Just a few of our awesome employees..

A few weeks ago it was Employee Appreciation Week in Downtown Nashville, put on by the Nashville Downtown Partnership. It's a week full of activities intended to celebrate the people that make our downtown district tick. In honor of this week, we featured a few of our amazing employees at our downtown Nashville location over on the Puckett's Blog. I just loved reading these, so I had to share them.

Brianna Dills

Brianna Dills

Brianna Dills has been at Puckett’s for just six months, but Billy Hearn, Kitchen Manager at 5th & Church, already refers to her as a “rockstar line cook.”

“Brianna started out as dishwasher here at Puckett’s, but very quickly we saw that she was eager to learn and do more,” Hearn said. “Brianna learned a few stations on the line and excelled at all of them. She now can run any station and is always a positive motivating presence. She is one of those employees that you appreciate and makes everyone’s day a little better just for having worked with her.” read more about Brianna!

Deb Ayeta

Deb Ayeta

Deb, along with her husband and their two daughters, relocated to Nashville from Colorado because they were inspired by the agriculture.

“We moved to Nashville to find our way to buying a piece of land to build a farm on and retire with something to leave the kids and to help the environment,” Deb said.

Deb said she loves how fast-paced Puckett’s is and that there is never a dull moment in downtown Nashville. read more about Deb!

Autumn Friese

Autumn Friese

As General Manager, Autumn Friese keeps Puckett’s 5th & Church running smoothly, even in the midst of all the hustle and bustle that comes with being located downtown. In fact, she’s the best manager around. It’s true–she’s got the award to prove it!

In June 2016, Autumn was named “Restaurant Manager of the Year” at the Greater Nashville Hospitality Association Stars of the Industry Awards.

No stranger to the restaurant business, Autumn spent her summers working in her mother’s restaurant in Northern Michigan, learning the ins-and-outs of the business. 


xx Claire

When you're on the Inc 5000 list for the third year in a row

For the past three years, our little family company has landed itself on the Inc 5000's list of fastest growing privately held companies. This year we hit #653 with a three-year growth percentage of 598%. That's not a typo.

While we certainly celebrate and marvel at this feat, and mostly simply find it unbelievable, it comes with its own set of worries. Top of my Worry List is always our company culture. The family that we've built at our restaurants with our associates is the most important thing to me and what I feel the most protective of as we continue to grow. Naturally, neither Andy nor I are able to spend the one on one time that we used to with our teams as we now have well over 500 employees across eight units, with three more on the way in 2017. While I do spend a lot of time in each of our restaurants, and I personally know a lot of our staff and all of our managers, I felt like Our Story was starting to sound a whole lot like a long game of telephone. Gone are the days where every team member can learn about our history and who we are as people and as a family straight from the horse's mouth.

I would be lying if I said this didn't make me a little sad. 

I recently read (or heard?) something about Danny Meyer whose book Setting the Table influenced me greatly in my early twenties as I transitioned from restaurant job to restaurant career. His restaurant group Union Square Hospitality has twelve restaurants (and growing) in the NYC area and one in Chicago, to my understanding. Oh and he's also the founder of Shake Shack, no biggie. According to the article (or podcast?), he still conducts history and culture training for his new employees on a regular basis. I don't even know for sure if this continues to be accurate, but it was a light bulb moment for me. 

I've set about the task of putting together a presentation that covers our history, our people and our culture for all new employees that I will be conducting monthly when I get back from maternity leave in January. It also occurred to me that we have many current associates that haven't heard this information (as I sat in one of our restaurants and heard one of our servers tell a totally inaccurate story about our origins) so I'm also in the midst of making the rounds to each location and re-training each team. It took a lot of time to put together the presentation (thanks Lindsay for your help!) but it was really fun going through all the photos and walking down memory lane a bit. And it's been even more fun to share it with our teams and connect our story to theirs more directly. 

Here's some of the photos I dug up:


xx Claire

Pregnancy Round 2: What I'm doing differently

 This article was first posted on 12th & Broad, but I got so much feedback on it that I wanted to make sure it was posted here on the blog as well. 

One of the things I keep thinking during this second pregnancy is I’m so glad that I’m not a first timer again.

Don’t get me wrong, being a first time preggie is amazing, exhilarating, and one of the most exciting things that can happen to someone if they go the parent route. It’s also nerve wracking, full of unknowns and questions, and frankly a little terrifying. I had a pretty good first pregnancy in that I was able to stay mobile throughout and morning sickness was at a tolerable level most of the time. That being said, by the third trimester I was enormously uncomfortable. I was also exhausted. This time around, I am feeling much better and more confident. Here are some of the things I’m doing differently this second pregnancy than I did (or didn’t do) the first time.

