This was our second visit to 'Next Door' and it is fast becoming a favorite of ours.
On our first visit we arrived late in the evening on the spur of the moment without reservations. The hostess kindly asked the kitchen it they would cook for us since they had officially just ended service. They did and we enjoyed a couple of cocktails and the wonderful Fig / Goat Cheese / Pear pizza that is raved about in earlier reviews.
This second time we came at the beginning of the evening and fully armed with advance reservations.
Upon arrival there is "free" valet parking. Very prompt and very courteous. If valet parking is not your cup of tea look for a lot in a business across the street (a bank is directly across the road) but be aware some business frown upon this.
Entering the front one passes through a lovely converted front porch like area that has well set tables and some sofa seating with a fireplace at the ends. Quite romantic and would be a wonderful place to hang out in the fall or winter months.
Inside the decor is simple and uncluttered appearing - in a mediterranean Taverna style. The few wall and light fixtures are very well selected and attractive. The bar is to the immediate left and the table seating to the right.
Both times we visited the wait staff was outstanding. Very professional, knowledgeable, and patient. They are also willing to engage in conversation and light hearted banter if desired, but do not otherwise intrude on the table. Unlike some restaurants where the servers try to be your new BFF, constantly interrupting every five minutes to ask "Do you find your ... to your liking this evening?".
Among the five of us we had the soups; salads; Tagliatelle with Ragù alla Bolognese; Spaghetti Nero alla chitarra with shrimp and grouper; and Oven Roasted Springer Mountain Chicken with panzanella and heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers. All were superb.
The only mild disappointment was with the desserts. We tried several different ones and although good they were not up to the standards of the savory plates.
'Next Door' is owner and Chef Ben Berryhill's second venture. He also owns and manages the neighboring 'Red Drum Restaurant' - also excellent.
To be honest, I prefer this more casual and eclectic setting and menu. A real winner.
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