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7 Best-Kept Secret Spots to Dine in Maury County

Venture off the eaten path with these delectable finds in Middle Tennessee.

By Kelly Rogers on May 19, 2023

Papa Boudreaux’s in Santa Fe, TN
Jeffrey S. Otto

There’s something uniquely special about finding a local hot spot that hasn’t been overrun by tourists or blasted all over social media. When you discover a place like this, where the food is incredible and local regulars greet the staff by name, you know you’ve found a gold mine. So if you’re looking for unique restaurants in Maury County, it’s time to venture off the eaten path, where you’ll find amazing food and even more amazing people behind the counter.

1. Papa Boudreaux’s Cajun Cafe and Catering Co.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Papa Boudreaux (yes, he insists you call him ‘Papa’), has been surrounded by Cajun flavors all his life. After working in the oil drilling industry, Boudreaux retired and moved to Tennessee. He soon discovered that retirement didn’t suit him, so he decided to open up a restaurant in Santa Fe, TN. “It just took off by word of mouth,” Boudreaux says. “It was a phenomenon.”

Papa Boudreaux’s does a lot of catering, especially for movie stars and musicians (Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks are particular fans).

The food is a mixture of family recipes and Boudreaux’s own creations, but the flavors are incredibly authentic and inspired by Cajun culture. Boudreaux loves to share the history of the dishes – and his family – with customers. “I want them to know about what they’re eating,” he says. “I’ll pull up a chair and teach them where it came from.”

Santa Fe Diner in Santa Fe, TN
Nathan Lambrecht

2. Santa Fe Diner in Santa Fe

Santa Fe Diner has been around for over 45 years, though its ownership recently changed hands. It stayed in the restaurant family, though – Lisa Payne, who had worked at the diner for years, bought the place when the owner decided to retire in 2020.

“We came in and painted, deep-cleaned, remodeled the bathroom and added some new equipment in the kitchen,” says Payne, who runs the restaurant with her daughter, Jessica Justice. “We didn’t take things off the menu, but we did add some things to it.”

It remains a meat-and-three model, and there’s still catfish every Friday, like always. But they’ve expanded to include delicious baked goods – Jessica’s specialty – which have been a hit with the locals.

3. Amber Falls Winery and Cellars

This winery in Hampshire produces wines that can go great with meals, and it just so happens that meals are another perk that the Hampshire establishment provides to its customers. Owners Tim and Judy Zaunbrecher schedule several events throughout the year, and most of those celebrations include food trucks on-site to accompany the festivities.

One of the winery’s most popular events is a Music on the Ridge concert series that occurs on numerous Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the year, and food trucks in attendance serve everything from barbecue to tacos to spicy wings. Another major sip-and-snack event at Amber Falls is an annual Cajunfest with food truck items like crawfish, jambalaya, etouffee, boudin sausage, alligator bites and hog-tied shrimp.

Campbell Station Country Store Restaurant in Culleoka, TN
Campbell Station Country Store Restaurant

4. Campbell Station Country Store Restaurant

This historic spot holds a special place in the hearts of Culleoka community members, many of whom grew up frequenting it when it was just a general store. Today, Campbell Station also features a restaurant that opens from 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. New owners John and Kim Feuerbacher say the menu features “down home cooking.”

“We recently added country ham and green beans to the menu,” John says. “We hope everyone in Maury County stops by for an authentic Southern meal.”

5. DooDads

Walking into DooDads in Columbia, the atmosphere is laid back and welcoming at once. With wood-paneled walls, vaulted ceilings and quirky signs scattered throughout for décor, the atmosphere is rural Tennessee personified. Breakfast is big business at DooDads, with plenty of options, including pancakes that span the entire width of the plate. The lunch and dinner menus have excellent offerings as well – try the catfish and finish it off with a homemade chess square for dessert.

Step back into the 1950s at Kay’s Diner in Mount Pleasant.
Kay’s Diner

6. Kay’s Diner

With bold mint green walls adorned with old records and black-and-white checkered tile floors, Kay’s Diner in Mount Pleasant instantly evokes a nostalgic, 1950s diner vibe as soon as you walk through the door. The menu features traditional diner fare, made with quality ingredients and served by friendly faces. Customers rave about the made-fresh-to-order bacon cheeseburgers.

7. Omega’s Market & Diner

On Woodland Street in Columbia is Omega’s Market & Diner, known for serving authentic Southern food such as chicken and dumplings, classic fried chicken, okra soup and tomato sandwiches. Go to the window and put in your order from a menu that changes daily, and also try a homemade dessert such as banana pudding, strawberry cake, chess pie and peach cobbler. Omega’s opens at 11 a.m. every day, closed Saturdays.

Thirsty? Now Sip Your Way Through the County

Maury County offers a number of venues that let customers sit back, relax and have a sip. Here is just a sampling:

Grinders Switch Columbia: Grinder’s Switch Columbia is the satellite tasting room for Grinder’s Switch Winery located in Centerville. Be sure to pair your wine tastings with a delicious charcuterie board!

Taps Off Main: This craft taproom on the Columbia Public Square has more than 25 brews on tap, along with several bottled and canned beers. The family-friendly business also has non-alcoholic options.

Bad Idea Brewing: This Columbia business began when two friends wanted to start a brewery, and their wives said, “This is a bad idea.” The brewery debuted in 2019 and has a reputation for its one-of-a-kind beers.

Farmstead Cellar & Tasting Parlour: The downtown Columbia venue features a tasting room with a large selection of Tennessee-produced wines from Crown Winery of Humboldt. Farmstead’s Columbia location is upstairs in Farmstead Market.

Twisted Copper Brewing Co.: Mount Pleasant is home to Twisted Copper, which debuted in 2022 and is open Thursday through Sunday. Check out beer bingo Thursdays, open mic night Fridays and a Saturday happy hour.

Common Law Brewing Co. Taproom: Spring Hill is home to Common Law, the brainchild of owners Brad Eldridge-Smith and Mark Valencia. The duo decided to turn their many homebrewing sessions into a business, and the taproom has multiple microbrew choices.

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