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Northtown historic building transforms into unique restaurant

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This building dates back to 1905 and will transform into Crossroads Bistro and Ale. Two local women have partnered to restore the building and turn it into a farm to table, unique restaurant experience. LAURIE EVERETT / The Wilson Post

A historic building in the heart of Mt. Juliet's Northtown District is primed to be Crossroads Bistro and Ale.

The building dates back to the early 1900s and has been a fire hall, grocery store, flower shop and other venues for those in Mt. Juliet through the many years. The upper floor has been home to a local ballet studio in the recent past. The building stands as a sentry to the city's north district.

Local entrepreneurs Lee Ann Merritt and Angel Zaffino have partnered to renovate the unique and historic building that sits by the railroad tracks. They say it will be Mt. Juliet's most unique restaurant and will maintain the integrity and nostalgia of the ancient two-story building, but integrate a modern, farm to table, fresh-only fare on its menu. They plan to have outside seating and a potential balcony that fronts Mt. Juliet Road, along with a "just discovered" fireplace. Merritt said the area would morph into a New-Orleans-type ambiance, but totally Mt. Juliet.

"We are in the formation stage of the venture, but totally going for the gold on the project," said Merritt.

She said there's a possibility of a wine cellar in the old building as well.

When the two women met, they clicked and the journey began. Zaffino has experience in the restaurant business and is a counselor at a Watertown school. Merritt has business management experience.

"We definitely didn't want a bar that served drinks," Merritt said. "But, rather a restaurant that serves drinks. The idea evolved into a family-friendly, unique place for people to frequent, unwind and enjoy historic Mt. Juliet."

The biggest brand of the upcoming restaurant is it's fresh fare with a varied menu that offers locally grown vegetables, tasty appetizers and a lunch and dinner menu. There will be a special salmon menu item and offerings will change with the seasons.

Their chef has years of experience.

"We are completely renovating the building, but keeping the important elements such as the ceiling slats and flooring," Merritt said. "It's going to be so cool, we are trying to find the best balance and maintain the charm and bring in elegance."

Another element will be the inclusion of craft fairs on site to showcase local artisans.

They hope to open as soon as possible and ignite Northtown.

Writer Laurie Everett can be contacted at

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