Nashville is becoming a top “Foodie” destination with the opening of some exciting new restaurants. My top picks include:
City House: I had one of the best meals I have had recently at this eclectic Germantown restaurant. It is located in an old building that has been transformed to an industrial look with open duct work. It has a large bar overlooking the kitchen, a large dining room, bar and screened porch for those perfect Southern nights. It features a Southern take on Italian peasant food with a number of small plates, salads, pizzas (some can be topped with an egg), pastas and main courses.
I loved the trout prepared in a wood-burning oven with breadcrumbs, raisins, peanuts and lemon. I chose the roasted broccoli side with sorghum, walnuts, cranberries and a touch of red onion. A lovely light rhubarb sorbetto and a great Italian rose wine made for a perfect dinner! 1222 4th Ave. N.
Rolf and Daughters: 700 Taylor St. in Germantown. This is an excellent restaurant with a very creative menu in a 100 year-old factory building. I enjoyed a great dinner with local friends.
Crema: A local coffee roaster and coffee chop, at 15 Heritage Ave., that is a perfect spot for a break. Don’t tell anyone, but I took my cupcakes from the Cupcake Collection to have with my coffee!!
Pinewood Social: At 33 Peabody St., this described “place to meet” is made up of a restaurant, bowling alley, bar area and living room with coffee bar where people can hang out and work on-line. There is outdoor space as well with a pool and bocce ball.
Husk: The Nashville branch of the famous Charleston SC restaurant is located in a renovated house at 37 Rutledge. There is dining upstairs in the house, on the patio or in the expanded dining room or bar in the lower level. It is known for its new Southern cuisine. I enjoyed catfish with collards, tomato gravy, and hominy faro.
Mike’s Ice Cream: At 208 Broadway, and is known for its handmade ice cream and coffee.
The Cupcake Collection at 1213 6th Ave. N.: An award winning bakery in Germantown that should not be missed. I loved the red velvet and the sweet potato cupcakes.
Patterson House: Below the famed restaurant Catbird Seat, this is a local bar resembling an old speakeasy that features craft cocktails. The Presbyterian with rye whiskey, ginger syrup and club soda was my drink of choice! 1711 Division St.
The Catbird Seat: Upstairs from the Patterson House is the Catbird which gets wonderful reviews. I was sorry it was closed during the week I was visiting Nashville. The two chefs, Erik Anderson and Josh Habiger, were named by Food & Wine Magazine in the 2012 New Chef All Stars. 1711 Division St.
Arnold’s Country Kitchen: At 605 8th Ave. S., this is a local institution serving wonderful Southern cooking. The meat options change daily so go for the meat plus three where you get your meat entrée and add three sides. I love the brisket with squash casserole, mac and cheese and collard greens. I also like the cornbread and the pecan pie. You might go early as people line up almost out the door at noon. You go through a cafeteria line before heading to small tables as well as longer communal tables. The food was really outstanding so head over fast! In 2009 it received the America’s Classic Award from the James Beard Foundation.
12 South Area: This is a hip neighborhood, featuring a number of bars, restaurants and retail stores in an area south of downtown and The Gulch. I had a great dinner at Josephine, one the best restaurants in the area. 2316 12th Ave. S. The scallops with parsnip puree, smoked carrot, sweet potato and raisins were really excellent.
Thompson Hotel: This hotel is located in The Gulch at 401 11th Ave. South. Getting great reviews is Marsh House Restaurant in the Thompson Hotel for great seafood. I stopped in for coffee and dessert and will definitely go back.
Make sure to stop by for a drink or dinner at Bastion in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood at 434 Houston St. It is a sister operation to Catbird Seat. This is an eclectic space in a warehouse district with a great cocktail bar and restaurant open Wednesday thru Sunday. The restaurant was not open on the Tuesday night I was there, but I loved trying an old fashioned in the bar.
Urban Cowboy/Urban Cowboy Public House: This is a stylish, hip, contemporary boutique hotel with a bar and restaurant in the back. The Public House features craft cocktails and wood fired locally sourced menu items. It gets very good reviews.
A great addition to the downtown food scene is Gray & Dudley at the recently opened 21c Museum Hotel located at 221 2nd Ave. N. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I enjoyed breakfast in the sleek dining room. The menu features, locally sourced and seasonal ingredients.
Other recommended spots include the contemporary Etch downtown at 303 Demonbreun St., The Loveless Cafe, known for its biscuits since 1951, at 8400 Tennessee Highway 100 and Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Moto Cucina Enoteca is recommended in the Gulch at 1120 McGavock St. One other getting good press is 5th & Taylor American Restaurant for its excellent food.
