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- This time on Tennessee Crossroads we discover why coffee lovers head to Joelton for their morning cup of joe. Then visit a Goodlettsville meat and three mecca. In Clarksville we'll discover how ancient tool-making never went out of style. And finally, explore a 19th century center of hospitality in Rogersville. That's the lineup for this Tennessee Crossroads. I'm Joe Elmore, sure glad to have ya. - Our first story is all about something that's pretty important to most of us. I mean, is there anything better than a great cup of coffee in the morning, or maybe anytime during the day. It seems that fancy coffees are all the rage now. Well, Miranda Cohen found a place in Joelton where one family is brewing up the perfect cup while keeping it simple and delicious. - For the Stacklebeck family it is just another day at the office. And as owner, Brandon Stacklebeck will tell you working at Beck's Farmhouse Coffee does have its share of perks. Lots of friendly faces the unmistakable aroma of freshly brewed coffee and a cozy inviting atmosphere. - Coffee is kind of a common ground for people. They come together, they talk it's intimate but it's also community. - Lots of people from Joelton, Tennessee will remember this trendy coffee house as the old general store. - He had this building out here that used to be an old market and just kind of brought it back to life. A lot of people have stopped by that remember it, and they remember bologna sandwiches and 22 bullets. - Once bullets and bologna, now it's all baristas and brewing. Beck's pours the finest coffee you can find. And though some of the flavors and blends maybe exotic, ordering is easy. - We tried to just take coffee and demystify it. We try to take all the pretense away. We're just regular people and we love coffee. And we think you know, everybody should have a great cup of coffee. - And if coffee is not your cup of tea Beck's has something for you too. - We have loose leaf teas. We have several black teas, green teas. There are some that don't drink coffee and we want to give them a great experience also. - You can also have this great experience right from your car. Beck's offers more of a coffee drive in. There is a smiling face there to greet you and you tell them exactly what you want. - They could come up and order from their cars. Get their order, it's transmitted to us in here. We'll make it and we'll run it back out to them. - There you are. - Whether it's lattes, espressos, frappe's, pressed, poured or whole beans ready to go home with you, just what is it that makes Beck's coffee so good. To find out, we have to go out back. Now as quaint and cozy as it is inside of Beck's coffee house, the real magic happens out here in this red barn where they have a 30 year old coffee roaster, where they roast every bean. - So when we get the beans in, we get these big burlap 150 pounds of coffee and it's green and it's in its raw state. It's already been processed. It's been dried to a certain percentage and I take that coffee and I put it in a roaster. We take it through a process of roasting it and adding gas, adding air, adding time to come up with a flavor profile that we want. - The secret to roasting the bean perfectly is constant movement at a high temperature. The beans will shed their outer layer and then are cooled quickly. The result is this beautiful, dark, rich aromatic gem. - What we've tried to do is not over-roast the coffee. Most of ours are in that middle range so we can bring out what the grower wanted. So we want to take it from that green state, roast it to it's, to where it's really blossoming. And then we want to bring it in expertly prepare it. - Beck's imports their delicate Arabica bean from high in the mountains of places like Guatemala, Somalia, Columbia, Ethiopia, and Jamaica, depending on where is yielding the finest crop. - We have a couple importers that we use. They take care of making sure that the growers use sustainable practices, that they pay well. There's a thing called fair trade. It's a natural product and a harvest from Guatemala this year is going to be different from the next year. And so it has to be hand cultivated. It has to be handpicked. They can't take machines up there. They help us in that process picking the best coffees that are available at that time. - So whether you prefer smooth and silky or fragrant and bold, Beck's will guide you to a custom made cup of perfectly prepared coffee. And the only thing Brandon Stacklebeck loves more than coffee, is his staff. Which includes his wife Tracy and their four children ranging in age from 12 to 21. - They're not pretentious. They are down-home and they are they're excellent. Love them, and I'm just thankful for them. They have my family here is kept us going, but more than that, I mean, I have the best job in the world because I get to see my family all the time, every day, and we're living life together. - And from the looks of the busy Beck's baristas the community is loving them too. - I love this space. It's got a great backstory. It's actually pretty fantastic and pretty inspiring. And I think they carry that same story into the vibe of the coffee shop. So it's a great place to come socialize. Maybe take a small dose of sanity. - My hopes for the future is just to be a good influence in this community. A place where people can come in and really get loved on. - Thanks Miranda. You