Bucking the System

LGBTQ owned and operated Bucky’s Bistro is continuing the Nashville area’s classic home cooked tradition of Southern cuisine, even amid the COVID-19 crisis.

As the pandemic continues, so does the number of restaurants fighting to keep their doors open. Not only have owners had to worry about safety guidelines, but also shortages in food for menu items.

The concept for the restaurant started just a year ago in March of 2019 when Selika Frasier and her wife Ashley Menard decided to fulfill their dream. Selika would take over the hands-on concept of cooking delicious food, while Ashley would take on the business aspects.

Less than one year old, Bucky’s had to close back in March when the pandemic hit and remained so for about 6 weeks throughout the month of April. In May, they were able to reopen for curbside and to-go orders. Then, they separated the tables in the dining room, closed off some to ensure safety of patrons, and adjusted hours of operation, something they never imagined they’d have to do when they opened.

Bucky’s has since opened an online ordering platform and added family meals which can be found on UberEats, Doordash, and Postmates--platforms many other Middle Tennessee restaurants say they have lost money on.

“We worked with Grubhub last year, but did not like the concept of making our own deliveries,” says partner Ashley Menard. “We have since partnered with UberEATS, DoorDash, and Postmates. We rarely receive UberEATS or Postmates. On the other hand, we receive consistent orders through DoorDash. We had to raise our prices on these platforms in order to keep up with the percentage they take.”

Grubhub went viral online in May for allegedly charging 65% fees to restaurant owners, and Uber Eats reportedly has charged restaurants up to 40% of revenue for delivery. Uber Technologies, Inc. sought to acquire Grubhub, Inc. in a March deal that would have united the two biggest players in the industry. However, Netherlands-based Takeaway.com confirmed in June that it had struck a deal to acquire Grubhub in a $7.3 billion acquisition.

Menard says they do value the advertising from those platforms and part of their regular pricing accounts for employee wages, so they just consider their percentage to be in place of wages they would otherwise pay to employees—employees they have fought hard to keep during the crisis.

“We had to almost completely restaff,” Menard says. “The employees we had in February and March are no longer working with us.”

“We pride ourselves on our catfish and burgers,” says Menard. “The All You Can Eat Catfish on Friday nights is a big hit!”


Another fan favorite that packs a mean punch would be the Bucky's Burning Bull (a burger with jalapeno and Ghost Pepper cheese, bistro sauce, and an onion ring).

“The name features ‘burning’ for the heat and the ‘bull’ for the fact that, A) it is a burger and B) bull's have those rings in their nostrils just like the burger, referring to the onion ring,” says Menard. “Another favorite is the Chickadilla, which is a chicken quesadilla with cheese, green peppers, and onions.”

Menard says both employees and patrons have consumed quite a number of Chickadillas since they opened!

The new hours for Bucky’s Bistro are Wednesday-Saturday 4PM-8PM. Guests can call (615)-766-8170 for pickup or they can order online for pickup. Guests can also order ahead for dine-in on this website. They offer curbside pick-up as well.

Thankfully, the restaurant has experienced no COVID-19 scares neither from employees nor patrons.


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