Where to Eat and Play in Nashville

by Pamela

Where to Eat and Play in Nashville

Nashville is a city with lots to see and do. Here’s a list of places to eat and play when you’re in the city of Nashville.

Nashville’s not the biggest city in the nation…the state capitol of Tennessee had a population of 684,410 as of 2016. But it’s got one of the biggest entertainment streets you’ll find anywhere. Broadway, specifically lower Broadway, has a HUGE assortment of bars/clubs, boot shops and souvenir shops. At all hours of the night and day you’ll hear bands playing music of all sorts. Mostly country and honky tonk, but occasionally you’ll hear some top 40 coming from the singers.

We recently went to Nashville to hang out and see what all the talk was about, regarding Nashville, and boy did we have a good time. Not only did we have a great time, but we had some amazing food as well. I thought I would share some of our trip with you so you can tuck these places into your travel book when you visit.

First stop for us was the Hermitage (Andrew Jackson’s house). It was a pretty hot day, but thankfully overcast so we didn’t completely roast. We visited the house and toured the museum and spent about 90 minutes there. It’s on the way from the airport to downtown Nashville so we thought we should probably make a visit. It was fine. Nothing earth shattering. Then it was on to lunch.

Our first encounter with Nashville food was fantastic! We stopped at a place called Tavern. On the weekends, be prepared for a little wait, but seating is available both inside and out. There’s free valet, but if you don’t want to wait there’s a pay parking lot (that’s not too expensive) right next door. Just make sure you put your paid parking receipt on your dash or you’ll get a ticket. As Craig learned when we were done with brunch.

Tavern Restaurant in Nashville

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons you can get brunch from Tavern. I got a house made white sangria and a turkey BLT. I had to get the BLT because 1 – it was on pretzel bread…which I love, and 2 – it’s tomato season and I knew the tomatoes on that sandwich were going to be devine…AND.THEY.WERE. Of course there was bacon too. Craig got the pain perdu and a cucumber Mary (which is made with cucumber infused vodka). As a side, he got the white trash hash which is made up of tator tots and cheese and is so so good. The day we were there we got a wooden coin for 2 for 1 which gave us two cocktails for the price of one. I don’t know if they do that all the time. They definitely do it on Thursdays from 2-10pm.

Turkey BLT from Tavern Restaurant in Nashville

Thankfully, I made later dinner reservations for that night. Every once in a while I make a half way smart decision. I knew we’d be eating lunch later, so I booked us a later dinner at The Treehouse. This little restaurant is outside of downtown right by a residential area. In fact, we had to park and walk to the restaurant because the neighborhood was having a huge block party the weekend we were in town. I only wish we had gotten there earlier to take part in the block party…it looked like fun. Even with the late reservation (and I recommend you have a reservation as this place isn’t huge and it’s very popular), I still wasn’t very hungry. So I opted for the yellowtail ceviche and it was delicious. It was topped with shaved cantaloupe, serrano chiles and marigold petals.

Yellowtail Ceviche from Treehouse Restaurant in Nashville

Craig opted for the braised fairytale eggplant, which totally surprised me since he usually gravitates toward meat. But I think he was still pretty full from lunch too. The eggplant was cooked in such a way that you really felt like you were eating a piece of meat and not eggplant. It was delicious. We split a dessert then it was time to hit the bars of Nashville.

We wandered up and down Broadway popping our heads into different places and trying to decide on where to go. It’s not an easy choice when there are so many great places to choose from. The other thing about the bars in Nashville is that many of them have multiple floors with different entertainment on each floor.

Famous Saloon in Nashville

On a friends recommendation, we went into the Famous Saloon honky tonk. This place has four floors of music. Thurs through Sunday they’ve got a DJ on the roof that plays current music so we managed to find two great seats on the perimeter of the floor, got ourselves a drink and settled in for a night of beautiful views of the city, a little dancing and some serious people watching. The music was great (I know…it wasn’t country or honky tonk music) and it was good first day.

Husk Restaurant in Nashville

The next day we slept in late and got ready to go to brunch at Husk, Nashville. Husk has gained fame for its Southern dishes served at its Charleston location, but opened in a historical house in Nashville recently. It’s located just south of downtown and we could walk there from our hotel. Of course it was a hot and steamy day and the walk was all uphill to get there. But so worth it.

