the city’s
most artsy wall menus adding a flavorful design touch.
The Robbs are excited about establishing a SoBro presence,
but remain emotionally attached to their Granny White
eatery, not surprising given that quirky space suffered
fire damage in 2004 (forcing the Robbs to temporarily
serve their greens and rolls from the Bellevue Center).
“Green Hills is our baby, and it is tucked into one
of the great neighborhoods of Nashville,” Jon said.
With the SoBro Kettle, the Robbs may have just have
added a younger sibling for that baby.
The Copper Kettle Cafe & Catering
94 Peabody St.
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
October 27, 2005
Best of Nashville - Food & Drink
- Writers' Choices : Copper Kettle
By KAY WEST
BEST MALL RESTAURANT: COPPER KETTLE
Can good food happen in a bad mall? Bypass what is
left of the food court in what is left of Bellevue
Center and head straight to the Copper Kettle, which
opened this spring in the corner location where Ruby
Tuesday fed, faltered and failed. The original Kettle
on Granny White Pike went up in flames last Christmas,
and while looking for a place to use as a catering
kitchen during reconstruction, the owners created
a neighborhood restaurant in an area of town that
is arguably bereft of either one. Bellevuans have
embraced their Copper Kettle since the start—particularly
the renowned Sunday brunch—and if co-owner/operators
Lana Robb and Sean Begin intend to close it down
once the Granny White store rises from the ashes,
they’d better be prepared for a dining room
October 7-13, 2004
Best Brunch: Copper Kettle
By LACEY GALBRAITH
As they say about a lot of pleasures, this one is
sinful. A fancier-than-most meat-and-three known for
its weekday lunches, the Copper Kettle on Granny White
serves a Sunday brunch that is unadulterated coma-inducing
no-two-ways-about-it gluttony. Other restaurants may
be larger and more elaborate, but for a place that's
relatively small and only two years old, the spread
is gorgeous—perhaps the most divine buffet in
Nashville. It also draws a line out the door well before
church services have ended.
Though the menu changes weekly, you can generally
count on owner-chefs Lana Robb and Sean Begin for eggs
Benedict, omelets to order, cheese biscuits, and three
types of Belgian waffles (including my eternal favorite,
chocolate chip). The spread also includes smoked salmon,
a carving station, endless trays of fruits and cheeses,
and several different cakes and pies for dessert. It's
all so gastronomically intimidating that I can't help
but recall my father's eloquent words: "This meal
has just about done me in." Ah, but what a way
Back to Top
Copper Kettle's Sunday Brunch
By MARIE ULLRICH
Before heading to the Copper Kettle for Sunday brunch,
you'll want to decide whether you're sticking to your
diet or blowing it entirely.
The temptations are many ó breakfast pastries
and mini-éclairs ambush you right at the beginning
of the buffet line, and a full array of desserts assaults
you at the end. Between these two sugar zones is a
self-serve spread that is arranged as artfully as a
masterful still-life painting. On a recent Sunday the
offerings included Brie en croute, bagels and lox,
strawberry salad with fried goat cheese, breakfast
pastries and more. Grapes, melon, squash and lettuce
fill out the menu ó and the platters ó to
a staggering fullness.
Then, just when you think you've conquered the buffet,
the hot items come into view. The menu changes, but
on a recent visit we encountered gorgonzola-stuffed
ravioli with grilled chicken, eggs benedict, bacon,
biscuits with gravy, potatoes and a carving station
serving prime rib and ham. Omelets and waffles are
always available and made-to-order.
Between three of us we managed to try just about everything
but dessert, and we were all three very happy. Our
Belgian waffle was crisp on the outside and tender
inside, topped with a generous dollop of whipped cream
and sliced strawberries. The dizzying scent of waffles
hung in the air and kept our appetites going strong.
The strawberry salad's dressing was light and tasty,
a delightful accompaniment to the warm Brie en croute.
