What to Eat in Nashville: 12 Treats You Should Not Miss

Published by: Bounce9 August, 2022

Nashville may be known as the home of country music, but there's more going on in this southern city than just that. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Nashville, and you'll be ready to immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of this famous town.

There's no shortage of things to do in Nashville, and the food scene is no exception. Whether you're looking for a quick bite or a sit-down meal, there's something for everyone in Music City.

If you're looking for a quick snack, stop by one of Nashville's many food trucks. These mobile eateries serve up everything from tacos to barbecue, and they're a great way to sample some of the best local cuisine. They are also the ideal way to try the best street food in Nashville.

For a more sit-down experience, check out some of Nashville's restaurants. From southern comfort food to haute cuisine, there's something for every taste and budget. And don't forget to wash it all down with a cold glass of sweet tea! In this famously meat-loving town, you'll even find some places for herbivores to eat at the best vegetarian restaurants in Nashville.

Here are some of the best things to eat in Nashville:

Nashville Food: Hot Chicken

If there's one dish that Nashville is known for, it's Nashville hot chicken. After all, the clue is right there in the name. This spicy chicken dish was invented in the city, and it's become a staple of the local cuisine. You'll find hot chicken on menus all over town, but for the best experience, head to one of Nashville's many hot chicken restaurants. Prince's Hot Chicken Shack is practically a temple to hot chicken, and maybe the best place to try this Nashville staple guaranteed to wake up your taste buds. Realistically, though, you can't really go wrong at any of Nashville's hot chicken joints. And you can't really say you've visited the city until you've tried it for yourself.

Nashville Food: Sweet Potato Pancakes

If you're looking for a delicious breakfast option, look no further than the sweet potato pancakes at Biscuit Love. These fluffy cakes are made with real sweet potatoes and topped with a bourbon maple syrup, and they're sure to start your day off right. They're so good that Bon Appetit named them one of the best dishes in America, so you definitely don't want to miss out on them when you're in town.

Maybe it's no coincidence that in the city so well known for its nightlife, breakfast is a major concern. Local restaurants provide hearty soul food like sweet potato pancakes early in the morning and right through to lunch, so you can embrace southern cooking and restore yourself for another day of exploring Music City.

Nashville Food: Meat-and-three

If you're looking for a hearty, home-cooked meal, look no further than the meat-and-three. This classic southern dish is typically made with a protein (usually meat) and three side dishes, making it a filling and satisfying option. And Nashville is home to some of the best meat-and-threes in the country. Arnold's Country Kitchen is widely considered to be the best in town, but Helen's Barbecue and Swett's Restaurant are also excellent choices. No matter where you go, you're sure to enjoy a delicious and authentic meal.

This seemingly simple dish offers nearly endless variety thanks to its many combinations. The meat could be pork chops, fried chicken, or country ham. The three sides include fried green tomatoes, potatoes, macaroni, corn, and just about everything else. But no matter what you pick, you'll be lumbering away from the table with a full belly and a satisfied smile.

Nashville Food: Barbecue

No trip to Nashville is complete without trying some of the city's famous barbecue. And if you're looking for the best barbecue in town, you need to head to Peg Leg Porker. This quintessential neighborhood restaurant serves up dry-rubbed, slow-smoked meats that are guaranteed to melt in your mouth. The ribs and pulled pork are a particular standout, but everything on the menu is sure to please. So make sure you stop by Peg Leg Porker when you're in town for some of the best barbecue you've ever had.

Of course, no matter where you go in Nashville, you're not going to struggle to find barbecue places. Nor will you struggle to find opinions on which the locals think is best. Maybe there's only one way to settle this: by trying as many barbecue joints in Nashville as you can find.

Nashville Food: Goo Goo Clusters

If you want a sweet treat, head to the Goo Goo Cluster store. This local candy company has been around since 1912, and it's famous for its Goo Goo Cluster, a chocolate, peanut, and caramel confection. The original is still the best, but there are now many different flavors to choose from.

These iconic candies are made with fresh, local ingredients and they come in a variety of delicious flavors. If you can't decide which one to try, get a box of assorted Goos and sample them all. Or better yet, take some home with you as a souvenir for your sweet toothed friends and family back home. Either way, you're sure to enjoy these tasty treats.

Nashville Food: Mac & Cheese

Mac & cheese may not be a Tennessee invention, but this comfort food has certainly taken hold in the city. And there's no better place to enjoy it than at M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers. This local restaurant serves up a mean mac & cheese, made with cheddar, fontina, and Parmesan cheeses. It's then topped with breadcrumbs and served with a side of garlic toast. Or you could try the pimento mac & cheese for a spicy twist.

