Photo by Elaine Rackley: Nicole fed her husband, Ashley Coots, during their first Valentine’s Day dinner in six years. The Coots, of Jackson, spent Valentine’s Day at the French Market in Locust Grove.
A good meal, and good company, are as much a part of Valentine’s Day celebrations as candy, flowers, and gifts. The French Market & Tavern is bidding to make itself part of that tradition in Henry County, and the rest of the Southern Crescent area.
Champagne and cocktails flowed during the restaurant’s first Valentine’s celebration for its customer this week. Pink roses emitted their scent throughout the Locust Grove eatery, as pianist, Mark Radice, set the atmosphere with a variety of love songs.
“L'amour est dans l'air,” said Rick Weaver, co-owner of the restaurant. Translated, he said, it means love is in the air.
“Our customers love us, in part, for our atmosphere, it's very romantic,” said Weaver. “The French Market & Tavern draws on New Orleans, as well as French culture, for it's influences. [It] is the perfect spot to celebrate love –– the love of wine, the love of food, and the love of a significant other,” continued Weaver.
Like many eateries on Valentine’s Day, Weaver’s 260-seat restaurant required reservations, and it was sold out, and filled to the brim Tuesday night. He said walk-ins were seated at the bar on a first-come, first-served basis. The total cost of the meal was $32.95 per person. It included an appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert.
The last seating was at 9 p.m., and there were numerous walk-in couples, added the other co-owner, Lauren Weaver, who is the wife of Rick Weaver.
The Valentine’s Day menu was set. Weaver said many of those who attended dined on the specialty of the night, salmon and the creamy spinach alfredo and chicken roulade.
Mandel and Erica Reese, of Jonesboro, said they enjoyed dinner out on Valentine’s Day. They have been married for 11 years. The French Market & Tavern was recommended to them by a friend. “The best thing about being here tonight is the time we get to spend together,” said Mandel Reese.
Patrick and Aimee Marchman have also been married for 11 years. The couple is from Jackson, Ga., and have three children, Parker, 10, Lillie, 6, and Maddie, 5. They said they try to go out to dinner every year to celebrate Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day 12 years ago, they said, they declared their love for each other, for the first time.
“Your marriage needs attention, you need to take time to nurture your marriage,” said Aimee Marchman. “When you have kids, it’s easy to get caught up in taking care of them, and not each other. But, a good marriage is the best thing you can do for your kids.” Her parents, Brenda and Fred Hall, have been married for more than 40 years. His parents, Larry and Beverly Marchman, have been married for 35 years.
Also among the diners Tuesday, were Roan and Jodi Berry, of Jackson, along with Ashley and Nicole Coots. Jodi Berry picked the eatery for the special dinner. “I chose it because of the atmosphere here,” said Jodi Berry. She and her husband will celebrate 17 years of marriage on Saturday. The Coots said the Valentine’s Day dinner is the first one they have enjoyed in the last six years.
James and Darlene Benson, of Locust Grove, have been married for 28 years. He said he normally gives his wife flowers. “But, this year, I got jewelry, roses, dinner and chocolate from my 2-year-old grandson, Tucker, ” laughed Darlene Benson.
“It’s nice to have something like this in town,” said James Benson. “The food here is awesome, and the people are friendly.”