In East Nashville there is Marche Artisan Foods at 1000 Main St., Mas Tacos Por Favor at 732 McFerrin, Barista Parlor at 519B Gallatin Ave., for coffee, and I Dream of Weenie at 113 South 11th St. in a vintage VW Bus. These have been featured in the NY Times and in other recent articles. There is also Jeni’s ice cream at 1894 Eastland Ave. (plus one more at 2312 12th Ave. South). Nearby, Two Ten Jack, a gastro pub, gets great reviews for its ramen. 1900 Eastland Ave.
Chef Margot McCormack of Margot Cafe & Bar, 1017 Woodland, was just recently named a semifinalist for the award 2018 Best Chef Southeast by the James Beard Foundation. I am excited to try it on next visit.
I recently enjoyed a tasting and dinner in Chicago of the bourbons and whiskeys of Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery located at 1414 Clinton St. in Nashville. Their Belle Meade Bourbon including the Classic Sour Mash Bourbon, the Cognac Cask Bourbon, the Madeira Cask Bourbon, the Sherry Cask Bourbon and the Sour Mash Single Barrel 9 year Bourbon were all excellent. They also make an excellent Tennessee whiskey. Tours and tastings are available daily. I highly recommend the quality of the products.
Colts Chocolate Co.: This is a great chocolate shop that was formerly located in The Gulch. They are in the process of moving to the east side at 3611 Gallatin Pike where they will offer a factory store and tours. They feature many different chocolates and desserts including, the original Colts Bolts, Truffle Babies, Marie McGhee’s Bumble Bees, Salted Caramel Gooey Butter Bars, a chess pie, a white chocolate pecan pie and many more sweet treats. Their customer list reads like a who’s who of country music, celebrities, and even some political stars. Clients include Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Vince Gill, K.T. Oslin, Eddie Rabbit, Dwight Yoakam, and Garth Brooks.
Famed James Beard Award Winning Chef Sean Brock formerly of Husk and McCrady’s in Charleston, SC left the Charleston-based Neighborhood Dining Group to focus on some health and personal issues. He is now returning to the restaurant business in 2020 with a full-time focus on Nashville and emphasis on Appalachian cuisine from the region where he was raised as a child.
Construction has started on his compound in East Nashville. According to the NY times, “the project includes two restaurants: Red Bird, which aims to be a kind of Chez Panisse for Appalachian cooking with a menu that changes daily, and Audrey, a modern restaurant fueled by a research-and-development kitchen headed by a former researcher at Noma’s fermentation laboratory in Copenhagen.”
He has also decided to take over the former Stay Golden space in East Nashville at 901 Woodland St., as well, where he plans to open Joyland another restaurant concept. It will also open in 2020. I will keep you posted as the restaurants open for business. I am excited to plan my next trip around the openings.
Other restaurants getting great reviews include Pelican & Pig at 1010 Gallatin Ave. in East Nashville. Located in a mid-century auto upholstery shop, this is a casual spot featuring an open kitchen and wood-burning hearth. Adele’s in the Gulch features seasonal comfort food and ingredients sourced from local farms and purveyors. 1210 McGavock St.
Lou at 1304 McGavock Pk is a casual all-day cafe, brunch spot in East Nashville. It is located in a renovated 1930s craftsman house. Redheaded Stranger describes itself as “a neighborhood taco shop in East Nashville serving fresh and delicious tacos, brisket, Hatch green chiles and other southwestern inspired foods.” They are located at 305 Arrington St in East Nashville.
Peninsula features modern Spanish, Portuguese and French cooking along with a large wine list. It is located in old-world, intimate surroundings in East Nashville at 1035 W Eastland Ave. It was Eater’s Restaurant of the Year in 2018. Butcher & Bee, with a second location in Charleston, SC, features lunch, brunch and dinner and a menu of American, Middle Eastern and vegetarian dishes. 902 Main. St. in East Nashville.
Monell’s in Germantown is known for it fried chicken and southern food. 1235 6th Ave. N. Near Vanderbilt University, the Midtown Cafe is a great spot for Southern specialties for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 102 19th Ave. S. Fans of BBQ, should check out Peg Leg Porker BBQ for pulled pork, ribs, and fried pies in a casual, colorful setting. 903 Gleaves St. in the Gulch. Graze is known for its vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner options. It was recently featured in the NY Times for it great food. 1888 Eastland Ave.
Dozen Bakery, a local bakery and cafe is recommended for its breads, pastries, cookies, pies and breakfast sandwiches.516 Hagan St #103. I would also love to try Cafe Roze, which is owned by the niece of a Chicago friend. It is a colorful, all-day cafe featuring American classics, plus coffee and drinks. 1115 Porter Rd.