know, it's no secret the meat and three concept was born here in the state of Tennessee, Nashville to be exact. But the surrounding towns have their own meat and three destinations too. Liz's Kitchen in Goodlettsville is well known to the town's people. Where it's fresh flavorful food a family atmosphere at affordable prices. A well kept secret well, not anymore. - Here you go babe. Thank you, George. Friendly, loving and full of laughter, and great food. - Hey, Mr. Royce. - That in a nutshell is how regular customers describe Liz's Kitchen. - You're welcome. Enjoy. - Just off Main Street in Goodlettsville. After opening in 2010, this place quickly became a breakfast and lunch destination for hungry locals. Part of the secret is owner Liz Darden herself. Her cooking talents have been well-known in this community for decades. - See everybody knows me because I have cooked for just about everybody in Goodlettsville anyway. I do a lot of catering, and when I worked at the First Baptist church see I've done all the Sunday school parties, Christmas parties and all that stuff. Birthday, weddings, all that stuff. So they really support me. - Liz's Kitchen is also a family business. - Almost party time Pop. - Which makes for a fun and effective operation. Bubba Darden is the main chef and mastermind of everything from hearty breakfast dishes to they're now legendary lunches. - He think he learned on his own, but he really learned from me. I'm the griller, really. - She's the boss. - He thinks he's the boss, but I'm really the boss. - Now Bubba's more a man of action than words, unlike Liz and daughter, Veronica. - I told him that I sing to you every day, when you come in. It's a blessing to be able to be here. My mom and dad is still here. They do all the cooking themselves. They're very bossy and demanding. - He told you not to sing. - I know, right? But it's a blessing to be working with them. - There you are. You welcome. - The family is also blessed with a legion of loyal customers. Most of which they know by name. - We have customers that come morning and lunch and then on Fridays we have customers that come morning, lunch and dinner. - Now the specials change daily. Today well, barbecue ribs and Bubba's special recipe for catfish. Some of the best in the mid South. - Well we make our own batter and season it up nice, and just try to make it taste good. - By 10:30, the lunchtime serving line is loaded with fresh seasoned vegetables, along with today's meat specials. Which today also includes hamburger steak. Now you can't order from a regular menu, but most folks go straight to the serving line. Where they're food and free serving a friendliness. - Enjoy. - Thank you. - You're welcome. - Our customers coming in and they're so kind and so pleasant. It gives us strength to keep going on. - Okay babe. Enjoy. Mr. Lewis is ninety-something years old, 97, and he comes here every day. Yes. - Once I get in here I'm okay. - All right. That's what we like to hear. - All is right with the world. - By noon, the place is humming with hungry customers. While the kitchen staff hustles to replenish supplies of fresh baked cornbread, fish filets, fried to perfection of course, and hush puppies. Oh, there's another family member at work in the kitchen. Dell is the Darden's grandson and quite the chef himself. - And he's here everyday with us. He's, if you ask my father who is the cook he would probably put him he's the second man in charge. Yeah. They don't give us women credit. - Speaking of employees, most of them have worked for Liz for many years, which says a lot about the workplace and its owners. - Well they say they love me And you know, and I'm good to them and they're good to me. And they love Bubba. - No bread, right baby? - The Darden's have a well earned reputation for their friendly service - Do you want me to sing some more? - Generous portions and their passion for creating consistently good food. As Liz calls it food or the soul. - When they leave here, they said they need a nap. - We don't let them leave hungry. That's one thing we don't do. We make sure they get plenty and to get their moneys worth. Yep. - If you come in and want something to eat ain't got no money, we will feed anybody. - Oh yeah, we ain't going to turn nobody down. - Hey honey, how are you. - It seems like technology is changing so quickly that well, we can't keep up with it all. But there's one essential tool we use almost every day and it hasn't changed at all since prehistoric times. Ken Wilshire met a couple in Clarksville who continue the art of crafting these ancient tools. - One of the first and most important tools humans ever chipped out of stone was a crude, sharp edge. From stone to steel, knives have been a part of our lives since prehistoric times. And this beautiful knife is a Boothill Blade. It's meticulously handcrafted here in Clarksville, Tennessee, and it's a blade itself. It's made from these old saw blades that used to slice through, or I should say knife through huge logs. And it was the need for a good sharp hunting knife years ago that has carved out a new career for Jared Thatcher. - I talked to my dad and I was kinda nervous. And so my dad said to me at some point you just have to step off the ledge, you know if that's what you want to do. And so that's what I did last year. And so far, it's been pretty rewarding. - Rewarding. Well, instead of a promising white collar career in finance he's cutting