This post is ALL about food so I’d suggest eating before reading as to not torture yourself. You’ve been warned. All settled? Good, let’s get started!
Nashville’s food scene changed my life, and not necessarily in a good way. You see, I didn’t have a single bad meal in Nashville. I’ve never experienced that in any city before! Not ONE bad meal. And trust me, I tried a lot of food. But I’ve been having serious withdrawals since January. Where am I supposed to get hot, fried chicken in Los Angeles? Or biscuits with sausage gravy? Or BONUTS? We’ll get to those later…
First world problems, I know. I suppose I’ll just have to visit again or move there forever, because I don’t think a person tires of the food in Nashville. Ask around, I think I’m right about this one. And thanks to the lovely locals working at Playlist Properties, who provided us with the most gorgeous apartment (full review here), we were lucky to get fabulous foodie recommendations from them. They never steered us wrong. Enough rambling, let me share some of my favorite Nashville eats!
1. Biscuit Love – 316 11th Ave S
You’ll find Biscuit Love located in The Gulch, a trendy neighborhood that’s only a few blocks from Broadway Street. Besides the awesome Nashville sign and the friendly staff, what makes this place worth the long waits?
One word: bonuts. Imagine a glorious biscuit and donut combination, topped with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote. These are on the “To Share” section of the menu and for good reason. Don’t try and eat all five bonuts in one sitting. Trust me. I could hardly handle two and I still had a plate of biscuits smothered in sausage gravy coming my way! Which, by the way, was delicious.
If possible, I’d recommend visiting on a week day or early in the morning. But either way, the lines move fast, and the biscuits are worth your time.
2. Sky Blue Cafe – 700 Fatherland St
Take a short Uber or Lyft ride over to East Nashville, where only the coolest of the cool gather. Just kidding, anyone is welcome. After all, they let me in! Just make sure to bring your appetite when you visit Sky Blue Cafe.
This place is popular with the locals and it’s easy to see why. It’s small and cozy, with a fireplace in the corner, green plants scattered throughout, and even has board games to play! But most importantly, their breakfast is incredible AND affordable!
I’d recommend any of the bowls. I ordered Em’s Bowl which comes with a giant, homemade biscuit topped with home fries, two scrambled eggs, sausage gravy (to die for), and cheese. So savory, and so filling, I could barely finish it. You’ll find this to be a common theme while eating in Nashville, or anywhere in the South! Order a glass of their fresh squeezed orange juice too, you won’t regret it.
3. Bakersfield Tacos – 201 3rd Ave S
We needed somewhere to eat after visiting Hatch Show Print in the Country Music Hall of Fame building (more on that in another post!) and a local whole heartedly recommended Bakersfield Tacos. Being from Southern California, I’m no stranger to good Mexican food so this place had a lot to live up to! Spoiler: they passed my test.
Order the street tacos or don’t even bother showing up. They’re $4 each and you’ll be full after three. I’d recommend the crispy mahi fish tacos, pork belly pastor, and the short rib. Each taco is packed with flavor and the tortillas are handmade in house. What more can you possibly want? This was the moment we realized Nashville has so much more to offer than Southern comfort food.
4. Jack’s Bar-B-Que – 416 Broadway
You’ll find Jack’s Bar-B-Que on the famous and oh-so-colorful Broadway Street. But don’t let that steer you away; this is not your typical overpriced tourist trap. If you want a casual, no frills and affordable joint that serves some damn good BBQ, then come to Jack’s. They’re not paying me to say this, but they can if they want! I’ll accept payment in the form of pulled pork, please and thank you.
I ordered the Tennessee pork shoulder plate which comes with two vegetable sides so I got mac n cheese and baked beans, of course. That’s right, mac n cheese is considered a vegetable. God bless America! If that wasn’t enough, they make their own sauces too that you can buy by the bottle and now I’m wondering why I didn’t bring some home with me.
I’m a fan of their Kansas City mild sauce which is on the sweet and smoky side but the Tennessee “Original” tangy vinegar and Texas sweet hot sauces are popular as well. We had absolutely no room left in our stomachs to order dessert but a woman was raving about their pies. Next time!
5. Whiskey Kitchen – 118 12th Ave S
Not too far from Biscuit Love, Whiskey Kitchen is also located in The Gulch neighborhood. This was the priciest place we went to but the food is worth every penny and the portions are generous. It’s popular with the after work crowd since they have a great bar and happy hour deals. If you plan on coming for dinner, I’d recommend making reservations. Now onto the food!
I wanted, no, I NEEDED to order their fried chicken according to Yelp. So it took me about 10 seconds to decide on WK’s Hot Chicken which is essentially southern-style fried chicken breast, served with green beans and creamy chipotle mac & cheese. All of this comes to $14.50 which is Nashville’s version of pricey. Those are breakfast prices in Los Angeles! My friend ordered their fire roasted salmon and absolutely loved it.
We were also lucky to visit on Tuesday when their cocktails, wine, beer, and whiskey are 2 for 1 between 4 – 10 PM. Score!
6. Hattie B’s – 112 19th Ave S
A trip to Nashville isn’t complete without visiting Hattie B’s! You’ll see it on every “Top 10 Nashville” list and hear about it from every person in town. That’s because their spicy fried chicken is what dreams are made of. Yes, more fried chicken. As if we could eat it just once on this trip!
Just accept that there will always be a line out the door when visiting Hattie B’s. There are people waiting for a reason – it’s THAT good! I went with the small white plate (the opposite of small) which includes a breast and a wing, plus two sides, bread, and pickles. You can add another side for fifty cents and your total will still come to under $10!
Their heat levels go from no heat, mild, hot, damn hot, to the hilariously named “shut the cluck up” level! I love spicy food but found that the mild was enough for me! I didn’t want to be brave, I just wanted to enjoy the chicken. Mission accomplished! Oh, and don’t leave without trying their banana pudding. It will cool your mouth down and leave you extremely satisfied.
As you can see, Nashville’s food certainly didn’t disappoint. I know it’s famously known as Music City, but it will always remain in my heart as the Best Foodie City in America… or at least in the South! I’ll get back to you on my final opinion once I’ve actually been to every state.
Which restaurant would you pick? Have you ever visited Nashville? I’d love to know in the comments below!