A Local’s Guide to Where to Eat and Drink in Nashville
By Rebecca Crump
You don’t need to remind those of us who live here that Nashville is home to some of the best country music—especially when the annual Country Music Awards roll around, honoring some of the city’s finest in the business. But awards season or not, Nashville is also a foodie destination, packed with mouth-watering options for barbecue, hot chicken and meat-and-threes (a Southern restaurant serving one meat dish and three sides of your choosing). Wanna eat out in jeans and a T-shirt? You’ll feel right at home at any one of these local spots:
Arnold’s Country Kitchen
Thick slices of roast beef, fried green tomatoes that spark high-fives and fat wedges of chocolate pie—these are just some of the treasures at one of Nashville’s favorite meat-and-threes. Grab a tray, call out your choices and pray there’s still lemonade in the pitcher at the end of the line. Lunch only.
Chef Tandy Wilson specializes in Italian with twang. Think house-made belly ham pizza, house-cured meats, fresh pasta, creative cocktails and a killer cookie plate.
This one’s a crowd-pleaser, with some of the city’s best brisket and ribs, as well as BBQ nachos, fried catfish and wings. Grab a Yazoo brew at the bar and dine outside on the porch.
A favorite for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Fido is known for its coffee bar and an ever-changing, seasonal menu. Try the Local Burger, the fish tacos or Taylor Swift’s recommendation as seen in Rolling Stone: the granola and yogurt parfait
Gabby’s Burgers & Fries
This green-and-gold burger joint near the Sounds’ stadium uses only grass-fed beef. Don’t miss the sweet potato fries, and leave room for a shake with house-made syrup.
Hot & Cold
Is your sweet tooth aching? Come here for hot-and-cold combos featuring Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Las Paletas gourmet Mexican popsicles, melted Olive and Sinclair Chocolate and Bongo Java coffee. Your sweet tooth will thank you.
Marché Artisan Foods
This European-style café serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with can’t-miss choices like croissant French toast, a butternut squash tart and pan-roasted hanger steak.
Monell’s in Germantown
The next best thing to Granny’s, Monell’s serves up Southern food, family-style. This laid-back joint is all-you-can-eat, with fried chicken at every meal. (P.S. Pass the bowls to your left.)
Nashville Farmers’ Market
Not sure what you want? Come to the Market House and shop an impressive variety of offerings, including grits, on-site-smoked meats, pulled pork sandwiches, Jamaican jerk chicken, johnny cakes and the ever-popular cake pop truffles.
I think of this as where Nashville has breakfast. Go for the best-selling sweet potato pancakes topped with cinnamon cream syrup and a side of country bacon. Mercy.
The Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden
Whether you’re craving burgers and shakes or beer and brats, East Nashville’s new Pharmacy has you covered. Try the Farm Burger piled high with thin-cut country ham, bacon, a fried egg and maple mustard.
Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
Brave of heart? Sound of stomach? You’ve got to try Nashville’s original hot chicken. It’s not just spicy; it’s a highly addictive, cayenne-red reckoning. Start with mild or medium.
5 Legendary Country Music Sights
1. The Bluebird Café
2. Country Music Hall of Fame
3. Grand Ole Opry
4. Hatch Show Print
5. Ryman Auditorium
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Rebecca Crump is a Nashville-based writer. Her food blog, Ezra Pound Cake, was named one of the “Top 10 Writer’s Websites of 2009” by Writer’s Digest.