through heat sparks and dust to satisfy his no collar t-shirt passion for knife making. - So I started, I said, you know what I think I can make one. So I started watching YouTube videos, sort of looked into things and I ended up creating a forge out of our old Weber grill and hammering out and grinding. It's a terrible knife. I still have it, but my first knife. And then I just was like, I think I can do better. I think I can do better. So, you know, probably 20 grand worth of shop equipment later, I can make a $300 hunting knife. I should've just bought the knife in the first place probably. - Well, it may have been less than cutting edge technology that lit the fire to make knives but it's been his inspirational wife and partner Kylie, who's helping move this family venture forward. Kylie shapes the wood products. - That's how I've finished all the products. - But she also abandoned a good job as an office manager to keep the Boot Hill books in the black. - I run the business. I do all of the shipping. I do all of the packaging. I run the business aspect. We both do the emails and the contacts and things like that, but primarily I wanted him to be in charge of the knives and because that's the part. So he does that and I try to run everything else as smooth as possible. - And the words out about Kylie's beautiful handcrafted wooden kitchen utensils and Jared's culinary cutlery. Chefs from Australia to Sweden now have Boot Hill blades in their restaurants and homes. - You're not just buying a knife, you're buying like a story. And so, a lot of home cooks and a lot of chefs, mostly chefs by our knives but a lot of home cooks buy them too. Because when you're having that dinner party and you set out, you know, a board of something or a steak and you have this knife on there it's going to strike up a conversation. - Well, the conversation always seems to include the process that makes Boot Hill blades so, unique. - I cut out a rectangle from this and I will then forge it to shape. I grind it on the grinder, grind it to the final shape. Thermal cycle it in the oven to refine grain size and kind of distress the steel. I will heat treat it which involves heating it up to a critical temperature and then dunking it into Canola oil or a Park's 50 oil, something that's going to cool the steel very fast. The temperate in an oven, do all of the final grinds, put the handle on, and shape that handle. And once that handle is done that's pretty much it. I'll put our logo on and sharpen it and it's out the door. - But even more, recycling the old saw blades and files was Jared and Kylie's plan from the beginning. - We sort of built this business on that idea that we're using reclaimed materials. So I try to even use reclaimed materials in the handle. And so we want to stay true to what we created in the business. - By the way a warning to all the want-to-be knife makers, it's hazardous work, and not just for anyone. - I burn myself all the time, number one. I grind my fingernails off on the grinder a lot but the worst thing is actually forging. Like that just does a lot of damage and wear and tear on your shoulder and your elbow and all that. So, I try to stay in the gym a lot, and to get that strength, but it's also about technique. And so it took me a long time to figure out good forging technique. - The Boothill and the company's name is simply from an historic area of Clarksville, where Jared and Kylie now call home. They're truly living their dreams. - Best part is that finishing off that handle and putting some oil on that handle because up until then it's work. You know, it's just, it's not easy. - I love finishing the products, knowing that somebody is going to spend this money on it and use it in their kitchen, which is something that's really important to me. The kitchen is a big place in my heart. So, to know that other people are using my stuff that I made in their kitchens is pretty awesome. - Kylie and Jared also feel it's pretty awesome that they're working together at home with their kids. - I really wanted to be here and so now, you know, I don't miss anything. I'll take them to school every morning. I can pick him up in the afternoons. Like, I don't miss anything and that's way more important. Plus working next to my wife and seeing her business grow or her side of the business grow and being able to do it all together is something I wouldn't trade for anything. - We kind of moved here with the hopes that we could stay home more with the kids. So having two little ones and us being both here even though that poses its own issues quite a bit because they're still toddlers. It's pretty awesome, and just to grow a business by ourselves which isn't something I feel like everyone can say is pretty incredible. - So from a successful financial advisor until today Jared has honed his knife, making skills well and along with Kylie's beautiful woodwork and business management experience Boot Hill Blades has sliced its way into a new market. That's paying priceless dividends for the Thatchers. - Thanks Ken. A building can mean a lot to a town. The Hales Springs Inn is such a place for the people of Rogersville up in East Tennessee. The Inn has been at the heart of the town since the early 1800's, and when the town fell on hard times the people of Rogersville got together to save it. Here's Rob Wilds. - On one of the main streets through Rogersville sits the Hale Springs Inn. Just has it has since the