By Anna Robertson Ham
There are a few places that come to mind when someone thinks of traditional, good, home cooking. Just like the name, Barbara’s Home Cookin’ has been one of those top places of Williamson County, and specifically Franklin, for years. Family owned and operated, Barbara’s Home Cookin’ sits just off Old Hillsboro Road in the Grassland area of Franklin. The eatery began in 1997 by Barbara Thomas, who loved to cook and prided herself on her home-style, southern recipes that were all loved by the community. When she decided it was time to retire, she didn’t have to look far, as the person she trusted to take over the business was someone who had worked with her for years.
Brenton Wright began working at Barbara’s at the age of fourteen, washing dishes and eventually became manager of the restaurant. Throughout the years, Barbara taught Brenton her cooking methods and beloved recipes which stemmed his passion for cooking. In 2017, after asking Brenton if he would like to purchase the restaurant from her many times, the torch was finally passed along and Brenton became the new owner of Barbara’s Home Cookin’. Luckily for all of the loyal customers, Brenton loved an appreciated what was already so special about the eatery and kept the integrity and trademark of southern, home-cooked meals the focus.
Brenton runs the business with his mother Odette, grandmother Norma, and his aunt Giselle. They are all from South Africa, so bring with them a wonderful accent! Brenton has been in the states since he was nine, so he doesn’t have the same accent but when they are all together you can tell they are family by their bond and humorous attitudes. Along with the family, Valerie is another familiar face that has been with Barbara’s since it started and is the dessert queen... Creating all of the delectable pies, cakes and goodies.
My visit at Barbara’s was nothing short of warm and welcoming - and delicious! I tried some of their menu staples and didn’t want to leave as I was having such a wonderful time chatting with the family!
First, I tried the Chicken Tenders, which are created with special seasonings and deep fried and served with your choice of honey mustard, ranch or BBQ sauce. Step aside, fried chicken, because there is a new winner in town! These tenders were amazing! The all white meat, perfectly fried tenders had a flavorful spice that made them anything but bland. Accompanying them were mashed potatoes with gravy and mac and cheese, which all tasted like how grandma makes them.
Next, I had the Roast Beef which is slow roasted and fork tender. This was some of the tastiest and most tender roast beef I have ever had. It was my favorite during the tasting. Served with it were creamed corn and turnip greens. You couldn’t beat the savory and sweet combination of the pairings.
After that, I tried the Lamb with Mint Aioli served with cucumber tomato salad and field peas. This was another great savory and sweet combination dish. The homemade mint aioli that goes with the lamb was absolutely mouthwatering. Odette said they even have a customer who wanted to purchase a batch of it because she loved it so much!
Of course, alongside the dishes are the yeast rolls which are well-known from Barbara’s. Perfectly fluffy and taste like they were just pulled from the oven, these rolls cannot be beat. And, I finished off the tastings with a slice of strawberry cake... Oh my goodness! The cake was served warm with made from scratch icing and real strawberries. There are no cans in this cooking. It is all homemade and prepared with the same love and passion as a family meal.
If you want to experience a warm welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere, along with a home-cooked meal that satisfies that southern meat and three craving, then Barbara’s Home Cookin’ is the place for you. Some things don’t need all of the frills, because the food speaks for itself.