Jason Matheson, owner and chef at the soon to open Primrose Table, sees his venture as a contemporary and upscale-casual restaurant.
“I … call it family-friendly fine dining,” said Matheson. “We might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think we can appeal to a broad range of diners and foodies. I would consider our food Contemporary American.”
Raised in Nashville, Matheson didn’t live in a stereotypical southern household. His mother was British and his father was from New York. His formative years included a wide variety of foods from around the world.
“I can count on one hand how many times we had fried chicken,” said Matheson. “It was something I adored, but southern food was just not served on our table…Sunday roasts, root vegetables, Brussel sprouts, and Yorkshire puddings were the norm. Mom was a stay at home mom for the early part of our lives. She would spend whole Saturdays baking. Food definitely had a positive emotional impact on my early life.”
Yet, he fell into cooking by chance. In 1989, he got a job at Opryland theme park bussing tables and washing dishes at the Country Kettle restaurant in the Hill Country area of the park. They let him cook a little, but while it sparked his initial interest in different foods, Matheson felt it was more like summer camp then a job.
“I would say my cooking career started in 1993 at 101st Airborne Restaurant in Nashville,” said Matheson. “Again, I just fell into it. My sister was cocktail waitressing at the attached Foxhole Club. It was the first chef-driven restaurant I had worked. I was a long-haired punk back then, but I had so much admiration of the chefs and the seasoned line cooks that I wanted to be one of them…I felt like I belonged. The fast pace environment was appealing as well…Every busy service is an adrenaline rush.”
He worked in corporate restaurants for most of his young adult life learning the ropes. That included seven years at Darden’s Bahama Breeze restaurant in North Carolina.
“I worked there early in their inception when almost all of the food was made from scratch,” said Matheson. “When someone like Darden takes over a concept they eventually farm out more and more of the food production to a commissary kitchen for mass production to save labor dollars in the individual restaurants.”
He worked out of state for many years, then moved back to Nashville in 2010, just in time for the restaurant boom. He gained experience at Watermark Restaurant, Cork and Cow, and Marsh House. After getting married, he moved to Murfreesboro and realized that the city has a real need for a nice restaurant on the north side.
“We knew we wanted to be on the north side,” Matheson. “It’s where we live, where our daughter goes to school, where we go to church, and where we have family. As residents on the north side, we don’t want to have to go to The Avenue, The Square or to Old Fort Parkway to have a full-service meal for our family. There was a huge hole in the market, and we aim to fill it.”
They want everyone to feel welcome, like they are refined enough for a date night, but relaxed enough to bring the kids for a family dinner. Matheson’s goal is to be a part of the community by being of service to the community. One of the ways they will be reaching out to the community, is by using as much local produce as possible.
“We have created a very contemporary take on some classic dishes,” said Matheson. “I wouldn’t say we have a specialty, but I think that everyone is going to have their favorite dish on our menu. I just try to do everything well, even the kid’s menu.”
They will have a full menu of appetizers, salads, burgers, and entrees. Appetizers include Primrose Table’s version of guacamole, shrimp and lobster rolls, and tempura pork. Salads include Poached Pear, and Local Melon. Entrees include Roasted Chicken with Woodford Reserve Crème Sauce, and Char-Grilled Cuts of pork and beef.
Primrose Table will offer full-service bar with a specialty cocktail menu, as well as the more traditional mixed drinks. They will also offer domestic, import, and local craft beers, both in the bottle and draft. They also plan to have an in-depth wine program with affordable wines by the glass, and some higher end bottles as well.
“We do have some very homey deserts,” said Matheson. “Our signature dessert is the Mother Mary’s Cast Iron Cobbler…It will eventually be available for sale in large batches to help ease [our client’s] stress of cooking for … family events.”
One of the things they will be doing is catering to special needs, including those with celiac disease.
“Where we can substitute flour and dairy with non-allergen ingredients we will, as long as it doesn’t compromise the quality of the finished product,” added Matheson.”
Primrose Table will begin with dinner service Monday through Thursday, 4:30 p.m. until 10:00 p.m., and Saturday, 4:30 p.m. until 11:00 p.m., with plans to add lunch and a Sunday brunch.
1650 Memorial Blvd.
Murfreesboro, TN 37128