Friday, July 12, 2024

Murfreesboro restaurants cook up something special this Valentine’s Day 


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Featured graphic by Destiny Mizell

Story by Shauna Reynolds

When it comes to impressing a date on Valentine’s Day, the chocolate, flowers and meal swipe combo is not the answer. Here are four Murfreesboro restaurants where students can make Feb. 14 a memorable night, considering that everyone has a different idea of a romantic experience. 

For your plant-based (or not) Valentine 

Pad Thai Cafe is located in a decidedly unromantic strip on Church Street. But inside, it’s a cozy and intimate spot with a varied and affordable menu. The restaurant includes plenty of tables for two, perfect for a quiet conversation. Thai favorites like pho and the eponymous pad Thai dominate the menu, which also includes Chinese dishes.  

Server Elijah Lee says the stir-fried spicy basil is his current favorite Pad Thai Cafe meal. 

“But if it’s cold weather Feb. 14, then our Pho will warm you up a little bit,” he said. 

Entree prices range from $13 – $22 at dinnertime depending on protein choice. Tofu and vegetable options are available for meat-free sweethearts, in addition to pork, chicken, beef and seafood. Add some soup or salad or an appetizer to share, but keep in mind that the entree sizes are rather generous. Sometimes there’s a bit of a wait, but the staff sends customers a text message when their table is available. Browsing the Asian market next door is a worthwhile way to pass the minutes while waiting for a table.  

For your quirky valentine 

Is there anything more romantic than dinner at Waffle House? Well maybe, but that doesn’t mean celebrating love at the open-all-hours southern icon won’t make a night to remember. Waffle House does things differently on Feb. 14. They take reservations, dim the lights and serve a festive meal. Servers deliver heart-shaped hashbrowns and more to booths decked with white tablecloths and flowers. Formal wear is optional, but a suit and tie or yellow and black strapless dress could make an impressive Instagram post. In Murfreesboro, only the Church Street location is the participating. Seating is limited, so customers should call as soon as possible for the opportunity to dine under the big yellow sign.  

For the DIY valentine 

The Curious Kitchen on E. State Street is a catering business that also offers cooking classes for beginning through advanced home cooks. “Cooking With Aphrodisiacs” is an intriguing class for couples wanting to get hands on in the kitchen. If that’s too spicy, The Curious Kitchen teaches classes about how to make tapas, sushi, fresh pasta and more. Valentine week classes sold out quickly, so the only current choice is signing up for a waiting list – but an IOU for a date night later in the month or year makes a thoughtful gift. The Curious Kitchen’s cooking classes are significantly more expensive than the other places listed here, but the price includes the class itself, dinner and drinks and the chance to go home with a new skill set. 

For the “I have to work that night” valentine 

Dinner isn’t necessarily the only romantic meal of the day. Not everyone has the luxury of a free evening Feb. 14. Goodness Gracious in The Fountains at Gateway will serve Valentine’s Day meals in the morning and early afternoon. Goodness Gracious boasts a more robust menu than a coffee shop, but a classier atmosphere than a diner, making it one of Murfreesboro’s fancier breakfast spots. 

Server Adam Scitz recommends the BAT Benedict, one of four eggs benedict variations on the menu. He said that BAT stands for bacon, avocado and tomato. An English muffin, poached eggs, herbed cream cheese and chipotle hollandaise complete the dish. The meal is served with two sides. 

“All of our French toast and pancakes can be a side,” Scitz said, “and you can’t really go wrong there.” 

Kelly Rose said that the filled strawberries and other desserts are also a delicious choice for Valentine’s Day. The dessert case is filled with individual slices of colorful cake and pies. 

It seems like Murfreesboro has more restaurants than people, but they’re all bound to be extra busy on Valentine’s Day. Make reservations when possible, be patient with wait times and be kind to restaurant staff. They deserve a little love, too. 

To contact Lifestyles Editor Destiny Mizell and Assistant Lifestyles Editor Shamani Salahuddin, email For more news, visit, or follow us on Instagram at MTSUSidelines or on X at @MTSUSidelines.

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