Country Breakfast Platter from Husk Restaurant in Nashville

Several glasses of water and a blueberry lemonade helped me to cool down and settle in. Breakfast was the country breakfast platter complete with hash browns, sausage, scrambled eggs, a lightly roasted tomato, some cinnamon apples and sausage gravy over biscuits. I was in heaven. I only wish I could have eaten the whole thing. True to their word “if it doesn’t come from the South it’s not coming through the door,” there’s a sign in the waiting area that tells you where they get the ingredients that they’re cooking with on that day.

After brunch we were off to the Nashville farmer’s market.

Nashville Farmer's Market

The farmer’s market is open every day. But there are a few more vendors there on the weekends. Just look at those gorgeous tomatoes. I was trying to figure out a way I could bring all those back to Dallas. But I only brought back two. And they were amazing! There’s also a part of the farmer’s market that’s a permanent building. Inside is a coffee shop, ice cream parlor and lots of different restaurants. On the far end of the market is a nursery with a startling array of plants. It’s really pretty to take a walk through even if you’re not buying any plants that day.

Next to the market is a big park. So you can get your food at the market and sit on a bench in the park and eat it. The day we were there a group was playing baseball in old timey uniforms without gloves. It was pretty fun to watch it for a little bit.

Rolf and Daughters Restaurant in Nashville

That night we had dinner at Rolf and Daughters. Philip Krajeck is behind this restaurant and he’s a multiple Beard award nominee. The menu is chock full of local and fresh ingredients. There are lots of starters to choose from like heirloom tomato, fresh cheese, lemon thyme and seaweed or Cylindra beet, cashew tzatziki and crunchy seeds. Both of these are delicious. The menu also includes protein dishes and homemade pasta dishes. Craig got the bucatini, heirloom tomatoes, basil and sarvecchio while I got the sweet corn agnolotti, jalapeno and lime. The little pasta pillows were filled with a liquid corn that tasted like the sweetest sweet corn you’ve ever eaten. While this restaurant is just outside of downtown, make sure that you make reservations because it’s packed all the time. In fact, our reservations were at 8:45 on a Sunday and it was busy.

Back to Broadway and the honky tonks we went. We just spent the night going in and out of different bars listening to country music, honky tonk and some current songs.

Martin's BBQ in Nashville

Our last day in Nashville involved getting bbq for breakfast. We walked over to Martin’s BBQ Joint to check out the Nashville bbq scene and we weren’t disappointed. Craig got a mix of several different things and I got their famous Redneck Taco. The Redneck Taco is pulled pork and coleslaw piled on top of a hoe cake. A hoe cake is like a really simple cornbread. It’s made with corn meal, water and salt and is fried up like a pancake. I see why Martin’s is famous for it…it was really good.

Tootsies World Famous Orchid Lounge

It rained on our last day in Nashville so we kept pretty close to the hotel and our car. We knew we had to hit up Tootsies Orchid Lounge. We walked in and marveled at all the pictures of famous country people that were on the wall. Tootsies still brings in the big names. They don’t really book them, they just kind of wander in sometimes and play a set. A lot of history is held in those purple walls. We hung out for a while on each of the floors taking in the music and finally ended up on the roof. Until it started pouring.

Hattie B's Restaurant in Nashville

Our final stop, before heading to the airport, was Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Hot chicken is a “thing” in Nashville and it really shouldn’t be missed. You pick your chicken, white or dark meat, then pick one of six heat levels. They range from Southern (no heat) to Shut the Cluck Up (burn notice). I got the mild but could have done the medium (somehow I ended up with a medium level chicken tender with my mild dark chicken). Craig got the hot, and while it was good for him, he said that was his max. Hattie B’s also serves up delicious desserts. We had to get the peach cobbler, which is made with fresh peaches and is a seasonal dessert. But they’ve also got a banana pudding I heard the next table over raving about.

Hattie B's Hot Chicken in Nashville

If you’re heading to Nashville, be prepared to have lots of fun and lots of great things to eat. Oh, and you might want to take some earplugs, the music is loud and sometimes the spaces are small.

 

 

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2 comments

John/Kitchen Riffs August 23, 2017 at 8:53 am

We have some friends who just got back from Nashville, and they had a hoot! Sounds like you did, too. Been years since I’ve been there — gotta go again! 🙂 Fun read — thanks.

Pamela August 24, 2017 at 8:55 am

You definitely need to go back John. There’s a few new bars, but the food scene has changed drastically lately.

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