Downtown Nashville’s restaurant scene has seen unparalleled growth over the last few years, so much so that it can feel impossible to keep up with the changes. Just a few years ago, there were only a handful of great options for lunch Downtown; now, Lower Broadway bustles with celebrity-backed honky-tonks and out-of-town chain outposts. If you’re not looking to spend the afternoon in a honky-tonk or a franchise, though, a number of local Downtown restaurants are offering up the flavor and spirit of Nashville in their own unique way, too. Here’s a list of our favorite spots to grab lunch Downtown, ranging from creative global fare to traditional, down-home cooking.
Sometimes the simplest things bring the greatest joy, and when sampling Southern cuisine, that can mean biting into a fluffy, feather-light biscuit, warm from the oven and covered in butter. Biscuits may be topped with jelly, jam, pimento cheese, or covered in sausage gravy depending on where you go. They’re definitely a Southern staple and if you’re looking to try some of the best in Nashville, here’s where you want to go (in no particular order).
When you're traveling to Nashville for business, there's nothing unappealing about a regular hotel stay — standard lodging spots offer an unassuming, unsurprising space to decompress before heading to another meeting.
But when you're traveling for fun, there's an opportunity — for some of us, a compulsion — to indulge in a little more fun, staying in unique or unusual properties, personality-filled areas or locations with cool and unexpected amenities.
Different cities offer different levels of possibility on that front, but here in Nashville, we're fairly flush with fun places to stay, from historic lofts to stylish tiny homes. Looking for a more engaging place to crash for your next Nashville trip? These options below offer a lot more than a Queen bed and a Keurig machine.
Attending a Grand Ole Opry show remains on the bucket list of just about every country music fan, and a pilgrimage to the capital of Country Music is not complete without catching a performance. The Grand Ole Opry began as a radio show presented in front of a live audience right here in Nashville in 1925, and live performances continue three times a week, ramping up to almost daily performances during high season. The Opry held residence at the Ryman Auditorium downtown Nashville from 1943 until 1974, when it moved seven miles east of downtown to the Grand Ole Opry House, where it lives on today most of the year.
The Opry House sits adjacent to Opry Mills Mall and the sprawling Gaylord Opryland Hotel. For visitors staying near downtown, you can expect a 20- to 30- minute drive to the Opry, depending on traffic. The nearby mall offers a constellation of chain-dining experiences for a quick casual bite, but if you’re looking for something a little more local, we’ve compiled a list of the best spots to grab dinner before enjoying a show at the Opry. Since the Opry’s first performance of the night begins at 7 p.m., these restaurants all open early enough, offer easy parking options and quick access to the highway to simplify the jaunt out to the Opry.
One of Tennessee’s trademark qualities: its fickle weather. And this winter in Nashville, we’ve been wildly swinging from T-shirts to sweaters, from spring-y mojitos to warm-up coffee cocktails, in particularly spectacular form.
Over the past few weeks of heavy-jacket weather, we’ve found ourselves thinking about places to eat in Nashville that offer an extra serving of cozy. Lots of design/concept attributes can lend to cozy vibes — low lighting, healthy use of velvet seating, rustic wood wall cladding, lots of menu items drenched in duck fat. But really, to us, the best way to bring the cozy — whether you’re in a Nashville restaurant or a Nashville home — is to offer a roaring (or at least crackling) fire to sit by.
Below, a few of the Nashville restaurants we turn to when we’re in search of cozy comfort, from 12 South to East Nashville. Next time you’re searching for places to eat in Nashville that’ll let you curl up by a warm fire while enjoying solid food and cocktails, we’d encourage you to give one/more a try.
Nashville is known for dishing out a good time, but locals and tourists alike know that if you want to keep up with Music City’s pace without blowing your budget, you need to strategically stretch your dollars. That’s where Nashville’s best happy hours come in.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best happy hour deals in Nashville for each day of the week. As much as we’d all love to plan in advance, sometimes post-workout meal-prep plans deteriorate into sips and snacks at your favorite local watering hole. Should the need arise, our guide should help, no matter which (or how many) days of your week shift into a friendly catch-up over drinks.
Yes, Nashville’s a Southern city, but we do get our fair share of frigid weather. Thankfully, numerous winter-menu offerings can be found throughout the city, ready to warm you up when the cold snaps hit.
Whether it’s drizzling outside or that impermeable fog is hovering again, nothing cuts through a bad-weather haze quite like a warm meal. That’s why we brought help: Below, some painstakingly researched thoughts on where to eat in Nashville if you’re in need of serious wintertime comfort food. Put the kettle on, peruse our our favorite cozy, wintertime dishes, and plot out your plans to escape the winter blues.
What with the third weekend of February being National Margarita Weekend, we have a few crisp, citrusy tequila cocktails in our future. Inclined to add the same plan to your calendar? Let’s make those good ones.