The ravioli were perfectly chewy, topped with walnuts
and flavorful chicken. It was an impressive sight to
see such a large piece of lox on display. It was fresh
and sweet, with capers and cream cheese to round out
the bagel experience. The eggs benedict were a little
unusual, served on a croissant instead of an English
muffin, but they were wonderful. The Hollandaise sauce
was not too salty or tangy. It was perfectly creamy,
and the eggs themselves were hot and still the tiniest
bit moist inside.
The décor at Copper Kettle is sort of a mixed
bag. Round mirrors and citrusy green walls are sophisticated
and pleasant, but white latticework, rubbery tablecloths
and water served in plastic cups detract somewhat from
the charm. Seating is cozy but comfortable. An autograph
wall suggests that you may run into Pam Tillis, Clint
Black, Jo Dee Messina or Alison Krauss while you're
Fourteen dollars covers everything on the brunch menu,
including a beverage of your choice. That's a little
pricey for my own wallet, but as a special treat (or
when the parents are in town to foot the tab) it's
a pleasant alternative. The staff is cheerful and friendly,
chatting with regulars and ready to prepare that waffle
for you at the wave of your little finger. It's a great
place to bring friends from out of town, to linger
over coffee and, okay, dessert!
Those mini-éclairs are perfect little miniatures
that you don't have to feel (too) guilty about. At
least not if you can stop yourself at having just one.
Back to Top
September 13, 2002
By THAYER WINE Staff Writer
For a new place that is slammed at lunchtime, Copper
Kettle Cafe & Catering on Granny White Pike serves
extraordinary hot and cold dishes with friendly efficiency.
One of the owners, Jill Begin, refers to it as a meat-and-three,
serving a choice of meat and three vegetables for a
single price, but this place is way more than that.
Students pop in to study with a cup of cappuccino
in the afternoon, after crowds of neighborhood people
already have come and gone on their lunch hour. Getting
in and out in a reasonable time is not a problem here.
The steam table with hot vegetables changes daily,
if you get that far. Behind it is a huge wall board
listing sandwiches, salads and wraps you don't usually
find in a meat-and-three. When was the last time you
had a big salad with baby greens, fresh fruits, nuts,
special cheese and an unusual dressing at an old-fashioned,
This summery salad may not be there all the time,
according to Begin, as it is likely to be replaced
with seasonal variations. But for now, at least, it
is one of the most popular. The extra-fresh, bright
greens hardly needed embellishment, but with the shiny,
red strawberries and bright, orangey-yellow mangoes
it was ready for a photo. Add to that pecans, dried
cranberries, a generous chunk of lightly warmed goat
cheese and the unique maple-mustard vinaigrette and
this salad is way over the top of special.
The caramelized onion on the roast beef sandwich gave
it a pleasing, sweet accent, while the turkey-and-dressing
wrap was more like Thanksgiving dinner wrapped in a
tortilla. The chicken salad flavored with tarragon
was a big hit, too.
We did stop at the hot foods on the steam table, and
while we waited for the sandwiches and salads, we dug
into foods that tasted like good ol' Southern cooking — almost.
The chicken was a boneless, skinless chicken breast
with a little coconut in the crispy, golden coating.
I loved the non-greasy white beans with tomatoes and
onions, and the lush, fresh summer squash and zucchini
seasoned with a little smoked pork or bacon.
''This is the taste I grew up on,'' one friend said
of the green bean casserole.
Owners Begin and her husband, chef Sean Begin, and
Lana and Jonny Robb decided to keep some of the meat-and-three
items on the menu because they had been so successful
at the former Green Hills Meat Market at that location.
Sean Begin and Lana Robb worked together at the Bound'ry's
catering company, Big Guns, before opening the Copper
Go for: The strawberry-mango salad or the white beans.
Back to the drawing board: The brownies — too
Atmosphere: Cozy and casual.
Service: A little confusing until you figure out whether
you want hot food or a cold sandwich, otherwise helpful.
