Summer is on the horizon, and my search for food this month was inspired by one of my favorite artists and people – the late, great Jimmy Buffett. Cheeseburgers in paradise is the theme – so to speak.

This was one of the best “crawls” that I have been on in a long time. Moving from restaurant to restaurant on a beautiful early May day and seeing all the lunchtime activity in Franklin was awesome.

The first stop was Ann’s Restaurant. It was an early lunch rush there. Every table was packed by 11 a.m. Gill was our server, and a fantastic one. I asked him to bring me his favorite burger, the way that he enjoys eating it - Double Cheeseburger with shredded lettuce, tomato, pickle, red onion and mayo. The burger was accompanied by fresh-cut potato chips and house-made ranch dressing. Wow, the burger was seasoned perfectly and was so fresh. The bun was cornmeal dusted, and held up great to the juicy burger. Everything was perfectly balanced and it was easy to tell that the ground beef was fresh and made in to patties daily in-house. Diane Wilson, the owner of Ann’s, confirmed this theory for me. It was fun talking with Wilson and learning the history of this family restaurant.

Franklin Foodie Cheeseburger Crawl stop at Ann's

Next stop on our crawl was the Willard. We grabbed a table outside. Dana Cutshaw was our server and we took her recommendation for the burger. A cold Summer Shandy cold draft was the perfect beverage for some great conversation while awaiting our food. The burger arrived with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mayo, ketchup and mustard. It was a half-pound burger. The first bite did not disappoint. Fresh toppings and the bacon added awesome flavor to the perfectly medium-cooked burger. Crispy onion rings were a great side.

Franklin Foodie at the Willard

Off to the Grill Bar for the third burger of the day. We arrived around 1:15 p.m. or so and grabbed a booth. The place was packed and the vibe was awesome. Bonnie Daniels was tending bar and was also our server. Just like our first two stops, we asked Daniels to bring us her favorite burger. As we waited for our food, this seemed like the place to be in Franklin on a Friday afternoon. Everyone knew everyone and there were lots of friendly smiles all around.

Our burger arrived and it was the deluxe with cheese, lettuce, onion, pickle and mayo. It was awesome – the perfect pub burger! I really enjoyed this sandwich, which was seasoned just right, juicy, a bit messy, and went perfect with an ice-cold beer. It is perfect for lunch, dinner and that late-evening fourth meal.

As Jimmy Buffet once said, “Fun is about as good a habit as there is,” and what a fantastic time we had on our burger journey. I had a blast learning about each restaurant, and the great people that pour the love into their jobs, keep the food coming and serve up great hospitality. The search for cheeseburgers in paradise was a success.

Life is good!

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