The area in Nashville named Historic Germantown was developed in the 1840's. A strong German community dwelled in this neighborhood until World War II. Germantown, also once known as "Butchertown" because of several area meat markets, is the oldest residential neighborhood in Nashville. It has a long history of mixed use - where homes and businesses thrived together. In 1889, atwo-story retail structure was built in the heart of Germantown; its exterior was brick and terracotta with hardwood interior floors. The Neuhoff family, original owners of the building, operated a small meat market on this lot. The Neuhoff's also owned a meat-packing plant on the riverfront, where all the meat sold at the market was packaged. The family lived in the upstairs apartment until they outgrew their four-room home; they then built the house next door at 1237 Sixth Avenue North.During the 1900's, many older residents remember this corner as many different businesses: a grocery store called "Fehr Brothers," a pharmacy, and at one time, it has been told, a second-hand clothing store. Past residents of Germantown tell stories of working for the pharmacy or the grocery, or having groceries delivered to them. Others say the first telephone in the neighborhood was in this building.
The building became the victim of disrepair in the 1970's and was abandoned for almost one decade. Nancy & Rock Hardaway purchased and restored this buildingin the early 1980's and lived in the upstairs apartment. The Hardaways then sold it to Bill & Ginger Parra. Bill & Ginger opened a restaurant called "Chefs onCommand," a critically successful venue. After the unexpected death of her husband, Ginger closed the restaurant.
In 1989, exactly 100 years after the building was erected, Craig and Marcia Jervis opened their restaurant and catering service, "The Mad Platter". Through the years,the quaint little restaurant began to gain much praise and recognition. "Word-of-mouth" seemed to become the biggest form of advertisement, although some guests told Craig and Marcia that they wanted The Mad Platter to remain their "little secret". None-the-less, the addition of the new Bicentennial Mall two blocks away from the restaurant in 1996, as well as the diversity and strong community involvement and development in Germantown, keeps proving that Nashville's best kept secret is getting around.
The Mad Platter's continued success has been strengthened by many honors, including a mention and a star in a Frommer book featuring Nashville and Memphis; 1994, 1995 and 1996 Awards of Excellence from the Wine Spectator; Food critic Kay West's favorite place to dine in l995 (Nashville Scene); and Best Restaurant in Nashville by The Nashville Scene Reader's Poll, 1996, just to name a few.
The Mad Platter Restaurant & Catering is an owner-operated business with a changing daily menu, a revolving local art display, and white linen clothed antique tables with fresh flowers from the back garden. Many of the fresh herbs the chefs use are also grown in the garden, which is part of a larger designated community Arboretum.