Paradise Park Trailer Resort – First night in Nashville, check out the honky tonk bars on Lower Broadway where Nashville meets Vegas (note, they are a bit crowded, and the lines can be obnoxious, but the music is usually really good). You can’t beat the veggie burger and fries at Paradise Park Trailer Resort. 411 Broadway
Robert’s Western World – Really into the music and don’t want to traipse across the street to Paradise Park? Take your life (stomach) into your own hands and go for the “Recession Special” with an ice-cold PBR, a Fried Bologna Sandwich and a bag of chips for just $5. Or, just go for the chips and a locally crafted beer.
Husk – Owner/co-chef Sean Brock is red hot (just Google his name), and he deserves much credit for helping resurrect crops in the Southeast and celebrating Southern cuisine. I admire his passion e.g. he just went to Senegal and cooked with housewives to better understand the origins of low-country dishes like gumbo. The restaurant is housed in the late nineteenth century home of a former Nashville mayor. We had the best seats in the house when I went – in the corner of the glassed-in dining room overlooking the culinary garden (note, I got the impression the garden might be more for show when the woman I spoke with who is in charge of the garden told me the plant hardiness zone in Nashville is the same as in Maine – nope, we’re a 4/5 and they’re a 6). I should have asked about the tables, they were beautiful and my guess either handcrafted and/or made of salvaged wood. The plates are made by local potter Caroline Cercone. Go for brunch! Menu changes daily. 37 Rutledge St.
To drink. If you want a jolt go for the Buddy Holly (Bourbon vanilla syrup, cane sugar coca cola, orange peel, and salt). I don’t know what cane sugar cocoa cola is, but I’ll tell you that drink and the White Lily Biscuits with Black Pepper and HUSK Sausage Gravy are why I’m going back there every time I go to Nashville. A-mazing! I also had and enjoyed the Carolina Rice Griddle Cakes (c.1875) with HUSK Pimento Cheese; and MS Catfish, Cooked Over Embers, Brewster Oats, Farmer Dave’s Greens, Tomato-Cornmeal Gravy.
The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Burger Garden in East Nashville (or as the locals call it “East Nasty”) – They use 100% Tennessee-raised beef in their burgers. Let’s be clear you have to really, really try to have bad food in Nashville and this place is about as good as it gets. The burger and tater tots are delicious. Don’t take my word for it, check out UrbanSpoon, TripAdvisor…or just ask the locals. They’ll tell you!
731 Mcferrin Avenue
If you have room afterwards (good luck with that, especially if you go for a milkshake or beers) check out Las Paletas and their Mexican-inspired popsicles. Flavors are creamy (nutella) or fruit (watermelon). 12th Avenue *Go here while you are in town, even if it means making a trip back. The little shop is just down the road from the church of denim Imogene Willie and other fun shops. (see my Nashville Sourcebook: SHOP once I’ve created it later this week)
Puckett’s – Good Southern food. Walking distance from The Country Music Hall of Fame. It’s recommend by local sources to go off hours, as it can be busy. I don’t know, the place seemed pretty big to me, and I was in town during the Country Music Awards – but we did go off hours so maybe there’s something to that. Quick service and big portions (at least I thought so) = exactly what this gal needed after walking around the above said museum for a couple hours. I was, as my friend put it “Hangry” and needed food, the place worked. 500 Church St.
Fido in Hillsboro Village – Is it really possible in-between all the meat, I found the best vegetarian salad of my life (or at least near best)!? I got the Big Chop 9 (Red, yellow and poblano peppers, red onion, white cabbage, golden raisins, croutons, avocado, blue cheese, lemon-sultans dressing). Loved the deep booths and the hipster vibe was kind of fun. Note, it’s the place Taylor Swift was photographed dating that guy. 1812 21st Ave. S.,
Check out Book (wo)man across the street. Cookbook section is pretty big and there are spiral bound gems from Junior Leagues and the like to be found. If you have cash, use it here.
Martins Bar-B-Que Joint – Staying with friends, take it home. In a hotel, okay eat there. The ambiance is entertaining while standing in line, but the “vibe” doesn’t last beyond that. I recycle and reuse bottles, compost…. but there’s just something about Southern barbecue in styrofoam containers. I don’t know what it is, but in my experience it’s always good. Martins has been serving up barbecue for years in Nolensville, just across the Nashville line in Williamson County.
Cantina Laredo – a more casual option for dining in the trendy Gulch area of town. If you are going to hear music at the Station Inn (see my Nashville Sourcebook: DO once I’ve created it later this week), it’s a short walk away. 592 12th Avenue S.
Farmers’ Market go for the restaurants and shops. 900 Rosa L Parks Blvd.
Prince’s Hot Chicken and Mas Tacos Por Favor – I didn’t get to either, and both are at the top of my list next visit.
Want to get caffeinated? I’ll go back to both of these next time I’m in town. Love them.
Crema – good coffee, laid back/cool atmosphere, killer view of downtown. 15 Hermitage Ave.
Coffee Lunch – best chai latte in town. 300A 10th Avenue South (see pic)
Fox’s Donut Den in Green Hills neighborhood. What can I say, when you are friends with a food writer (my host along w/ her uber talented graphic designer hubbie who also loves good food) you are led to places like this – completely out of the way, and the real deal for really good donuts (are you looking at my picture!?) 3900 Hillsboro Road
Loveless Café – On the edge of Southwest Nashville – If you have time, this is a quintessential tourism stop. Note, it is a completely different experience than one you might expect if familiar with the cookbook Desserts From the Famous Loveless Cafe. I had grilled catfish, green fried tomatoes and black-eyed peas (loved the peas!). *They are famous for their biscuits (they are good, but famous?) and they like to ply them on you (they are good). 8400 Highway 100
Waffle Boss is Nashville’s first and only Chicken & Waffle Food Truck. Their menu is pretty straight forward – you pick from Buttermilk, “Hot,” or Grilled chicken, and add your choice of a Red Velvet, original, or Birthday Cake waffle. Check their Facebook page to see where they are on any particular day.
Take it home with you:
Nashville Toffee Company’s Almond Toffee is gooood!
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams ships! I’m thinking a pint of their Grapefruit Frozen Yogurt is the way to go. *Note you have to order four pints for shipping.
A copy of The Nashville Cookbook: Specialties of the Cumberland Region by the Nashville Area Home Economics Association. The Beverages chapter is my favorite with Tea Punch and the Beaten Biscuits those are happening. Plus, the book dedicates several pages to the Tennessee’s historic landmarks e.g. The Ryman Auditorium and The Sam Davis home.
Anson Mills (founder Glenn Roberts is a food hero of mine) – Husk features several of their products (I currently have several in my freezer).