The Fried Tater Café is a place that was meant to be. It is a coming together of a family’s dream and the finding of a place that needed a new beginning.
“I started the restaurant for my dad and my husband’s grandparents – Meme and Papa,” said co-owner Melissa Wright. “My Dad and I wanted to do a meat and three out of a food truck. We wanted to go to fairs and festivals because a home cooked meal isn’t something usually offered out of a food truck. We were in the process of it five years ago when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away that same year.”
After moving to Rockvale, a 200-year-old building on the corner of Concord and Versailles roads began calling to Wright. It had served as many things, including a post office and a grocery store, as well as, a place for men to sign up as soldiers during the Civil War, according to an article on the News Channel 4 website.
“I didn’t really choose the location, it chose me,” she said. “God definitely placed me there. That building was the exact type of place my Dad and my husband’s grandparents loved.”
She found herself stopping and sitting in the parking lot where she would have talks with her father about the place. What she would do with it.
“I kid you not,” said Wright, “it was put up for rent soon after I found it, after sitting vacant since 1983, which is oddly enough the year I was born. Everything just happened with little effort, so I definitely knew that God was moving things along.”
Almost from the beginning became a popular place. “This was soooo good!!!” said customer Traci Applegett on the Fried Tater’s Facebook page. “My whole family ate and were more than full. DELICIOUS!”
“Breakfast is your typical foods: bacon, eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, etc.,” said Wright. “We do dinner…Everyone has seemed to love our fried chicken, fried potatoes, white beans, and the meatloaf. Side options are your traditional meat and three type sides: Mac and cheese, fried okra, beans and cornbread, and collard greens.”
Wright and her husband, Elijah, are learning as they go. They are experimenting with what works for their clients. They started with a few menu items, and they are slowly adding items. The menu changes daily and offerings are noted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheFriedTaterCafe/.
“We are getting a little more organized every day,” added Willard. “We are gearing up to offer fried pies, cobblers, carrot cake, deep fried banana pudding, and a few other items. My husband and I have been overwhelmed with the attention that the restaurant has gotten.”
Owning a restaurant was far from Wright’s mind as a child when she watched her father cook. As she says on their website, she admired her father’s ability to blend flavors, and that those early days in his kitchen are what nurtured her love of cooking, and the genesis of her restaurant dream. A dream that she hopes to grow.
“Future plans definitely include opening more locations,” said Wright. “We would like to open in Lascassas, Shelbyville, Christiana, College Grove, and Franklin. But obviously, that’s a few years away!”
The Fried Tater
11088 Versailles Road
Hours: Wednesday through Friday: Lunch coming soon, Dinner 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.