Road Trip: The Farmhouse Cafe in Nineveh

Mike Nickels thought customers at his backroads Brown County garden center might enjoy a glass of iced tea and a piece of pie after loading their trunks with cherub statues and flats of crocosmia. So he and his wife, Sydney, opened The Farmhouse Cafe in a circa-1837 brick home on the nursery grounds. During the cafe’s first eight years, that business plan flip-flopped. “Now, we have lots of people who come for the cafe—and then they go look at the plants when they get done with their meals,” says Nickels. “I didn’t expect that, and I didn’t expect this many people to be able to find us out here in the middle of nowhere.”
Five miles from Nashville (in the twisty vicinity of Nineveh, Bean Blossom, and Spearsville), the cottage-like restaurant has seating for 40 inside and 40 more in a covered courtyard and on a wraparound porch. The lunch menu lists ladylike comfort foods such as curried chicken salad. At dinner, you can order a ribeye or herb-stuffed chicken, and barbecued ribs on the weekends. But one menu item seems especially beloved: “Our lemonade,” Nickels says. “We just call it Herb Barn Lemonade. It has milk in it, and some ginger ale and frozen lemonade. It’s a concoction of several things.” As it turns out, the kind of fizzy, frothy brew usually dipped from crystal punch bowls at baby showers is just as refreshing right before (or after) a stroll through rows of perennials. 5171 Bean Blossom Rd., Nineveh, 812-988-2004,