I'm doing regular (but light) core and strength exercises.

I should stress that I am not a super fit pregnant woman. That being said, this is seriously one of the top two things that has made the biggest difference for me in being more comfortable during round two. I gain weight like a normal person, starting with my bottom half. I honestly don’t really have the time or discipline to eat perfectly or work out constantly. But I have made a point to exercise twenty to thirty minutes for four to five days a week. Classes don’t really fit into my schedule, so I get up in the morning and do a Youtube video before getting ready for work. Yes, that means 5:00am Monday through Friday. My favorites are Bodyfit by Amy’s prenatal videos as she incorporates a lot of preggo-safe core exercises. Last time, by about 25 weeks my abdominal muscles had gotten so weak that it felt like they were going to fall out from the weight of my belly. My ribs ached constantly. This time I have more core strength to support the weight and I’m 34 weeks with little discomfort (in that area). I also gained over 60 pounds last time, and this time I’ve cut that in half to date. Chasing a toddler helps this, too.

I’m going to a chiropractor. 

This one rivals the core exercises for number one difference-maker. I started going to a chiropractor a few months before I got pregnant again because my neck and shoulder hurt so badly that I couldn’t sleep. I had such great results that when I found out that I was expecting, I kept going. Now that I’m well over halfway there, holy cow can I tell a difference! Last time, I simply accepted the fact that my back and hips would intensely ache from all the pressure and changes happening in my body. This time, with the help of a chiropractor, I now know that there is such a thing as relief. Not only do my neck and shoulders still feel good, but my back and hips feel much better than last time. Added bonus that my chiropractor’s table adjusts so that I can lay on my stomach. I never knew how much I’d miss that. Shout out to Dr. Harris at Berry Farms

I’m wearing comfortable shoes.

I love cute shoes just like the next girl. However, my job demands that I’m on my feet quite a bit and in closed toe shoes (restaurants and toes don’t mix). My position allows more flexibility in footwear than it used to when I was running the restaurant floor, but we just opened two new concepts (shout out to Scout’s Pub and Hattie Jane’s Creamery!) which means that I’m on my feet even more than usual. We seem to like opening restaurants when I’m pregnant as we opened Puckett’s in Columbia when I was about eight months pregnant last time. The difference this time is that I’m taking better care of my feet. My feet hurt so badly back in 2013 that I finally caved and ordered Croc ballet flats. Yes, that’s right. Crocs. It was too little too late then and my feet were so swollen. This time, if I know I have a long day then it’s either those Crocs or my Nikes, and I keep one of them in my car at all times in case I need to switch.

I pack healthy snacks.

As I mentioned earlier, I gained quite a bit of weight last time. The thing is, I thought that I was eating healthy. But in reality, my cravings had me chowing on Jell-O chocolate pudding cups and cereal, every day all day. This time, I pack healthy snacks for in between meals. It’s really important not to let yourself get hungry because that’s when you start feeling sick and dizzy. My go-tos are apples and peanut or almond butter, peaches and cottage cheese, and hummus with cucumbers.

Bubble baths and stretching.

I hardly ever take baths because we have a tiny bathtub of the plastic insert variety. It’s not sexy or particularly spa-like, but the aforementioned backaches need to be tended to so I move Hattie's bath toys out of the way, pour in a generous amount epsom salt and lavender bubble bath, and pretend. I’m also stretching constantly. Just doing regular stretches in the morning and before bed is great (focus on those hips and hamstrings!), but above is my favorite 10-minute yoga video that seems to hit all my pain points. Bonus: it’s all seated and she has a lovely accent.

My favorite Preggie Products

  • A good moisturizer for your belly - I love Nashville-made Thistle Farm’s Body Balm. It's so yummy, and bonus points for supporting a great organization. Shea butter is supposed to be amazing for stretch marks, but I missed the boat on that one the first time around... 
  • This body pillow or similar - I’m sleeping so much better since I started using it.
  • Coobie bra - Buy just one bra for your ever-changing chest. No wires, no clasps, and no smushing a la the sports bra. And they're only $20-30. Also, apparently great for nursing because of its flexibility. Best purchase hands-down.  
  • Icon Undies - enough said. I’ll be adding sister company Thinx undies after the baby. I advise you only click these links if you are a woman..
  • A heating pad for your lower back. You can get them anywhere with a pharmacy, but this is what I'm talking about