Yada on Franklin, an Italian-inspired restaurant at 111 Franklin St. in downtown Clarksville has re-opened its doors to diners as it continues its downtown delivery and curbside services.

Restaurant owner Darla Knight said the Italian eatery also delivers hundreds of free meals to seniors throughout the week with funding from a governmental grant that pays Yada $10 a meal to be delivered to areas with senior residents. 

With help from a grant from the Greater Nashville Regional Council, Yada employees box up lunches twice a week in May and June and deliver to folks 60 and older at the condos on Abby Lynn Circle and also Channing Place. 

One meal delivered last week included homemade spaghetti and a large meatball, a spring-mix salad served with Yada’s homemade creamy Italian dressing and a freshly baked roll. 

In April, a grant from Montgomery County enabled Yada to deliver lunches to various employees deemed essential, who were not able to shut down, which was helpful when the restaurant transitioned from 30 employees to six in less than a week once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

“I did not find these grants, but these grants found me by way of Mayor Jim Durrett,” Knight said. “The grant was through the Community Health Foundation of Montgomery County and allowed us to feed essential workers.” 

Lunches were served to offices, including the ones open at the courthouse, the parks and recreation department, workers at the 911 center and also EMS workers. 

 

Yada on Franklin’s history 

In 2016, Knight said she bought a coffee shop with no idea it would lead to a full-time restaurant service. 

“My daughter was a year out of college, and so I bought the coffee shop to help her launch her career as an entrepreneur,” Knight said. “We continued to grow, so we opened our new facility on Franklin Street in October of last year.” 

The building was renovated to a restaurant by retrofitting it with a kitchen, according to Knight. 

“We brought in a wood-fired pizza oven from Italy, and it made it through our double doors shy of an inch,” Knight said. “When you walk in our doors and look all the way to the back of the building, you will see our oven.” 

In addition to daughter, Morgan, who currently works in real estate, Knight’s husband, Michael, helps with the business, but it’s general manager Alicia Brewer that Darla Knight said is the heartbeat of the restaurant and keeps things running smoothly. 

Michael Knight is a retired contractor and built each piece of the reconstructed space, including the bar and every table inside. 

“We have historical posts still located in the restaurant, which we sanded down,” Knight said. “We chose not to paint them because once sanded, we exposed some 100 years of history. Customers who dine here will often comment they remember them.” 

Yada on Franklin serves breakfast, lunch and dinner six days a week. Customers can order bagels for breakfast and sandwiches at lunch. Italian-style cicchetti is served at dinner. 

The eatery re-opened its dining room last week, and seats 40 to a business that typically seats nearly 100. 

Yada is open Mondays through Thursdays from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m., Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. 

Visit Yada on Facebook or at yadaonfranklin.com.

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