Copper Kettle Cafe & Catering:
LOCATION: 4004 Granny White Pike. 383-7242.
COST: Meat with three vegetables is $6.75, sandwiches
and salads are $5.50-$6.75. Sunday brunch with beverage
HOURS: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, brunch 10 a.m.-2
OTHER INFORMATION: Seats 56. No reservations accepted.
Ask for the Frequent Diner Card — buy 12 meals
and get one free. Catering available. You also can
buy prime beef, cooked or uncooked, with or without
side dishes to take home for supper. No alcoholic beverages
sold. No smoking. Barrier-free access. Accepts American
Express, MasterCard and Visa.
Food writer Thayer Wine is The Tennessean's restaurant
critic. She can be reached at 726-8995 or email@example.com.
Reviews are written from anonymous visits to restaurants.
Negative reviews are based on two or more visits. The
Tennessean pays for all meals.
Back to Top
Copper Kettle gets cookin’ fast
By ANDRE A LEE FANTA
A familiar spot on Granny White Pike has something
old and now, several things new since two restaurateurs
brought their own style to the area.
In July, Lana Robb and Sean Begin began renting what
was The Green Hills Meat Market, turning it into The
Copper Kettle, a short six days later.
“It all happened so fast,” Robb said. “We
knew we could pull it off, but we were just tired.”
Customers of The Copper Kettle can choose from a menu
offering traditional meat-and-three favorites and newer
items, such as a mango and spiced pecan salad. Diners
are warming to the concept, Robb said.
“This is a really nice neighborhood here. People
were very welcoming,” she said.
In the five weeks they’ve been open, Robb and
Begin have seen a 20 percent increase in sales each
week, she said.
The facility, open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. each weekday,
seats 60 people. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sundays a buffet
Robb and Begin, who bring a combined 35 years of experience
to the table, are also continuing their catering work
through the location.
“I’ve worked in the restaurant business
a long time, and Sean is consistently the best chef
I’ve worked with,” Robb said. He makes
all recipes and sauces from scratch. Robb takes care
of the restaurant’s managerial duties. Six employees
staff The Copper Kettle.
While expansion is a future possibility, Robb said
she and Begin are “just happy with what we’ve
Before its sale, businesswoman Karen McDevitt owned
The Green Hills Meat Market for 18 months. She now
owns a Nashville public relations firm, McDevitt and
Associates Media Relations, which opened a year ago.
Back to Top
Spring springs eternal at
the Copper Kettle
By DANNY SOLOMON
Everybody loves a snow johnson.
And even though all of us here at The City Paper do
our best to maintain a modicum of professionalism as
we drill through daily deadlines and scour the city
for scintillating news, we just have to stop every
once in awhile and giggle like schoolchildren at the
frozen phallic symbol in our pond.
Even passersby, their driving game faces on and Safety
Sue hands at ten and two on the steering wheel, slow,
stop, point and return with their cameras to shoot
the icy shaft, statuesque and still except for the
spray of water spouting out the top.
If you’ll forgive the phrase, it’s a natural
ice breaker — Mother Nature’s way of saying, “I
know winter sucks, but if you keep smiling and hang
on a little while longer, we’ll all be back in
tank tops soon deciding which restaurant has the best
And for the first time since I outgrew my Superslider
red sled and blue snowsuit, I’m learning that
the key to embracing winter is to keep a little summer
burning in your heart.
Now let’s not kid each other, I’ve spent
my fair share of quality time with my blanket warmer
since the temperature dipped beneath 70, but I haven’t
given my stomach over to the season. In years past,
I’ve switched from salads and sushi to pizza
and potato anything as soon as there was frost on the
pumpkin. It’s hard not to do when most restaurants
put out fall/winter menus that lean hard and heavy
on lard and gravy. This year I’m trying to be
better about it because, among other reasons, Target’s
already got bikinis out and I want the one with the
monkeys on it.
