It's Always Sweeter at Main Street
Family, hard work, and food. It’s what the south is made of. Growing up ‘down here’ is a constant adventure that many envy. It’s a simple way of life that forms the morals and values that are truly the foundation of this country.
“My husband was raised on a farm in Michigan and we both knew we wanted to raise our children in a farm town to teach them the farming work ethic...and how to serve people,” explained Sue, the matriarch of the Seamon Family, and owner. When asked what they want people to think about their restaurant, mother Sue, and co-owner daughter, Rachel Bing, both said that they wanted it to feel like “home.” And with the warm atmosphere and great food, Main Street Eatery in downtown Somerville, TN is truly a home for everyone who comes in.
Upon first glance, the exterior gives you the impression of an ordinary downtown storefront; but once you enter the cute red door, you step into a rustic but elegant space, filled with unique and vintage dining areas that is anything but ordinary. Eclectic decor, fresh cut flowers in jars and vases add a touch of southern delicacy when mixed with daintily patterned vintage china, ‘mix-matched’ to go with the tables, while exposed brick, shiplap and concrete cover the walls giving it a modern “edge”. In one room, graduation composites from the former Fayette County High School line the walls dating back to the 1930s. “People love these, they bring their families, their friends - sometimes, they just like to find an Aunt or Uncle’s photo.” Sue added, “Having these means a lot to the community.”
When the Seamon’s bought the business three years ago, they had a lot of work to do. The family totally revamped the building. “We had a lot of locals come in and help us...we were all working here every day. We had kids washing walls, painting, putting up walls...our older son Jake built the barn doors,” explained Sue and Rachel.
Altogether, the Seamons make this restaurant work. Seven of the eight kids actually work together at the restaurant. Their names are Rachel, Sam, Ruthie, Asher, Josh, David, and Grace. The oldest son Jake doesn’t work there every day, but he is and has been very much a part of the restaurant. “He built all the walls with a contractor, did the plank wall and he is my go-to man for covering any shift. He even has trained several of the staff. He’s is skilled in all areas of restaurant except maybe cooking…” says Sue, with a smile. Beside Rachel, Josh and Grace have the most seasoned experience at the restaurant. They can tackle any job at Main Street. Daughter Grace also designed the business logo and Rachel’s gorgeous baby girl Hazel Bing, joins in and rides her mother’s back, drifting off to sleep by the end of the interview. Rachel who has been working in some form at a restaurant since the age of twelve started working there under the old management, and when the opportunity presented itself to buy the restaurant, the Seamons jumped on it. “My husband, Steve Seamon, and I wanted it be an investment of course...but we wanted it to be an investment more for our family to teach our kids how to work and serve people,” Sue added.
It’s obvious that Rachel has a genuine love for the eatery. “It’s always been my dream to have a restaurant and to help people...we wanted to do southern comfort food but with a healthy twist.” And it is clear as day that serving good food with that health twist is at the top of the priority list. French toast that simply melts in your mouth...traditional biscuits and sausage gravy...a grilled chicken sandwich wrap that is full of flavor...and a coconut cream pie that is simply heavenly are all favorites not just of the Cypress crew, but of the local customers of Somerville. “We’re all about local...local farmers, local veggies, Somerville meat market...we wanted to reach out and plug ourselves into the local people...really pour our heart into these people,” says Rachel. “She’s been cooking since she was about ten...it’s just been her path,” Sue added. “It’s been a blessing to own the restaurant...I wouldn’t change owning the restaurant...because of all the people we meet and got to know.”
Their menu changes daily, hot plates items and soups change with creative new additions. Their salads include an old-fashioned seven layer salad that is to die for, along with cold salad scoops - chicken salad, pimento cheese and egg & olive. In season, those can be stuffed into big, beautiful, locally grown heirloom tomatoes. Main Street’s famous chicken salad is also sold in the pint and quart quantity - and once you taste it, you’ll know why! Sandwiches are served on Backemann’s Bakery homemade bread and come with a tiny seven layer salad and a freshly sliced fruit compote. Desserts, again -all home-made, include cakes, pies, brownies, cobblers, and cheesecakes.
Saturday is the only day that you will find breakfast on the menu. The Eatery opens at 7am sharp for their breakfast customers on Saturday, serving, among others, a very special French Toast entre. “Ruthie is the French Toast specialist.” Rachel explained, “She has the best technique on stirring the eggs to make them fluffy. It makes the French Toast huge!” Ruth is the 10-year-old daughter of Sue and Steve. Eggs, biscuits & sausage gravy, open-faced omelets, and their huge cinnamon rolls round out their morning menu - and yes, the eggs are farm fresh eggs.
Aside from the look in their eyes as they talk and explain the intricacies of the business, you can tell that their heart is truly in this business. In February they wanted to ‘show their love’ and did so by making a Valentine’s meal for those who had been widowed. They gave their time and food to nearly 80 people as a Valentine’s gift. That takes a heart for what you do, and a heart for people.
The Main Street Eatery’s staff is another contributor to this family’s passion. “We pray about our staff. We want our staff to be an extension of what we believe...and I want to say we love our staff. They’re our extended family and they help us love our customers.” The staff is complete with people who really have a passion for what they do, who they serve and their relationships with each other. Catherine Jacks makes the salads but is also an accomplished local artist. “People come in every month just to see the menu board...and she free hands it with chalk.” Staff members at the Main Street Eatery include Jacob Love, Keke Perkins, Cliff Holland, Sydney Holland, Rashad Armor, Julia Moore, and Rhonda Walker.
Main Street Eatery...”makes us feel like family.” says Sue. “Like we feel like you’re at home...” exclaims Rachel. Sue continues, “I was just praying to God this morning about what He wants us to do with this restaurant because it’s not just about food...you see glimpses of what He wants...I just don’t know what God has in store.”
More than elegant tables, rustic walls, good food, or a family investment, Main Street Eatery is the stuff The South is made of...the fundamentals of a good southern family trying to make a better community for more people than just themselves.