King opened the doors to the new place on Easter Sunday, and immediately heard from older folks who remember the white-columned mansion next to the airport from when it was a private club for the city's power players — and also was the site a much-loved community Easter egg hunt every spring.
Monell’s, which offers family-style service and all-you-can-eat Southern food, has become something of a landmark in Germantown over the past 17 years. And now it’s taken over a landmark with a history that dates back to the 1890s.
From 1977 until 2008, the house at 1400 Murfreesboro Road next to the airport was New Orleans Manor, a buffet restaurant. Before that it was the Colemere Club, a private club where bigwigs did their dealing and once a year the grounds were opened for a massive community Easter egg hunt. The estate started out as a mansion for an L&N railroad tycoon (the 19th century house burned in 1929 and was rebuilt in 1931, becoming the Colemere Club in 1948).
In other words, the house has a memorable place in Nashville history. Michael King, Monell’s owner, reopened it on Easter Sunday, and he says quite a few customers who showed up that day were older folks who vividly remembered searching the lawns for the elusive Golden Egg.
The new Monell’s serves a similar menu as the other locations in Germantown, Gallatin and Berry Hill. (The latter is an express location. King has tried other locations over the years, but these three remain.) There’s a rotating lineup of Southern meat-and-three specials, and country breakfast on weekends.
King says the new place will be his center for special events like weddings — he can accommodate up to 350 people — as well as Victorian Christmas dinners, and starting next year, an Easter egg hunt.