road was part of the stagecoach route from Washington DC to Atlanta, way back in the early 1800's. And a Scottish immigrant decided that Rogersville needed a place for travelers like him to stop. A special place that according to Pat Wilfish, who works here, resulted in what is today The Hale Springs Inn. - Was John McKinney's idea to build the place large enough and ostentatious enough to draw the people that were coming in either by coach or by train to stay here at the Inn. He was educated at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, so I think his ideas for the Inn are a lot of European type ideas. In early American architecture, you wouldn't see these big wide open hallways. You wouldn't see the height in the ceilings. You don't see just the wide spaces, you know, it's just completely opposite of what you would find in a typical building that was built in 1824. - It wasn't long until McKinney's Tavern was a stop for weary travelers. and other people looking to draw a crowd. - There's a lot of documentation that all three of them had given speeches out on a balcony that was out here at the time, and that was one of John McKinney's basic ideas. He wanted to have a place where all these politicians that were coming through would have a place to give a speech because they were always looking for someplace. We were on the direct route from Washington DC to Atlanta. So there was a lot of politicians passing through here - Over the years McKinney's Tavern became the Hale Springs Inn and eventually fell on hard times until the people of Rogersville stepped in. - In 2001, the heritage association purchased the Inn and then they had it open for just special occasions. They would do weddings and stuff here, and then they realized that it was just going downhill too fast and they had to do something. So they started the big renovation project with the city and it took them almost 10 years to get it to where we see it now being almost down the town square. It means a lot to a lot of people in the area. You know, this is their history. Everybody in Rogersville feels like this is part of their history. - So much a part of their past people of the area even pitched in to help furnish the place. - Some of the furniture, believe it or not is basically kind of on loan to us. There are a lot of citizens in Rogersville that had furniture that from that time period, you know they didn't want to sell them but they've loaned them to the Inn. So it's really added to the atmosphere. - So that sort of adds to the municipal feel of the thing, right? - Oh yes, absolutely. There's a lot of people in Rogersville that feel like this is, they own part of it. This is part of it. - As I stand here on the balcony of the historic Hale Springs Inn, in Rogersville, Tennessee my fellow citizens, where are the greats such as Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson and other great Tennessee politicians have stood and made their political feelings known. I am moved myself today to make my feelings known, my ambitions known in this political year! And my ambitions are to go into dinner! - The Inn has an upscale restaurant where you can try some dishes you might not get it most places. - This is a gazpacho. All the ingredients in here are from local farms here in Rodgersville, the tomatoes, the cucumbers, the peppers. It also has some lump crab meat, some diced watermelon, that's local too, avocado and some local cherry tomatoes on top with a little bit of olive oil. A nice light refreshing, chilled summer soup. - Executive chef Jimmy Ellis doesn't have to look very far to find ingredients for his dishes. - In Tennessee, a lot of people really support their local farmers and they go out and, you know I deal with probably five or six farms from in the area and they've all been really great. And I've gotten to know them really well. And that's really what I'm main proud of, you know what I'm mostly proud of. - To good friends - Here, here. - True to its beginnings as a tavern you can still get a drink at the Inn with old friends or with friends you've just met. It's sort of like being at home with friends. At least that's what visitors to the Inn tell Pat Wilfish. - They tell us that they really love the atmosphere. It feels warm and it feels comfortable and they feel like they're at home. That it's, you know it's an atmosphere that you don't get in a sterile room where you don't have any place to sit. All of our rooms have chairs and a comfortable place to sit and relax. Where you don't have to sit on the bed to watch TV or anything like that. So, it's just a nice, nice comfortable feel. And we treat our guests like they were our guests in our own homes. - Which makes sense, since the people who call Rogersville home have made certain this historic place, the Hale Springs Inn continues to be a very vibrant part of their hometown. - Well, a lot of history there, not a lot of time left for our show, but I will remind you to check in on our website tennesseecrossroads.org Follow us on Facebook of course, and I'll see you next week, okay.
April 08, 2021
Season 34 | Episode 34
This time on Tennessee Crossroads, Miranda Cohen samples Beck's Farmhouse coffee. Joe Elmore visit a popular family-owned meat-and-three in Goodlettsville. Ken Wilshire visits a Clarksville couple who gave up the rat race to create Boothill Blades. Rob Wilds visits Hale springs Inn in Rogersville. Presented by Nashville Public Television.