Beginning their fourth season in April, The Rambling has become not only a favorite but one of the hottest reservations in town - a Thursday, Friday, Saturday family-style dining event with room for 60 patrons held for seven weeks beginning in April. The intention of The Rambling is to take note of even the smallest detail, procuring meal ingredients right from the property. Chef Tyler Brown references Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello as inspiration. "The way it was done in the past, it’s Southall’s interpretation of 'real hospitality,''' a dinner in your backyard. A benefit to The Rambling’s set up is that the menu and evening are not “confined to a lane” and no rules need to be followed. Southall's overall goal is to create a classroom that will spark curiosity and demonstrate in action a “a full symbiotic circle.”
A very short walk from the site of The Rambling stand two beautiful greenhouses. Such mammoth structures they seem to beckon you in. Once inside you are welcomed into an atrium of succulents and pots of flowers wintering inside. Beyond the atrium are rows of seedlings patiently waiting to be
planted to fulfill their destiny of seed to table dining. Stepping into the back room you find yourself standing among one of Southall’s many fascinating projects, a citrus grove with 16 different types of plants and leaf cutters, a type of bee, fluttering about. Other ventures at Southall include an apple orchard with old and new varieties of trees, seed banking and a fish greenhouse system raising hundreds of bass.
The community interaction is something Chef Tyler and Southall hold in high regard. The tables are sourced from local Tennessee wood, the dinnerware is handmade by potter John Donovan. Local musician Reed Turchi plays The Rambling to provide the right mood. Southall is mindful in all they set forth to do, including the soon-to-be Inn and Spa.
Creating a Great Backyard Get Together
1. Create an environment – ambiance is everything. Incorporate fire-pits, sunshades, lanterns, and string lights based on weather. Add interesting pieces from inside to the outside for the evening with a more luxurious feel.
2. Choose good company – Often the people are what folks remember about an evening, regardless of any other detail. Try and grab a mix of people who will enjoy what you are creating.
3. Music – there is a reason stores start playing Christmas music in October. Music can directly affect your mood and there is nothing better than enjoying the outside elements with a good song or two.
4. Games – while games could seem like something you only need to break the ice with people who don’t know each other, getting a good healthy competition going can make for a lot of fun.
5. Make it about breaking bread- Be intentional with seating and dinnerware. Your menu should coordinate with the environment you are creating. Include an extra special drink, dessert or method of cooking that includes everyone.