Restaurant Review: Front Porch in Dickson

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When Carol Michael considered the new millennium a few years back, she decided a change was in order.

She had a successful 28-year career in the cattle brokering business, raised a family and survived a divorce, but felt stuck. Her heart, she realized, was in good food, a passion she had indulged in a part-time catering business with a friend, but now wanted to pursue seriously.

“I thought, ‘If I don’t follow my dream now, I never will,’ ” she remembers.

Front Porch Restaurant in Dickson, Tennessee

And so the Front Porch restaurant was born, much to the delight of thousands of happy customers who flock to the downtown Dickson eatery for what its owner – who is now remarried and goes by Carol Michael Heflin – calls “Southern cuisine with a gourmet twist.”

Heflin works her magic in a Victorian cottage built just a year after the City of Dickson was incorporated in 1899. Enter the pretty white house with its dark green trim and you’re in Grandma’s house. The porch is painted with garden murals, the floor a green-and-white checkerboard. The walls of the light-filled rooms are sponged a pale yellow and adorned with colorful prints and plates. The friendly staff (“Hi, y’all – like a little lunch?”) completes the warm, homey ambiance.

The lunch crowd is eclectic – ladies, businessmen and families – a mix Heflin had in mind when she opened the restaurant in 2000.
Front Porch Restaurant in Dickson, Tennessee

“I wanted to do something different than a meat and three but still true to Southern roots,” she says. “I didn’t want to be known as just a tea room, and I wanted businessmen to feel comfortable here too. We want people to perceive this as a pleasant, friendly place to go. I love it when people come in, see their friends and table-hop.”

Ladies and gentlemen both come to the Front Porch for a menu that offers everything from light salads and seafood dishes to soups, hearty sandwiches and meaty hot-lunch plates, including a blue plate special – served on an actual blue plate.

The menu changes seasonally, with an emphasis on quality, from fresh vegetables to homemade desserts like the Mile-High Coconut or Chocolate pie and the pecan-laden Jackson Pie.

Location and Hours of Operation

The Front Porch, located at 108 Center Ave. in Dickson, Tennessee, is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and Friday evenings for dinner.


  1. Caveman Lawyer :)

    March 14, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I used to work in Dickson, TN and remember what an extra ordinary chef
    Carol Michaels was (and was so deeply saddened to learn of your divorce). However, I always knew that if she started ANY type of food service business that she would be ultra successful.Have got to go there with my wife and let her enjoy what a fine dinning experience it would be! See you guys soon.(hopefully) All reviews are incredible!

    P.S. what prompted me to contact Mrs. Heflin (and congratulations by the way. I wish you all of God’s blessings on your marriage to Mr. Heflin and your business). is that there was there were 2 attorneys on FOX News talking about a clause in a mortgage contract called an accelleration clause and one attorney asked: “What is an accelleration clause, and how does it work?” The way he said it I thought his next comment was going to be: “My my mind doesn’t understand such complex principals as accelleration clauses,the complexities of living in this world today are difficult to understand, I’m just a simple caveman lawyer, but one thing I do know is that when somone is hit with an accelleration clause…..(whatever caveman lawyer would say in that situation and win the case every time! I went into a hard laugh while scrubbing my hardwood floors, I heard it and just hat to share it with Miss Carol (if she even remembers it).Don’t knowe how we got on the subject, just remember we both got a good laugh out of it. (I must have needed Caveman Lawyer at the time) hahaha

  2. F Cook

    April 3, 2013 at 12:16 am

    A group of ladies and myself (all retired) look for unique places to go for lunch.Having heard of the Front Porch in Dickson we meet to have lunch. All of us traveled almost two hours to get there. We arrived at eleven o’clock. We had the daily special of chicken casserole and a side of squash. It had to be the worst food any of us have ever tasted, one taste is all it took. We could not decide which was worst the chicken or the squash. It could not have been freshly prepared. It was a dried out thick glob of unreconized orgin. Our server apoligized and did take the price of the squash dish from our bill. The squash was removed from the menu board. Needless to say we made a big mistake is choosing the Front Porch. We did enjoy the shops on Main Street.

    • Jessy Yancey

      April 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Hi Mrs. Cook,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your experience at the Front Porch. I’m not sure if the restaurant has new ownership since the story was published in Home & Farm three years ago, or if maybe they were just having an off day, but we appreciate you sharing your feedback for our other readers.

      Jessy Yancey
      Tennessee Home & Farm

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