Snaking your way through the slick, tree-lined Highway 96 on a snowy winter Franklin evening isn’t for the faint of heart — especially without the reassurance of a trusty pair of snow tires. But soon, the glow of Southall Farm & Inn’s greenhouses pops into view. In minutes, you’ll be warmly enveloped by January, Southall’s new restaurant, which opens this Wednesday, January 24, at 2200 Osage Loop down in Franklin.
For the uninitiated, Southall is both a resort and a working farm, with a lake, an expansive apiary with four million working bees, and acres of greenhouses, orchards, and gardens — all of which are used in the snacks, meals, and drinks served throughout the space. That also holds true for January, where executive chef Andrew Klamar pulls from the seasonal bounty around the resort to inform his menu.
But Klamar, who formerly worked alongside chef Sean Brock at Charleston’s McCrady’s and then at the Capitol Grille in Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel, is telling a different story at January along with chef Nate Leonard. Unlike the Southern-focused fare at Sojourner, the hotel’s more casual all-day eatery, the dishes here are subtly influenced by more international techniques and ingredients, evidenced in plates like the hiramasa crudo and beet escabeche with pickled dates and goat feta.
While the focal point of the dining room could seemingly be the glass windows overlooking the sprawling farmlands beyond the resort, it’s actually the open kitchen on the room’s opposite side, where a marble table allows the staff to plate each dish before it hits the four-tops arranged throughout the high-ceilinged room. The space, wrapped in gray paneling and white-washed wood ceilings, brings the outside in with the help of botanical illustrations by local artist Richard Bowers and the occasional potted plant.
The menu is organized in three sections — small, medium, and large plates — kicking off with Parker House rolls served alongside whipped butter that’s been blended with honey pulled from Southall’s apiary (another departure from Sojourner, which focuses on sourdough). The duck, one of the large dishes on the menu, is dry-aged for two weeks and served in two parts: breast and confit, with blueberry preserves and sunchoke as accompaniments. But there’s also arctic char and a coppa steak (pork shoulder) that’s been brined for two weeks before it’s slow-cooked for 24 hours.
For sweets, there’s a strong nod to Southern favorites that have a slightly elevated twist, like a chess pie subtly spritzed with “walnut essence” (a liquified aromatic of tree nut) at your table and an artfully presented hummingbird cake.
Cocktails make use of some of the goods produced on the farm, like the Apiary with gin, lemon, lavender simple, honey, and bee pollen; and the Galloper with dark rum, spiced pear, apple, and both Southall and orange bitters. The nonalcoholic Orchard also uses the farm’s apples along with ginger beer and lemon. A tightly curated wine list of reds, whites, and fortified late-harvest reds rounds out the drink selections.
January will be open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. Reservations can be made via OpenTable.