Located on the Granny White Pike side of Lipscomb University, Lana’s Copper Kettle Cafe is a an old-fashioned meat-and-three and catering business tucked away from Green Hills’ bustling business district.
Upon entering the restaurant, you’ll be greeted with a dose of Southern hospitality established in 2002 by founder Lana Robb, who died of breast cancer in 2016.
Manager Tim Thomes considers himself a loyal student of Robb and says after 20 years in the corporate world, he’s thankful she took a chance on him and taught him the ropes of the restaurant business. Copper Kettle, open six days a week including Sunday brunch, recently welcomed new chef Laura Ewen.
Q&A with manager Tim Thomes
You mentioned being a meat-and-three with a twist. What does that mean?
“Traditional meat-and-threes don’t have the kind of menu we have, where one person can order meat and vegetables and the other can order a goat cheese salad. We want to have something for everyone while staying true to fresh, Southern-style food.”
Even in the South, not everyone is familiar with a meat-and-three concept. How do you explain the menu to new customers?
The greatest thing about Copper Kettle, other than the food, is having a good sense of knowing who is new to the restaurant. We like to engage with customers right away, so if I don’t recognize the face, I like to ask, ‘Have you ever been to a meat-and-three?’ From there, it’s a natural conversation of what’s popular on the menu.”
Do you keep the menu pretty consistent or do you ever add new items?
“We look at the menu every couple years to see if it needs changing, but there are a few items that I dare say we’d ever get rid of. Our coconut chicken, meatloaf and pot roast are some of those items. People also love our banana pudding.”