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- This time on Tennessee Crossroads, we dig into some barbecue and soul food in Smyrna, we'll meet a Leiper's Fork artist who delivers a message of hope, we'll travel to a '50s-style diner in Hendersonville, and explore Falls Mill in Belvidere. That's our lineup for this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. I'm Joe Elmore, thanks for joining us. Around here, when Tennessee barbecue calls, we listen. And recently, we heard some good things about a mom-and pop place in Smyrna called Kinfolks. So we went there and found the owner smoking everything from brisket to bologna. Well, throw in some soul food sides, and you got the makings of a quin-Q-sential meal, get it? - [Jerry] This is my passion. I love to cook. I can go 24 hours. I love to see the smiles on people's faces. - [Joe] Jerry Britton follows his passion every day and many nights outside of his barbecue restaurant in Smyrna. - [Jerry] Right now, I got on some brisket, I got some pork chop, I got some wings on, and I got on some pork. - [Joe] It's almost like a well-orchestrated dance, as he nurtures his smoking meats, moving about his four separate grills. - [Jerry] I need two more. - [Joe] Jerry's been cooking all of his life, and always dreamed of running a restaurant. But to master the art of smoking barbecue, he knew what he was in for. - It was a hard, long, drawn out process. But I had some mentors as I was comin', and I took a little bit from each of them. And then, I just got out and did it on my own, I messed up a lot of stuff, and I messed up a lot of stuff. Burnt up stuff, and then you just sit back, you take a step back and see what you had did wrong at that point, and I adjusted. And, this is where I'm at now. - [Joe] In 2013, Jerry and wife Scharneitha were ready to make the plunge. Opening their own place called Kinfolks, here on Hazelwood Drive. Chances are, you'll smell the smoke before you see the building. The dining room is small, clean, and cozy, and above all else, friendly. - [Scharneitha] I've always loved customers, I've always liked people, I've always liked talking to people. There's just something I always do, no two days are the same here. - [Joe] What would you say is your job description? - I actually do mostly the desserts. I may go out and get maybe something that he may need, in the back part or that they need, something like that, the truck don't bring it or what have you. But for the most part, wherever I need to fit in is where I get in. - [Joe] The barbecue plates are big customer favorites but choosing the main attraction can be difficult. Should it be pulled pork? Or what about their popular brisket? A Texas specialty many Tennessee chefs avoid. - It's very challenging, especially the tenderness or getting the look with the ring in the middle. But with his determination and hard work, he was definitely gonna get it, and he got it. - [Joe] Still can't make up your mind? Well, how about a sampler plate with one of everything? Including chicken, ribs, and even a hefty pork chop. Naturally, you can get a sandwich, so why not one of Jerry's special barbecue bologna sandwiches? A thick slice that's grilled with cheese, before adding the mustard, pickles, and onion. To complement the barbecue, all the sides are made from scratch. Like the old fashioned, hand cut spuds, white beans, and this soul food favorite, homemade collard greens. - [Jerry] We do a corn bread that everybody likes. Back in the day, they called it hoecakes. - [Joe] Many customers are loyal regulars, like Danny Brewer, who owns a nearby auto repair shop. - It's real food, it's not something where they open a can, and heat and eat. It's nothing like that. It's the real stuff, and he's the real guy. And his wife, the whole crew, they all care, and they give a doggone, and they wanna give people good stuff. It's a fantastic place. - [Joe] Just about every time I visit a popular barbecue place for a story, I have to ask the same question. Knowing I won't get a straight answer. Do you have your own sauce recipe? - Yes. - And that's it? - Yes. - [Joe] Oh, almost forgot to ask, how did they come up with the name Kinfolks? - I don't remember people's names good. I can remember your face, I just can't remember name. So, I just call everybody kinfolks. - [Joe] Well, the Brittons have found their barbecue calling, making customers happy with their restaurant fare. Jerry has some serious, sound advice for anyone who wants the same type of success. - It's not just to say I got a business. You have to wanna do it, you gotta have the hunger for it, you gotta have your heart, the passion, and it's a 24 hour, seven day job. - [Joe] Jerry and Scharneitha don't mind the hours, and even the hard work because they love what they do. Fixing first rate barbecue, and savory soul food. - Hi, welcome to Kinfolks. - And above all, treating everybody who comes in like, well, Kinfolks. - I want 'em to feel like they got treated as our family. I want 'em to feel like we went, we exceeded expectations to make them welcome. - Few things have the power to