The best place to let the voices in your head and
stomach duke it out is the Copper Kettle at 4004 Granny
White Pike. Previously Green Hills Meat Market, husband
and wife team Lana and John Robb and Chef Sean Begin
have taken over this cute little dinner, lunch and
bruncheonette to offer all the things you crave when
it’s warm — plus a modified meat and three
line to cure the winter woes.
Lana Robb and Chef Sean crossed the Bound’ry
where Robb was in charge of the third floor Phoenix
room and Chef Sean was the catering chef. Though they’ve
never owned a restaurant, both have vast restaurant
experience and wanted a place to use as a springboard
for their catering business which encompasses boxed
lunches, hors d’ouevres, carving stations, display
stations, specialty stations, themed events, weddings
and formal dinners. Now their catering and sit down/carry
out ratio is almost 50/50.
Located directly across from David Lipscomb, Robb
sees a fair amount of faculty and students but the
majority of their business comes from lunchers trying
to avoid Hillsboro Road traffic. “We completely
changed the menu but kept it standard café style
so that people could get in and get out quick,” she
While some might want to dine and dash, I couldn’t
help but linger over the coconut encrusted goat cheese
cake salad ($6.50). When I was fork deep in the mesclun
greens, sliced pears and spiced pecans drenched in
the sherbert-like sundried cranberry vinaigrette, it
could have been 7 degrees or 70 for all I knew. Don’t
even get me started on the big ball of goat cheese
coated in coconut. The memory of the smooth cheese
balanced out by the sweet coconut is too fresh. I saved
the pecan encrusted cheddar cake salad ($5.50) with
the maple mustard vinaigrette for another day.
Far be it from me to say no to more cheese, but I
could justify the double cheesing by balancing it out
with vegetables in the marinated grilled veggie wrap
($6.50). A two-handed meal for sure, spicy pimento
cheese holds the good stuff together along with lettuce,
tomatoes and sprouts in a chipotle tortilla.
Round about Thanksgiving I discovered the Copper Kettle’s
turkey and dressing wrap ($6.50), and though I’ve
tried many times to recreate it at home, I can’t
quite get it right. It’s all the reasons you
bear being with your family — turkey and hearty
scoops of dressing with cranberry mayonnaise rolled
tight in a spinach casing.
Pick up a fresh turkey sandwich with cheddar, bacon,
sprouts and avocado mayo on maple wheat bread ($6.50)
and pretend like you’re taking it and a book
to the park. Can’t fool yourself? Then grab the
Monte Cristo — full of turkey, ham and Swiss
and fried — and eat it by the light of your Duraflame
All the sandwiches and wraps come with French fries,
chips, pasta salad with parmesan and marinated veggies
or the best picnic potato salad imaginable.
Sometimes, no matter how strong you are, your demons
cannot be quieted. You can sit in your can and tell
yourself you’re going to have the Caesar salad
with grilled chicken ($6.50), then walk in the door
and fall victim to the scent of the steam table. You
are not alone.
But you do have options. Now don’t get your
pan-fried panties in a wad, but the Copper Kettle might
offer you coconut chicken with a pineapple mango chutney
as your meat option. Then again, there’s also
fried chicken on Mondays, meat loaf on Tuesday, and
the famous fish fry Fridays to soothe your butter-slathered
Anyone who puts out meat and three knows that they’re
judged almost solely on their macaroni and cheese — and
Copper Kettle is a blue ribbon winner with their white
cheddar concoction. Second runner up is the smashed
potatoes filled with tomatoes and lots of great spices.
If there has to be winter, dark days, dormancy and
bone-chilling wind that makes you wonder why you shaved
your legs, you can at least fool your stomach into
thinking that it’s summer with a salad or a shaved
turkey sandwich. Then again, sometimes the great gods
of green bean casserole require a sacrifice. Either
way, the Copper Kettle can help.
Back to Top