The Bradbury Bistro warms up Anderson’s Main Street with culinary delights and surprising design
“If I can populate the world, I can build a restaurant,” says Tracy Manuel, co-owner of The Bradbury Bistro in downtown Anderson. “Now, running a restaurant is a whole different thing.”
Her first foray into restaurant operations, the Bradbury Bistro, which opened on Anderson’s Main Street in late 2022, is a master class in style, hard work, and hospitality, blending Manuel’s expertise and newly acquired skills.
Principal and lead interior designer for T3M STUDIOS, Manuel earned a degree from Louisiana State University in 2015 after staying home for 16 years to raise her three children. Now, more than a dozen additional letters follow her name, all indicating various levels of design, construction, and hospitality proficiency and membership.
After distinguishing herself with various awards and accolades, she joined the design team for HGTV’s Home Town TV show in 2017 to manage design budgets on several of the overhauled homes in Laurel, Mississippi. She and her family moved to Anderson in 2019 when her husband, Bryan, assumed the role of dean of integrated workforce at Tri-County Technical College. He’s also joined in supporting the new family business from the back of house, keeping the kitchen running on busy weekends.
From design projects to managing a busy home to the new restaurant, Manuel has made a career out of juggling a variety of challenges. She’s succeeding, though, and has created an emphatically warm and charming space welcoming of all.
Jazz Brunch on Saturday mornings at the Bradbury Bistro is proof of concept. Guests are greeted by big band and jazz standards sung live by local Anderson University student Luke Riley Smith. Methodical Coffee shots are pulled fresh for each latte into delicate tea cups. Mimosas and outrageously garnished Bloody Marys are transported via silver serving trays from the bar to seated guests.
The cozy atmosphere alone is reason enough to add the Bradbury Bistro to the weekend rotation. With her specialization in architectural design, Manuel was able to craft new wood paneling and built-ins that appear as though they are original to the building. The mural landscape wallpaper, vintage wall hangings and art, wooden cafe chairs and marble-topped tables, lighting sourced primarily from Europe, and a striped-awning adorned patio transport guests to a world away, where a sophisticated cafe culture thrives. Manuel achieved that with her literal bare hands.
“People always ask me ‘Who’s your contractor?’” she says. “I cut every piece of wood in here myself.”
The Bradbury Bistro, 502 N. Main St., Ste. A, Anderson, thebradburybistro.com