Josh Bufford doesn't want to bring any old farm to your table at Talley's Meat & Three. He wants to bring Buford Talley's 50-acre farm, or at least the memories Josh has of the long summers spent on his great-grandfather's plot of Georgia land.
Pulling from his own family recipes, and those from the family of his wife and co-owner, Jessica Bufford, he's hoping to emulate home-style cooking of yore when Talley's opens in mid-September. The family friendly restaurant is set to offer no-frills classics that fill out a lunch and dinner menu available seven days a week in the Village Shopping Center.
“We don’t have a chef!" he shares. "We have a crew of really talented cooks and kitchen managers that are going to manage this together as a group, and we’re all writing the menu together. This is home-style cooking. We don’t need a chef to cook mom’s food.”
It was only two months ago that the Bufford's Estilo shuttered, but the restaurateur couple wasted no time when conceptualizing the new restaurant that would fill its shoes, nor did they dally on making changes to the space. The Latin-American restaurant's footprint is still there, and Talley's will still seat around 70 to 75 inside, but the patio is currently undergoing renovations (and will offer 12 to 15 seats when completed), and the lighting, seating, and tables will all change. The bar is also getting a facelift, and will offer many more draft beers than Estilo's former six. The cocktails will be simpler than those at the Buffords' other productions — though still from Scott Harris, beverage director of Toast and Hutch — to complement the home-style cooking. Even the paint was specifically chosen to evoke this type of cuisine.
“Buford Talley was my great-grandpa, and when we were thinking about the inspiration for the space," says Josh, "a lot of it goes back to the summers and the kind of Wednesday potlucks with my aunts and uncles, so we kind of wanted to go back to some earthy-based tones.” Shades of gray will serve as reminders of the aged wood on the barns, while greens and golds will emulate the colors of crops when they were growing.
The new space will also have a renovated hostess stand/takeout counter, as well as a large dessert case full of the kinds of layer cakes, custards and chilled Jello treats Josh's grandmother used to make for him. But it’s a family affair on both sides of the tree. Jessica’s mom is “leading the dessert charge,” says Josh; she's currently baking for Toast and Hutch, and now Talley’s.
The lunch and dinner menu will be virtually the same, with a few smaller portion sizes available during the daytime. About 70 or 80 percent of the menu will be identical between the two meals, with most items remaining at the same price point on both.
According to Josh, the home-cooking haven in the West End will probably offer house-made fried okra, deviled eggs as a nod to his grandmother, and a recipe for Mexican-style jalapeño cornbread from Josh’s family. You’ll most likely also find a Salisbury steak or a chicken-fried steak, and eggs as a protein option, with the ability to choose three eggs scrambled or fried. But Josh’s family recipe box won’t be the only contributor; Jessica’s relatives’ creamed corn and other dishes will find their way onto the menu, as will, potentially, yours.
“We’ve actually started to solicit recipes from some of our customers,” Josh says. “This is probably true in your family: Think back and there’s probably a dish that your mom or grandmother made that you were a big fan of, and you probably have the recipe but just never make it because either it takes a long time to prepare or you don’t feel confident doing it. For whatever reason, you’ve got a great affinity for it yourself but you never make it. Well, we are soliciting recipes from customers for menu items like that.”
On a monthly basis, Talley’s will run a customer’s family recipe to celebrate the relative who originally cooked it. Then, the customer gets to select a local charity they think would be representative of that relative, and Talley’s will make a donation in the relative's honor, based on proceeds from that dish. “This will get us exposed to home-style foods from all over the U.S. and internationally,” Josh shares.
It's a restaurant that will bring not only farm to table, but generations of recipes as well.
Talley's Meat & Three is set to open in mid-September in the Village Shopping Center at 7021 Three Chopt Road, and is expected to offer lunch and dinner seven days a week.