affect us the way art and literature can. Images and words can inspire greatness, cause despair or bring us joy. Recently, Ed Jones met a Leiper's Fork artist who combines images, and the written word to bring about a sense of peace in the viewer. Here's the story of David Arms. - If had to sum up my work in one word, it'd be hope. People just, they're hungry for it, they're longing for it, I just think that something deep down, there's that strong desire for. - [Ed] Hope springs eternal from the artwork of David Arms. Arriving a bit late to the world of painting, the native East Tennessean made up for lost time. And now, uses his talents to share positivity with a world sorely lacking it. But success didn't happen overnight. As a matter of fact, his first work was less about finding peace, and more of a way-- - To decorate the house, honestly. That one didn't have, to me, a whole lot of inspiration. It was years down the road, I started being inspired by the things I loved, and things that meant something to me. - [Ed] You can find many things close to David's heart in and around his gallery, in the picturesque hamlet of Leiper's Fork. - Well, nature's a big, big inspiration. I've loved nature since I was a kid, and still to this day, I just, I'm in awe of it. There are a couple of birds I use for a specific reason. And one is a hummingbird, you see those a lot. And, I see those as just perpetual motion. But then the first time I ever saw one, live on a limb, I remember it so clearly. I'd never seen a still hummingbird. And it was shocking, because I thought, wow, that is us, we almost don't know what to do when we stop. And then, another one is, I use the bobwhite quail a lot, you'll see it on the outside of the gallery. It's almost a logo for me now, but it's just a sentimental bird. My dad raised bird dogs, and we trained them to point quail, and so, they were a part of life, you heard quail all the time where I was from. I look at them, and use them as us. As humans, and our busyness, and taking care of home, building home, watching them, I do see us. And so, really, the scenarios I create in the paintings are reflecting us. - [Ed] Many of David's works combine his love of nature with his love of the written word. - Sometimes I'll use a single word just to promote thought. One word can stimulate all different thoughts in people. Even in short form, they can really stimulate someone's thought, because it's where they are in life of how they're going to receive a word. One that you'll see is simply, "Be still and know." And, it's been amazing to me that that is the thing that resonates with people the most. Until I really think it through, and I think it's the thing people long for. Yeah, they really do wish for that but in this busyness, it's hard to make that happen. - [Ed] For David, escaping the busyness of modern life is as simple as visiting his gallery. A barn, resting where it was originally constructed more than a century ago. - I'd shown in galleries in numerous states for years, but I always wanted the chance to do it the way I wanted to do it. It wouldn't be a conventional gallery. And then I got a call about this barn being renovated, and I knew when I walked in the door, it was me. And it was questionable whether this would make it through a renovation, and then magic started happening. And it truly is a little piece of heaven. - [Ed] David's son-in-law, Blake, manages the gallery, which has become a reflection of the artist himself. - We're humbled by this and most people kind of call it a sanctuary, it's just a place where people can hopefully relax from the stress of every day life which is intentional but it's just always humbling to know and see that people actually experience that. He's always thinking of new things to create, other than just artwork but things created from his artwork. It's kind of become this, what we consider, our lifestyle brand. There's the sign on the gallery that, under David Arms reads, "Art, Style, Living," those three words kind of sum up the brand as a whole. A lot of people consider it kind of a sanctuary. - I want it to be liked, instead of walking into a sterile gallery, that when you walk in that door, it's like walking into my living room. I just want people to be, if they want to. Come sit in the chairs, and just take in nature. Sit by the fire, we have fires going when the weather allows it. But yeah, it's all about feeling more like home than a gallery. - Leiper's Fork is just a unique place. We talk about it often, there's not a lot of places like this left in the country with this unique charm, and eclectic. I mean, we're only 30, 35 minutes from Nashville, depending on traffic but it feels like you're in a completely different world. - We just wanna be something that offers a bright spot, a healing spot, whatever, for people that just need it. We don't have to know why they need it or anything, it's just, we just feel like that's part of our mission, our calling here is to provide it. And if we can just be that moment to breathe in a day, if they walk in this door down, discouraged or just