Andy Marshall with Nashville Business Journal

Winner, Winner: NBJ’s “Best in Business!” [WOW]

by Claire Marshall Crowell
Director of Operations of A. Marshall Family Foods Inc.
Raised by the Fork

This past week we experienced an incredibly proud moment for our family business. We were one of the finalists in the Nashville Business Journal’s Best in Business Awards, in the 101-500 employees category, and attended the awards luncheon with some of our key employees on Thursday.

I want to first remark how amazing it is to me to be included at all; secondly, that we are now in the 101-500 employees category. Puckett’s started over 15 years ago with no more than 10 employees. In the last five years, that number has grown from about 50 to well over 300. It’s astounding to think about.

As we watched the videos for all the finalists, we were so impressed by the diversity and achievements of our colleagues…. But when they called A. Marshall Family Foods Inc. as the winner of the 2015 Best in Business Award, I nearly fell out of my seat.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of my father and what our business has accomplished these past few years. Even more than that though, I am so excited for what’s ahead of us [more on that here and here].

Read Andy’s NBJ profile + Q&A here, or watch their videos about him below:

IMAG0277

The A. Marshall team, ready to celebrate!

About Claire Marshall Crowell

A Tennessee native, Claire grew up in the grocery and restaurant business: her father, Andy Marshall, owned a string of Piggly Wiggly stores before purchasing Puckett’s in Leiper’s Fork, Tenn., when she was 11 years old.

Today, Claire serves as the Director of Operations for A. Marshall Family Foods Inc. She helps manage operations of Puckett’s Gro. & Restaurant locations in downtown Franklin, downtown Nashville, downtown Columbia, and downtown Chattanooga (opening spring 2015); Puckett’s Boat House in downtown Franklin; Puckett’s Trolley, the brand’s mobile food venue; Homestead Manor in Thompson Station (opening spring 2015); and Puckett’s Events & Catering.

Claire is involved in various industry and community organizations, and recently launched her own lifestyle blog: Raised by the Fork, which offers a look inside the crazy world of A. Marshall Family Foods Inc., the hospitality industry, and life as a devoted and working mother. Follow along here!

And The Winner Is… (March Drink Of The Month)

The votes are in and the winner of the March drink of the month contest is the Irish Spring, concocted by the folks at Puckett’s Franklin (they’re three for three now, y’all!)

To make this lip-lickin’ libation, we take Jameson Irish Whiskey and mixed it with peach schnapps, orange juice and sweet ‘n sour for a classic taste. We all agree the Irish Spring’s the perfect cocktail to sip on while you thaw out from this dang winter that doesn’t seem to want to go away.

We’ve also already gotten a head start on polling for April’s drink of the month, so be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter pages to cast your vote now!

Irish Spring

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!

Hanger Steak at Puckett's

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