The Sampler at
In the arena of professional dining, one must be highly attuned to the word on the street, the “restaurant buzz” in order to be in the know about upcoming dining developments and so, always near the front of the food line.
Now, winter rumors have pushed their way through the ice and snow to blossom in the form of Nashville’s newest eatery, Calzone Jones, a little breakfast and lunch shop tucked away off the beaten path behind the Nashville Christian Church.
The “Calzone” of the new restaurant’s name is a huge pastry stuffed with meat, cheese, and vegetables seasoned and brushed with butter and then baked to perfection and served with marinara saucepicture a “hot pocket” on steroids.
They aren’t illegal, but they are addictive, which is why they appear on the menu under the rubric “For when you’re Jonesin’ ask about our calzone of the day.”
The “Jones” of Calzone Jones is chef extraordinaire (Cordon Bleu), raconteur, musical star of stage and screen (well, of the Pine Room and Corn Crib Lounge, at least), and all-around local hero Frank Jones, ably assisted (kept in check) by his lovely wife, Kim.
Calzone Jones is located in the blue building at the corner of Bittersweet Lane and Pittman Lane.
The restaurant opens at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday through Friday; Saturday at 8:00 a.m.; Sunday at 9:00 a.m., and stops serving at 2:00 p.m. They’re closed on Monday, but if you plan ahead, you can score a Calzone on Sunday, stick it in the fridge and microwave it on Monday, when Calzone Jones is closed. It holds up pretty well.
Of course there is more to life than calzones, no matter how good those calzones are. A quick glance “down menu” reveals several other favorites from the Joneses kitchen, including an Italian GrinderItalian sausage and beef sautéed with onions, topped with sauce and cheese, and broiledand their mouth-watering super-thin crust pizza in a variety of permutations available by simply adding veggie or meat toppings.
Also tempting are the excellent deli sandwiches. Frank gets all his meat and cheese from top Chicago suppliers, including a veggie and cheese, ham and provolone, roast beef, or the delightful and fun to order Copa and Fontinella.
Each is served with a pickle.
Be sure to try a bowl or a cup of their world-class soups, they’re always good.
I particularly love the butter bean, minestrone, and my latest discovery, a satiny cream of cauliflower that had me scraping the bowl for every last delicious drop.
Or you could have a saladanything from a side salad topped with cucumbers and tomatoes up to a chef salad topped with two meats and cheeses. Salad choices include a pasta salad with carrots, red onion, peppers, and olive oil and vinegar, and a classic Greek salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, feta cheese, and kalamatra olives.
The “Norb Salad” is with mixed greens topped with tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh mozzarella, feta, fontinella, and olives, and the “Joe Salad,” is a romaine and spring-mix bed of greens with cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, and green olives.
I choose the Joe, and on the particular day I happened to be dining there, it came with a special treat; a seat with the salad’s namesake, Joe.
“I eat this salad just about every day,” explains Joe, a contented-looking man with friendly eyes. “I live just across the street.”
For the early-rising crowd, Calzone Jones also offers a breakfast menu: classic biscuits and gravy, an Italian frittata (kind of an Italian omelet), or the breakfast combotwo eggs, choice of toast, and two choices of meat (ham, sausage or bacon).
There’s also a wonderful breakfast pizza.
For a healthier start, you may also choose yogurt, fruit, and Irish steel-cut oats with fruit and toast.
Something to remember about Calzone Jones: If there’s something you would like that you don’t see on the menu, just ask and they’ll see what they can do for you!
If they can’t immediately produce your preferred order, they will at the least provide you with a colorful excuse.
I had the soup and “half a Joe” and then launched into a beef, cheese, onion, and green pepper calzone. I couldn’t finish a whole calzone, but a carry-out box was provided, and I left the place profoundly satisfied.