overwhelmed by turning on the news, that there can be something to bring a sense of peace and definitely leave them with a sense of hope. Then I would feel like I've done all that I wanted to do. - Thanks, Ed. Next, we travel to a Hendersonville restaurant that has its roots in the diner craze of the 1950s. Remember Arnold's Diner on Happy Days? Well, you probably won't run into the Fonz at the Music City Diner, but according to Cindy Carter, when it comes to good food, they get an A plus. - [Cindy] The Music City Diner's daily playlist certainly does sizzle. The sites and sounds inside this Hendersonville restaurant bring to mind that iconic American diner image. And yet, Music City Diner, like many diners dotting the American landscape, is also a thriving symbol of the American Dream. - We love to meet new people, we love the customers, we love to host people. That's part of the Greek culture. When you go, it's so warm and welcoming, and it fits really well in the south. - [Cindy] Jimmy Adamopoulos loves talking about his diner, his menu, and his customers. - It's part of the history, the family history, so to speak, and I'm proud to be carrying that on. - [Cindy] A family history that originated in Greece, but shifted to North America in 1970. That's when Jimmy's father, Dimitrios, decided to start a new life. - It was an adventure. - [Cindy] The then 17-year-old Dimitrios moved to Canada but settled in the U.S. just a few weeks later. He spoke no English but quickly found work at a Cookeville pizza joint and things just started to click. - Our background wasn't really in the restaurant business but when we got here, we'd seen this guy was doing good, he was successful, so I said, "Hey, why not me?" - We'll get something good going here. - [Cindy] And like his dad, Jimmy did grow up in the restaurant business. The family owned two establishments featuring Greek cuisine. So when it was Jimmy's time to start his adventure, he stuck with his roots, sort of. - [Jimmy] That was the idea, if I can go to culinary school, I can be involved in the family business as well, and then maybe bring something a little different, go a different concept or a different idea. - [Cindy] Right here is where the Adamopoulos American dream and the classic American diner collide. - [Jimmy] Between 1900, 1920, there was about 300,000 Greek immigrants that came to the United States. It was the biggest population that moved during that time. - [Cindy] Many of those early 20th century Greek immigrants often found work in restaurants, which coincided with the growing success of American diners. By mid-century, diner owners, exhausted from the 24/7 pace, started retiring. And it was often their Greek employees who stepped up to buy them out. - [Jimmy] Greeks, we're known for the hospitality, that sort of thing, so it was kind of the right fit for him. - [Cindy] Since its opening in 2016, Music City Diner has proven to be a good fit for Jimmy and his family, a true mom-and-pop operation. - My mom's here, she works, we're partners at this restaurant, my brother works with me full-time, I've got a younger brother who's in college, and when he comes back, he works. - This is the oldest. - Something Music City Diner customers really appreciate is the fact that the restaurant serves breakfast all day long. Now, in addition to staples, such as bacon and eggs, the menu also features items such as baklava pancakes, and yes, it is a family recipe. - Let me know if I can get you anything else, okay. - Thank you. - You're welcome. - [Cindy] The relatively small diner fills up quickly as the regulars roll in. They're drawn by the food, the coffee, the company, and the family. - You can tell it's family-run and they're all working together. - Okay, I'll have it right up. - And we need an extra plate too. - Gotcha. - I'm a school teacher, so during the school year, I don't cook a lot. And I don't wanna go through fast food all the time, so, I would say, I mean, probably at least once a week. Once or twice a week. - Garden omelet, Swiss, no peppers. - [Cindy] This bustling business is the Adamopoulos family's most successful venture, since Jimmy's dad struck out on his own so many years ago. - We're passionate about it, it's something we do, it's part of the heritage, it's a lifestyle, so, it's what we love to do. - [Cindy] Perhaps Music City Diner is a hit because it stays true to that iconic American diner format. Good food, good value, a sense of community with a side of Greek culture. - Thanks a lot, Cindy. Just about everywhere you go in Tennessee, you're walking on historic ground. Now, there's some places you can see and actually experience a bit of what it might have been like in the past. One of the most beautiful of those places is in Belvidere. John and Jane Lovett keep a working example of some cool early technology. Rob Wilds is gonna take us there. - Who doesn't like dipping their feet in a brisk stream, huh? And the sound, the sound of running water, that's delightful right there. The people who came to this spot in Belvidere in the mid 1800s, they probably enjoyed the same things but