Wendy Burch and Elise Loehr are to thank for the ability to dig into French comfort food, paired with a glass of French wine, without having to travel any farther than Green Hills. Seven years ago, these ladies opened Table 3 Restaurant and Market. Together, their two brains manage the restaurant, and they recently opened The Wine Market to give people a true taste of France. On any given day, Wendy can be found bussing tables, running food or handling the business of the restaurant. A Level Three Advanced Sommelier, Elise handles all things wine. These days, you will most likely find her in The Wine Market educating shoppers on the diverse selection they carry. The modern French bistro has become a neighborhood staple and a Nashville favorite. Escape reality for a moment and relish in the comfortable atmosphere at the restaurant that will quickly begin to feel like home, if it doesn’t already. Meet today’s FACES and the forces behind Table 3 Restaurant and Market, Wendy Burch and Elise Loehr.
What inspired the opening of Table 3?
Wendy: Elise and I met working at F. Scott’s in the early 1990s when we were just out of college. The opportunity to purchase F. Scott’s presented itself 10 years later, and we decide to take the plunge. F. Scott’s was a great experience. We had the opportunity and privilege to become acquainted and develop friendships with so many amazing people and families.
One of the people we met through F. Scott’s was Mark McDonald, one of the owners of the building in which Table 3 is located. Mark called me because he knew we were thinking about opening a French brasserie. The rest is history. Table 3 opened in 2010 because we felt that there was an opportunity in Nashville for a casual style restaurant offering French comfort food.
Elise: We always wanted a brasserie in Nashville. Every city in every country has one, and we kept assuming someone would open one here. When that didn’t happen, we decided we would do it. We took the idea and made it more comfortable and approachable for this area and region.
What changes has the restaurant seen in the past seven years?
Wendy: We continually try to assess and improve. We have added new programs over the years, such as curbside [takeout] and Uber Eats. We just opened The Wine Market next to the restaurant, which is a great complement to everything we do. Elise is brilliant with wine. In terms of the food, we try to make everything in-house and change the menu seasonally — although certain items like the trout and coq au vin are always on the menu. If they weren’t, there would be a revolt.
Elise: We are constantly revisiting the fact that Nashville is unlike any other market. We have to consider the market we are in and cater to the people in our community. We want to give them something they can be comfortable with, but also introduce them to something novel.
What sets your wine menu apart?
Elise: When I conceptualize a beverage list, I like to have a thematic basis. The beverage program at Table 3 was always designed to be reminiscent of a classic brasserie in France. The list is predominately French or stylistically French wines, from all over the world. I have added precise descriptions to the wines to make them accessible. A regional focus complements the food menu of regional French comfort food. The wines by the glass are the most popular. We also make beverage suggestions to pair with our dinner menu. People have so many decisions to make on a daily basis at work and home, and when they go out to dine they don’t want to have to think about anything. People tell me that they feel that they can have wine at lunch here because they are able to escape for a moment.
Tell us about the recently opened Wine Market.
Wendy: We are having a blast with The Wine Market! It has a very distinctive atmosphere; in addition to great wines, we have vintage stemware, bar enhancements and other great gifts.
Elise: The Wine Market selection has unusual wines, liquors and beers that we have been serving at Table 3 and F. Scott’s for the past 14 years, which are usually hard for customers to find. I have items here that you don’t readily see elsewhere, items that have to be shown and experienced. People know me and trust me to help them purchase great wine. Our customer is often someone who wants great wine without having to do the research.
I have a more global perspective in The Wine Market. I try to have a wide variety with everything, from a delicious modestly priced wine for $8 to something more prestigious costing $500 a bottle and everything in between. I wouldn’t buy anything I wouldn’t drink myself, and no part of the world intimidates me.
On a daily basis, we have things open for people to taste. We plan to have more scheduled tastings, and we have always welcomed scheduled private tastings that can accommodate up to 45 people.
What does it take to compete with all of the new restaurants in town?
Wendy: Our personal touch sets us apart. We put a great deal of thought and effort into everything we do. Kevin, the General Manager, has done a great job of creating a “family” working environment at Table 3. We have also developed great relationships with our customers, friends and neighbors. We care about what we do, and we hope it shows in our product.
Where can we find you when you aren’t working?
Wendy: I love to travel. I am basically working, traveling or spending time with friends.
Elise: I am running. I also have two dogs, so I try to spend as much time with my fur babies as I can. I have a friend who has a smokehouse, so I do a lot of smoking — almonds, vanilla bean pods, sea salts, herbs and spices. My days are filled.
What is the best piece of advice you have received, and from whom?
Wendy: In regards to business, my grandfather always said, “Take as many forms of payment as possible.” In regards to life in general, [my friend] Sarah Gates once told me, “Even when someone hurts you, respond in love.”
What books can be found on your bedside table?
Wendy: I usually read several books and periodicals concurrently. I am reading the One-Year Bible, which I started last year — which means I am behind. I just finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which has had a profound effect on me.
Elise: Wendy’s husband Steve gave me Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. And I am reading The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.
What are three things you can’t live without, excluding faith, family and friends?
Wendy: Well, I hope there is nothing I can’t live without, but three indulgences I enjoy are French fries, champagne and books/travel.
Elise: I am addicted to Lush, and my favorite product is Karama Cream. I am crazy about comfy shoes (you can always find me at home in my UGG boots or at work in my clogs). I am really into music, and I have a secret indulgence for nasty rap hip-hop.
Thank you, ladies. Table 3 is located at 3821 Green Hills Village Drive, Nashville, TN 37215. Learn more at table3nashville.com or (615) 739-6900. Learn more about The Wine Market at winemarketnashville.com.
Thanks to Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography for the beautiful photography.
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