Finding the best margaritas in Nashville is, of course, as subjective as any other food or drink choice. But since we’ve explored a healthy share of Nashville restaurants and bars, we have a pretty solid bead on where you’ll get the right stuff in the margarita universe: good tequila, fresh citrus, a confident balance and, if you’re into it, a fair share of creativity and maybe a little bit of spice. Your favorites may vary, but these’ll certainly satiate you in the midst of a margarita weekend.
Below, some of our main-squeeze Nashville margaritas:
Inspired to get to know Nashville — and its food — better? We tend to think that Walk Eat Nashville walking food tours are among the best ways to do so, and in the spirit of the Valentine’s season, we’re sharing a little love, in the form of a food tour gift certificate giveaway.
We’re offering a chance to win a $150 Walk Eat Nashville walking food tour gift certificate, which’ll cover two guests’ attendance at the walking food tour of your choice — East Nashville, Downtown/SoBro or Midtown/Vanderbilt, on the available date of your choice.
Whether you’re researching your first trip to Nashville or you’ve visited a thousand times, chances are you’ve heard about Nashville Hot Chicken. A local favorite-turned-national obsession, Nashville Hot Chicken — if done correctly — will scorch and satiate your taste buds with a bold and balanced mix of heat and flavor.
Most locals will happily indulge you in a debate over their favorite spot in town, and whose cayenne kick is the spiciest. For those not yet baptized by fire: Proper conversational etiquette regarding Nashville Hot Chicken typically follows a formula. First, you’ll mention your preferred local institution, followed by the heat level you order. This allows you to size up your comrades instantly, both in their selection and tolerance.
While opinions on whose bird is best will differ, one thing is consistent: You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone that orders the hottest chicken at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, a beloved local institution and the pioneer of Nashville Hot Chicken almost a century ago. The same tends to go for the peak-hot “Shut the Cluck Up” at Hattie B’s, a comparative newcomer and a favorite amongst tourists and locals alike.
If you’ve been to Nashville before and have already hit up the regular spots, or if a full meal’s worth of Hot Chicken feels like biting off a bit more than you can chew at the moment, you can still find ways to get surprised and satisfied by Nashville’s trademark dish. Here are six of our favorite innovative, inspired Nashville Hot Chicken dishes, from restaurants all across the city:
Pimento Cheese is a culinary institution in the South, sitting on a pedestal in between sweet tea and cornbread. Ask anyone who grew up below the Mason-Dixon line, and they’ll share memories of their grandma combining grated cheddar, a heap of mayonnaise and a jar of pimentos into a popular potluck dip.
These days, Nashville chefs are elevating pimento cheese with better cheeses, less mayo and often smoked spices, making it a can’t-miss component of local menus. With National Cheese Lover’s Day coming up on January 20, it felt like a fitting time to point toward some of Nashville’s best takes on this Southern staple. Whether atop a burger, adorning a hot dog or stuffed inside a sandwich or beignet, these seven Nashville dishes do pimento cheese right.
In 2019, brunch is as pervasive on Nashville’s culinary landscape as bachelorettes are on Broadway. And done right, brunch in Nashville is an activity, not a meal — an action verb usually posed in present tense.
In a city where brunch has become ubiquitous, it can be easy to drown in the sea of possibilities — the best brunches Nashville has to offer can range from a hole-in-the-wall dive in East Nashville (honorable mention, Dino’s) to the city’s ritziest, “see and be seen” rooftop restaurants in The Gulch (looking at you, L.A. Jackson), and everything in between.
To eliminate the guesswork, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the best brunch spots in Nashville, and included some brunch dishes you can’t go wrong with.
Walk Eat Nashville is expanding, taking its popular walking food tours into a second neighborhood--Midtown.
The new Midtown tours follow the same format as the existing Historic East Nashville tours: six tasting stops over three hours paired with a 1.5-mile leisurely walk. During the tour, guests interact with chefs and sample some of the flavors turning Nashville into the new culinary capital of the South.
“Nashville’s culinary roots took hold in Midtown a generation ago,” said Karen-Lee Ryan, Walk Eat Nashville Founder & Owner. “It’s still home to long-standing destinations and impressive newcomers. Midtown is filled with great food--and lots of interesting stories.”
As a former journalist, Ryan enjoys sharing details about local landmarks and lore between restaurant tastings. Her new tour meanders through the “Rock Block” and the Vanderbilt campus before skirting Music Row.
The Midtown walking food tours take place Saturdays from 1:30-4:30 p.m. and feature the following locations: Mason’s, Elliston Place Soda Shop, Tavern, Midtown Cafe, Gigi’s Cupcakes and Union Common.
East Nashville tours run 1:30-4:30pm Thursdays and 11a.m.-2 p.m. Fridays. Stops include places such as Lockeland Table, Marché Artisan Foods, Five Points Pizza, Edley’s East and Chocolate F/X.
Tickets cost $49 per person, which includes six tastings and an engaging tour guide. Advance purchase is required. For additional information, call 615-587-6138.