that sound of water running meant something else to them. It was a sound of industry and progress and a better way to do an important thing. And so, they built a mill here and it's still in operation today. - It's a 32-foot waterwheel, and it operates all the machinery in the mill. It was converted to a grain mill in the late 1960s and we still mill grain products today by power from the waterwheel. - [Rob] John Lovett and wife Jane are the owners of Falls Mill which was first built as a cotton mill and woolen factory back in 1873. It's still a working mill, though its purpose has changed. - [John] We grind about 30,000 pounds a month and it's mostly white corn for grits, that's our biggest selling item. And we ship those to about 170 restaurants all over the United States, we also ship to some distributors, and then a lot of individuals that order from us. - [Rob] Why do you suppose people want the grain that you, does it taste different? - Well, we think it does, when it's milled fresh like that, and the stone burr milling process is a slicing rhythm, then a crushing process. So the nutritionists think that it retains more of the nutrient value when it's milled that way, so there's, as you know, a movement now, back to natural products and local products, and I think that's catching on, a lot of people are looking now more to stone-ground products. So, even some of the larger milling companies now are converting to going back to stone milling. - [Rob] One of John's duties, along with being one of the owners, is to try to keep the machinery running, which he really loves doing. You see, he's an engineer by training, and so, he has a great respect for the inventors who figured out how to harness the water. - When you look at some of the machinery we have in there, particularly the woolen machinery that we're restoring, it's unbelievable really how much genius went into the design and the thought into patenting those types of machines. And for that period, say between 1860s and '80s, when most of those were made, the amount of ingenuity is just unbelievable. - People are so clever. - Yes, they are. And we don't give those, back in that time period, enough credit, I think, for their genius. - [Rob] If you're gonna run a mill, you need a miller, right? And Falls Mill has a good one. William Janey, who started working in mills in 1964. He's still going strong and happy to pass along what he knows. - As time goes on, and you see a lot of the people that I can remember in the early years, my milling, passing on, I miss people like that, and stories of then going the mill and it's beginning to mean a little more to me. - [Rob] Especially when these kids come through. I bet they were fascinated by all this stuff. - [William] Oh, yeah, they teach a lot of children about green energy, and this is hands-on here. They can come here. Kind of a way of captivating their attention out there at the waterwheel and I think that's real important. I love the children to see this sort of thing. - Cool. - Hey, another waterfall. - [Rob] Kids come by the hundreds, on school trips, like these, from Heritage Elementary in Birmingham and on family vacations. - It's beautiful! - [Rob] To take in the scenery, to splash in the creek, along the way, learning, a little about long ago life. Not just seeing, but experiencing. Which they all seem to love to do. - [Teacher] You wanna help me upstairs too? Okay. - Me too! - Can I be the second one? - [Rob] On the second floor of the mill, John and Jane have put in the Museum of Power and Industry. - Drop it in, Matthew. - I saw one of those at a party. - All right, let's see how it works. See the paper's turning. We really feel like we're stewards of an historic site and to allow young people who have no concept of where all this comes from and for them to see the power transmission for the first time, it's really exciting. They'll start with the video that tells about the history, but with the guided tour, we talk about the early history with textiles, and the cotton gin, and the woodworking shop. And then we demonstrate the corn milling, and they get excited with the sound of the machinery and the grain. And then when they come out to see the waterwheel, it's like, wow, they love it, absolutely love it. And they should feel good, like you're doing something, and you're helping to instruct future generations to preserve something that's really worthwhile. - [Rob] Definitely worth your while to pay a visit, to experience the beauty and the ingenuity, both in abundance at Falls Mill in Belvidere. - Thanks, Rob, and thank you folks for joining us the past half hour. Hope you had a good time. And I hope you take time to visit our website, TennesseeCrossroads.org, follow us on Facebook and we'll see you next time.
November 21, 2019
Season 33 | Episode 19
This week on Tennessee Crossroads, visit Kinfolks BBQ in Smyrna. Meet a Nashville artist with a message of hope. Discover a historic mill in Belvidere that's still in operation. And dig into Americana with a Greek flair at the Music City Diner. Brought to you by Nashville Public Television!