Commodore Music Café in Linden Features a Nod to the Past and a Taste for the Future

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Commodore Music Café in Linden

Located midway between Nashville and Memphis, Linden was once a favored stop for anyone heading west of Music City. When Interstate 40 was completed in the late 1960s, business shuttered, but today, Commodore Music Café lures tourists and locals alike with local-driven fare, genuine hospitality and a side of live music.

Michael Dumont and his wife, Kathy, who previously divided their time between Rhode Island and Florida, fell in love with Linden’s rural landscape the minute they arrived. “My wife found some land – 400 acres with creeks and streams, and an old farmhouse built around an original log cabin on it,” Michael says. “We made the decision to buy it immediately.”

Next, a long-empty 1930s hotel on the square caught their eye. As a real estate developer with a passion for preservation, Michael says the original plan was to restore the hotel and hire innkeepers to manage it. More than a decade (and five buildings) later, you’ll find the couple buzzing around the properties, daily.

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In the same way they lovingly restored the hotel, the Dumonts reimagined the café as a cozy, all-day eatery, punctuated with black-and-white checkerboard tiles and historic photos along the walls. The artsy, come-as-you-are vibe feels right any time of day, whether for a homestyle meat-and-three plate lunch or a special dinner celebration with friends.

“Kathy and the chef really work hard on the menu, and we try to get as many local products as we can,” Michael adds. “Whether that’s eggs, or farm cheese, or herbs and vegetables grown in our garden.”

Music has also become an integral part of the Commodore experience, as visitors from around the world find their way to Linden, captivated by the South’s rich music history. As such, a song title with Tennessee connections playfully introduces the Café’s menu sections.

While You're There...

Linden’s enviable location along the scenic Buffalo River and just 10 miles from the Tennessee River makes it an outdoor lover’s paradise, but days in Linden are best spent simply strolling the sidewalks in the Business Arts District, ducking into the eclectic shops that line the streets. Or plan your visit around the Perry County Bicentennial celebration Sept. 20-21 for a true taste of the town’s local spirit, with a crafts festival, fiddler’s contest, historic tours, storytelling and more.

Loretta Lynn’s You’re Lookinat Country gives way to traditional Southern comfort foods like fried buttermilk chicken, catfish and Nashville hot chicken. American Pie is home to hand-patted burgers in various renditions (say yes to smoky-sweet Linden sauce on any of them), and under Elvis’ iconic Can’t Help Falling in Love is where you’ll find 2 P’s Mac & Cheese: homemade macaroni and Colby Jack cheese topped with slow-cooked pork.

See more: Restaurants on Tennessee’s Trails and Byways

From appetizers, like Southern Gentleman Bites with chicken, bacon and pimento cheese, to Dixie Chicken, grilled with a savory-sweet Memphis BBQ rub, you’ll recognize distinctly Southern influences. But there are simple fish dishes that feel more akin to a European café, too.

No matter what you choose, Minnie Pearl’s Chess Pie, made with sugar, butter and local eggs, is a proper finale.

As an added treat, every Friday night musicians from near and far take the stage with country, blues, rock, and gospel performances, inviting guests to sit back with a craft beer or cocktail in hand and savor the charms this ever-evolving Tennessee town has to offer.

“On a Friday night, the ambiance of the dining room, with the food, the drinks, the lighting and all the sounds in the room; it’s just an intimate gathering that’s hard to explain,” Michael says. “People are always just blown away.”

Trisha Boyer

If You Go...

Commodore Hotel & Music Café

Location: 114 E. Main Street in Linden

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Thursday and Sunday. (Dinner can be arranged for hotel guests any night.)

Phone: (931) 589-3224

Website: commodorehotellinden.com

1 Comment

  1. Larry Razza

    August 19, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    When at the Commodore Hotel & Cafe in Linden, Tennessee you must go on the Commodore River Adventure Kayak trip down the Buffalo river… it was one of the best experiences in our lives… owners Mike and Kathy coordinated everything including the beautiful hotel accommodations and a great cafe with live entertainment… the perfect vacation get away! This should definitely be on your bucket list!

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