Monday, June 5, 2023

Table Talk: Goodness Gracious lives up to name


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To be abundantly clear: I am in no way a breakfast person. There’s an exchange that happens in “Parks and Recreation” between Leslie and Ron; Leslie asks, in a shocked voice, “Why would anybody ever eat anything besides breakfast food?” to which Ron replies, “People are idiots, Leslie.”

By their standards, I fall in that idiot category — and happily so. Scrambled eggs turn my stomach, nothing makes me feel worse than the sticky sweetness of syrup and don’t even get me started on the term “brunch.”

I remained on my first anti-breakfast campaign until I came across Goodness Gracious. This restaurant is everything I could want and more.

Located in Readyville, just a short fifteen-minute drive from MTSU’s campus, lives Goodness Gracious located inside the historic Readyville Mill. The drive there — especially during this time of year — is beautiful, filled with country roads and even adorable roadside goats.

The mill itself is worth the drive. Established in 1812, the Readyville Mill is one of the oldest working mills in the area. While there, you can stroll the grounds and even take home some freshly ground grits to make on your own.

The name seems cute, but after one bite of your meal, you’ll understand that the restaurant lives up to its namesake; it’s likely that the saying will slip out of your mouth as you gulp down your meal.

Time stops here, so this isn’t the type of restaurant for those in a hurry, as I learned on my visit. Be prepared to wait for about 20 minutes, but don’t let that discourage you; it truly is worth the wait.

This wasn’t my first time at Goodness Gracious; I had discovered the restaurant several years ago and always choose it on the rare occasion that breakfast foods will suit my fancy.

They serve breakfast, brunch and lunch options all day long, each section of the menu filled with mouth-watering delights. Their breakfast menu boasts tons of egg options, which I normally stay away from, but I did order the Quiche Lorraine once and was pleasantly surprised by how flaky and delicious the egg creation was. For the sweet tooth, plentiful pancake options await. The brunch and lunch menu is filled to the brim with sandwich options.

However, despite originally choosing this locale in search for a scrumptious quiche, the brunch menu caught my eye, specifically the pimento cheese sandwich served on a croissant. This immediately changed my craving, as I’m a sucker for pimento cheese.

Having never had their pimento cheese before, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to fully commit to an entire sandwich of the rich spread, so I opted to do their 50/50 deal: half a sandwich of pimento cheese and half chicken salad.

If I thought picking my entree was hard, I was in for a shock with the sides. Boasting 15 different sides options, it seems that the choices are endless.

Over the years, I’ve had my fair share of Goodness Gracious sides, and picking just two is the hardest part. After five agonizing minutes of debate, I opted for gouda grits and chocolate french toast.

I had attended the restaurant with two close friends, both of whom chose variations of eggs Benedict as their meal. One friend chose the standard eggs Benedict with hash brown casserole and a stack of pancakes and the other chose the creative blackened salmon eggs Benedict with baked pineapple cheese casserole and chicken enchilada soup.

Traditional eggs Benedict pictures with hash brown casserole and a stack of pancakes at Goodness Gracious in Readyville, Tenn. on Nov. 10, 2017. (Brinley Hineman / MTSU Sidelines)

When the food arrived, all three of our mouths were watering. My pimento cheese sandwich was fantastic. The sharpness of the spread complemented the sweetness of the croissant quite well. However, I wasn’t as impressed with the chicken salad. The chicken salad had grapes, which I normally don’t mind, but these grapes were so sweet that it threw off the entire taste of the chicken. In fact, the sweet grapes were all I could taste, and as someone who doesn’t particularly enjoy grapes, I wasn’t impressed.

The sides were fantastic, as always. As a southern transplant, I had to learn to like grits. If done well, they’re delectable, but if executed poorly, they can ruin a meal. Goodness Gracious hit the nail on the head. The gouda cheese mixed in provided a creamy taste, but it’s important to note it didn’t make the grits mushy. I loaded them up with black pepper and they were devoured in minutes.

Mouthwatering chocolate French toast with a side of raspberry preserves at Goodness Gracious in Readyville, Tenn. on Nov. 10, 2017. (Brinley Hineman / MTSU Sidelines)

The chocolate french toast satisfied my sweet tooth and was the perfect end to my meal. Two fluffy, thick pieces of brioche bread came out, grilled to perfection and smothered with chocolate sauce. On the side was a small container of raspberry preserves which sent my tastebuds to heaven. As delicious as it was, though, the richness of the chocolate overtook me, and I was only able to finish half of my french toast. The half I did eat , though, was perfect.

I left happy and full, but the same can’t be said for my friends. The one who ordered the traditional eggs Benedict was satisfied, and she’s a self-proclaimed breakfast snob, so that’s saying something. Her hash brown casserole was creamy, but my largest complaints was with the potatoes themselves: they were more on the mushy side than the crisp side. I prefer crispy, well-cooked hash browns, but these seemed a little undercooked.

Eggs Benedict paired with pineapple cheese casserole at Goodness Gracious in Readyville, Tenn. on Nov. 10, 2017. (Brinley Hineman / MTSU Sidelines)

The friend who ordered the salmon eggs Benedict was completely underwhelmed by her entree, but did enjoy her sides. On a previous trip to Goodness Gracious, I had ordered the salmon eggs Benedict myself and found myself hating every bite. The salmon seemed overly salty and left me with heartburn that my trusted antacids couldn’t mend.

However, despite the failure of the eggs benedict, the pineapple casserole was addicting. At first glance, cheese mixed with pineapple sounds completely off-putting, but I urge you to give this a chance. The pineapple chunks are baked in a sauce that tastes similar to a pie filling. Smothered in cheddar cheese, the sweetness and sharpness of the cheddar pair well together and will leave you wanting more for weeks to come.

Despite the mishap with the salmon, we all agreed we would be back soon for more of their breakfast options. I would rank Goodness Gracious a 4.5/5 stars.

Table Talk is a foodie’s paradise where you can find true, honest opinions on the most talked-about places in town. For more Table Talk coverage, click here.

To contact Lifestyles Editor Tayhlor Stephenson, email

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