NourishWise Q&A: Decoding Health

On Monday, March 2, Puckett’s is proud to be partnering with NourishWise–a Nashville-based startup that aims to offer diners online nutrition data from participating restaurants. Basically, their dietitians remove the guesswork from local eateries’ menus and help diners choose the healthiest options when outside the home.

We asked founder Jason Denenberg–and lead Dietitian Nan Allison MS, RD, LDN–to answer a few Q&As for us, so that we could get a handle on what it means to choose healthier items when dining. Read on to find out the single best question to ask your server, decoder words, and his favorite at-home recipes.

Pssst: don’t forget to sign up for NourishWise here to get the Puckett’s edition in your mailbox on March 2!

http://nourishwise.com/

We know NourishWise is all about not having to decode your food, but what are some keywords you should generally look for on menus when you’re wanting to choose the healthier option?  
Lean, baked, broiled, roasted, steamed, poached, low-fat, grilled, broth-based (soups), tomato-based sauce, reduced-fat and fresh.   

Beyond that, you must ask questions about how something is prepared, for example: Is the primavera mostly pasta with flecks of vegetables or does it have about half of the ingredients as vegetables? I wish there were keywords that would indicate that you are getting a balanced meal; Oftentimes, using the terms mentioned above in conjunction with “platter” or “plate” or “meat-and-three,” will get you closer.

If you’re feeling particularly healthy on any given day, what is the single best question to ask your server?
Can you double the vegetable serving?

Why does NourishWise include the total fat, carbs and protein numbers? Some people think it’s the calories that we should pay attention to–what would you say to them?
NourishWise aims to help you identify nutritionally dense meals. We don’t necessarily count calories or chase diets. More specifically to your question, calories are not an indicator of overall nutritional value. You could have a 500 calorie sandwich and it could be all white bread, tomatoes and mayonnaise, or you could have a 500 calorie sandwich from whole grain bread, lean roast beef, a slice of cheddar, light mayo, tomato, pickles, onions and low-fat slaw; or a whole wheat pasta dish with lean chicken, tomatoes onions and snap peas, sautéed in a small amount of olive oil and topped with Parmesan. Also, we know that people are more likely to be satisfied for longer with a balance of the calories from whole grain, fruit and/or vegetable, adequate protein and fat. They are less likely to over eat a meal like this, and they are also more likely to do less snacking later.

It’s no secret we love BBQ here at Puckett’s–what are a couple options when ordering the meat ‘n’ three to keep the calorie count down?
Order the BBQ Chicken, Hanger Steak or Pulled Pork BBQ with smashed sweet potatoes and any two of the following sides: Cole Slaw, Green Beans, Steamed Vegetables–or a Side Salad with 1/2 the amount of dressing.

Is there are particular wine, cocktail or other beverage that you doesn’t make a huge impact on your calorie count or sugar intake?
Almost any average pour of wine or beer  or regular (non-diet) soda or juice will provide about 100-150 calories. Most cocktails without juices or syrups added will provide about 100 -150 calories. The best option is to have a juice or wine mixed with club soda or sparkling water or one shot of a cocktail mixed with dilute fruit juice and splash of lemon or lime. Of course, you can mix cocktails with diet sodas and diet tonic.

Are gluten-free options better for everyone–even those who don’t have a wheat allergy?
No. However, there may be some people who are sensitive, but not have a classic allergy, to wheat or proteins in wheat and other gluten-containing grains who may benefit from opting for gluten free carbohydrate foods. These individuals will know this because they will generally feel better when they do not eat products with wheat or high in gluten. Genetic testing and food sensitivity testing is now available to individuals to help determine who would best be served by avoiding wheat.

When cooking at home, what is your favorite substitute for a high-caloric ingredient?
In lieu of Alfredo sauce, use low-fat cottage cheese blended with Mrs. Dash or McCormick’s fat-free seasoning. I may blend in a bit of reduced-fat sour cream depending on the texture. I also use this for dips and spreads or potato topping.

Personally, what is your favorite meal to make at home?
Dreamfield’s–lower carb–(or other) pasta tossed with oodles of stir fry vegetables, lean meat or chicken or shrimp or ham and my own ginger peanut lime sauce, finished with topped with chopped peanuts and cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime. It takes about 15 minutes to assemble if I have all the ingredients prepped and the sauce made.

In winter, I like to make a white bean and spinach soup with a little bit of chicken or vegetarian sausage…maybe a few carrots and a good grainy cornbread.

 

And there you have it, folks! Advice from the experts. We hope to see y’all orderin’ up some of their recommended goodness soon!

American Idol viewing party - Puckett's

American Idol Viewing Party: Let’s Help These Two Win!

If you’ve ever experienced Puckett’s, then you know all about the live pickin’ performances that take place just a few feet from your table. Music is just as much engrained in our culture as the cooking… you can’t separate the music from the menu here. And you know, it never ceases to amaze us the talent that climbs up on our stage and wows the Puckett’s crowds each night.

That’s why we’re glowin’ with pride–but certainly not surprised–that not one, but TWO hometown vocalists from Maury County have advanced to the Top 24 of American Idol XIV! A big ole congratulations to SARINA-JOI CROWE of Columbia, TN and to RILEY BRIA of Spring Hill, TN. This is big news y’all. Middle Tennessee is clearly the creative hub of the country–but we already knew that.

