The Sampler at
The Original Soup to Nuts
Nobody enjoys change very much, least of all in our treasured institutions and everyday comforts.
And yet we essentially live in a state of constant change. Nothing ever stays the same, and for good reason—new ideas and fresh perspectives have the power to enliven even our most rigid rituals.
Change is coming to one of our most popular local eateries, “The Original Soup To Nuts”, a friendly little lunch place tucked away in a quiet Nashville courtyard of shops called Honeysuckle Place, east of Jefferson and south of Franklin streets (67 W Franklin).
Locals and visitors alike love the amazing variety of perfectly prepared homemade soups, hearty sandwiches, and fantastic specials for dine-in, carry-out, or in-town delivery at OSTN.
A signature favorite is the smoked pulled pork, chicken, and sometimes ribs with a whole shelf-full of barbecue sauces to choose from.
“We smoke our pork and chicken over hickory right here,” Said OSTN owner Christine Wanner. “You just can’t ignore that amazing scent.
It’s cooked with just a dry rub; you sauce it your way. People love it.”
They will also cook to order for carry out customers with a 24 hour notice.
Besides the delicious pulled pork, sandwiches to be on the lookout for include a Reuben packed with perfectly shredded corned beef, a nice slice of Swiss, crisp kraut and homemade dressing; a superb chicken salad on a bed of lettuce or a choice of bread; and a legendary chili dog, plump and smothered in a heaping helping of homemade chili on a sourdough baguette.
But, as you may imagine, at a place called “The Original Soup to Nuts,” the “must have” is the soup, whether it’s a thick and delicious mushroom soup, a bold classic French onion with melted cheese and croutons, a nourishing and delectable chicken stroganoff, or the locally popular corn chowder.
And, they always serve chili.
“People love the soup,” Wanner said. “They’re all made right here.
She favors something special, like her Rueben soup, or traditional gumbo, over simple soups like potato or cream of broccoli, which are nevertheless quite good. The constant variety and high quality make every bowl or cup an absolute delight.
And, of course, Christine bakes all her own scrumptious desserts from scratch, perhaps a necessary bulwark of civil order.
“The pies and the cobblers are pretty darned popular,” Wanner said.
“I’m not sure I’m allowed to open without our chocolate brownie bars. I think there might be trouble.”
But now, a change is brewing in the horizon Christine’s youngest son, Casey Wilson, has started culinary school and begun to step into a more leading role in the family business.
“It’s in his blood,” she said. “His dad was also a chef. We’re very proud of his decision and we want to encourage him all we can.”
“We’re kind of trying to do the role reversal here,” she said. “Where he used to be my assistant, I’m trying to let him take the reins and I’m being his assistant, and still guiding him.”
While she admits that can be hard at times, she also welcomes the change, which will allow her to pursue her own higher education goals.
“I’m here to support him just like he’s been here to support me,” she said.
And, she said, most frequent customers, “our loyal regulars”, know this transition is happening and they are supportive of Casey.
Especially after they tasted his cream of asparagus soup.
It was Casey’s “California Club”—a turkey, bacon, gouda and avocado sandwich that ensnared a guy on the street who was handed a sample. “That guy came and said ‘I just had a bite of a sandwich and it was amazing and that’s what I want for lunch.’ He came back the next three days and had the exact same sandwich,” she said.
“The other day he made an Italian ham and cheese sub and everybody just loved it and a lady came in and said, ‘That’s the best sandwich I’ve ever put in my mouth.'”
So, the institution of Soup to Nuts is preserved for we, the lucky
diners, even as its vision is transmitted to a new generation. The characters may change, individual artists may come and go, but the great drama of professional dining moves along apace. The equation is eternal.
“We focus on keeping things simple and keeping them good. We make everything essentially from scratch as much as possible. We get fresh produce in, fresh meats in, and we cook it ourselves.
“And people appreciate that.”
And, In return, Wanner appreciates the diners who have made her journey possible.
“Our business has been great,” she said. “I feel extremely blessed, considering the general economic situation. I’m honored that a lot of the locals choose to have lunch here and we have really good repeat business.”
“When tourists ask shopkeepers where they eat lunch, they say, ‘Soup to Nuts.’ I hear it every day,” she said. “That’s amazing. To me that’s the biggest pat on the back you could get—that people in the community support us.”