To encourage these local singer-songwriters and support them as they continue their journey (after all, that’s what we do best!), Puckett’s Columbia has put together two special viewing parties this week to rally the community and push our people to the top. Y’all join at the Columbia restaurant on Wednesday, Feb. 25 and Thursday, Feb. 26 for themed cocktails and appetizers, and a lively viewing party of American Idol! The doors will open at 6 p.m., and the show begins at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Top 12 guys (that’s Riley!) will take the stage for the very first time in hopes of winning over viewers– who will then vote for the first time this season. On Thursday, the Top 12 girls (that’s Sarina-Joi!) will do the same. Whether they advance depends on the public and their votes!

We’re projecting the rounds on a big screen both evenings, and will be encouraging guests to get out those phones to tweet + text in their votes for these two! Plus, we’ve invited the families of each contestant and will be sure to give them VIP seating.

So let’s do this y’all: let’s get together, eat together, watch and vote together…. and see one of ‘em win the dang thing!  Call (931) 490-4550 RIGHT NOW to reserve your seat for Wednesday and Thursday! #PuckettsLove #IdolTop24

“Mercy Mondays” at the Boat House

If you’ve ever been to the Boat House, then you know it’s pretty hard to miss the thousands of dollar bills pinned to the ceiling. Restaurant guests come from all over to share a meal with us, and to add their personal stamp to our decor by writing across ‘ole George Washington’s face! We love looking at them, and imagining the stories behind each.

But this year, we’re trying something a little different….

At the end of 2015, every dollar that’s pinned to our ceiling will be donated to Mercy Community Healthcare, a local organization whose mission is to reflect the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by providing excellent healthcare to all and support to their families. Every dollar donated will be stamped, and at year’s end… we’ll start counting!

Plus, we’ll be matching each and every dollar (up to $2,500 that is) pinned to the ceiling on “Mercy Monday”––which we’ve dubbed the third Monday of every month! And to sweeten the deal? Those who donate $3 on Mercy Monday will receive dessert for just $1.

“A dolla’ makes us holla!” has a whole new meaning now, y’all. Help us give back to the folks in our community!

To learn more about Mercy and its ministry, go to www.mercycommunityhealthcare.org. To learn more about Puckett’s Boat House, go to www.puckettsboathouse.com.

Mercy Dollars

Tom Zazzetti, new general manager for Puckett's Franklin

Meet Tom (& Get Inside Scoop on Chicago!)

The Puckett’s family is grinning from ear to ear about our newest member–we’re proud to announce the new general manager at Puckett’s Franklin is…. (drum roll please)…. Tom Zazzetti!!

Tom hails from Chicago–and similar to our Director of Operations Claire Marshall Crowell, he grew up in the business, helping his dad run their family-owned restaurant at a young age. Tom has more than three decades of managerial experience, and we know he’ll fit like a glove in our Historic Downtown Franklin community.

To help you get to know him better, we enlisted a short Q&A from him. Read on to learn his insider’s tips to the dining scene in the Windy City, and more!

Pssstt: if you’re wondering, longtime Franklin GM Max Stephenson is running our Puckett’s Chattanooga location. More on that here!

Q: Tom, where did you move to Williamson County from? What did you do there?   
I moved from Chicago, Illinois! I was born and raised in Joliet, IL, and have been in the restaurant business all my life, working for family-owned businesses like Puckett’s.
Q: How long have you worked in the industry? 
I’ve spent 31 years in management. I started helping my Dad when I was real young in his restaurant.
Q: What’s your favorite part about working in a restaurant?
Customer satisfaction is my number one with me; I love interacting with them too.
Q: What was your first impression of downtown Franklin and the community?
How friendly, outgoing and caring the people are.
Q: What do you like best about the Puckett’s family?
Everyone treats each other like family. There is a certain bond here.
Q: What’s your favorite dish at Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant?
I can’t choose just one! But if I had to narrow it down to two, I’d say the Redneck Burrito and Country Fried Steak.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to make in your own kitchen?
I enjoy spending time with my own father making my Grandma Nonis’ homemade Spaghetti sauce. I’d share the recipe, but it’s too long!
Q: Tell us your three favorite restaurants in Chicago:
  1. Gino’s East (Chicago Deep Dish Pizza)
  2. Merichka’s (in Crest Hill, Illinois’ home of the world-famous poorboy sandwich!)
  3. Gibsons (THE Steakhouse in Chicago)
Q: Franklin loves Chicago (and Chicago loves downtown Franklin)! Can you give us an insider’s tip?
There’s nothing more amazing than walking The Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago in the summer–or during the holidays with all the lights.
Q: What’s one thing people don’t know about you?
I used to run a restaurant and sports bar in Joliet, IL, for former Chicago Bear players–and Superbowl Champions!–Tom Thayer and Mike Tomczak.
To learn more about Tom, read the Chattanoogan story here.
The Magnificent Mile in Chicago, IL

The Magnificent Mile in Chicago, IL

What’s Your Sauce Say? [VIDEO]

Did you know that our own Andy Marshall and crew came up with Puckett’s famous BBQ sauces? We took our time getting these just right, and we think they turned out pretty darn good!

We believe that your barbecue tells us a little somethin’ about you… take a listen to Chattanooga GM Max Stephenson explain our in-house concoctions:

 

ORIGINAL
Not too thick, not too spicy, with a good balance of smoke and flavor to complement pulled pork, ribs and chicken cooked slow and low for hours. This is Memphis-style BBQ sauce, sweet with no heat. It goes well with any of our dishes, from mac n’ cheese to sweet potato fries. For a little more kick, try our Spicy version!
SPICY
Not too thin, not too sweet, with a good balance of smoke and flavor to complement pulled pork, ribs and chicken cooked slow and low for hours. Our Spicy BBQ sauce is a little bolder than the Original, more Kansas City than Memphis. It’s not what you’d call hot, but if you like things with some kick, then this is it!