If you're looking for something a little different, try the BBQ chicken mac & cheese. This dish comes with smoked chicken, bacon, and barbecue sauce, making it a tasty twist on a classic. It's about as Nashville a dish as you could imagine, and a great thing to try on any visit to the city.

Nashville Food: Biscuits

Biscuits and gravy is a classic southern dish, and you'll find it on menus throughout Nashville, from nationally recognized restaurants to tiny hole-in-the-wall joints. But if you want the best biscuits in town, you need to head to Biscuit Love. This local favorite serves up delicious buttermilk biscuits with a variety of toppings, from country sausage gravy to chicken pot pie. And they're all served up with a side of honey butter. Don't miss the Bonuts, which are balls of fried biscuit dough rolled in sugar and served with blueberry compote.

No matter what you order, you're sure to enjoy a delicious meal at Biscuit Love. So make sure you stop by when you're in town and try some of the best biscuits around.

Nashville Food: Donuts

Donuts are another food item that Nashvillians may not have invented but have certainly gone out of their way to perfect. And as with so many Nashville foods, there are lots of places where you can try the city's excellent selection of donuts, but Five Daughters Bakery takes some beating.

Here, you have to try the 100 layer donut, a delicately layered sweet treat unlike any donut you've had before. Five Daughters has locations in East Nashville and in 12 South - incidentally, not too far from another legendary Nashville eatery, Hattie B's Hot Chicken. So you can get your hot chicken fix and then head over for legendary donuts while crossing two Nashville institutions off your must-visit list.

Nashville Food: Tennessee Whiskey

No trip to Nashville would be complete without trying some of the city's famous Tennessee whiskey. And there's no better place to do that than at Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg. This is the home of one of the most iconic American whiskeys, and a visit here is a must for any whiskey lover.

You can take a tour of the distillery, learning about the history of Jack Daniel's and how it's made. And of course, you can also sample some of the finished product.

If JD is a little too commercial for you, don't worry. Nashville is also home to some local small batch distilleries striving to make a unique product for whiskey connoisseurs. Nashville Craft Distillery may not have the most imaginative name, but that's because they're saving all that creativity for their whiskey. Their flagship product is called Una Lou, and it's a blend of rye, wheat, and barley that makes for a smooth and complex spirit. It's well worth seeking out if you're looking for something a little different to sip on during your time in Nashville.

Nashville Food: Fried Pickles

Continuing Nashville's love of everything fried, this dish is found as a popular starter on the menus of restaurants and bars throughout the city. And it's easy to see why - who doesn't love the combination of salty, sour, and crunchy?

Fried pickles are exactly what they sound like - pickles that have been breaded and fried. And they're usually served with a dipping sauce, like ranch dressing or a spicy mayo. So if you're looking for a delicious snack to munch on while you're out enjoying Nashville's nightlife, look no further than fried pickles.

Nashville Food: Banana Pudding

This classic southern dessert is a must-try when you're in Nashville. Banana pudding is made with layers of vanilla wafers, bananas, and custard, all topped with whipped cream. It's the perfect combination of sweet, rich, and creamy, and it's sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

You can find banana pudding on the menu at many restaurants in Nashville, but one place that really does it justice is The Cheesecake Factory. Their banana pudding cheesecake is an absolute must-try. It's made with real bananas, Madagascar vanilla beans, and chunks of chocolate, all nestled on top of a Vanilla Wafer crust. So if you're looking for an over-the-top take on this classic dessert, The Cheesecake Factory is the place to go.

Nashville Food: Catfish

No list of Nashville foods would be complete without mentioning catfish. This popular southern dish is usually breaded and fried and served with a side of coleslaw. And while you can find catfish on menus all over the city, one place that really does it well is Peg Leg Porker.

This barbecue restaurant in East Nashville specializes in smoked and grilled meats, but their catfish is definitely worth trying. The fish is breaded with a secret blend of spices, then fried to perfection and served with a side of hush puppies. So if you're looking for a delicious seafood option in a city known for its meat-heavy barbecue, Peg Leg Porker is the place to go.

Conclusion

Nashville is probably best known for hot chicken, but there's much more to eating in the city than that. And while so much of Nashville's cuisine tends toward the fried and greasy, you can find plenty of variety in the classic dishes on offer here. Whether you're craving the savory tang of fried chicken, hankering for the creaminess of mac & cheese, or in the mood to sip on some Tennessee bourbon, you'll find it all in Nashville.

With so many high-calorie foodstuffs on offer, you may want to balance your trip with some of the best hikes in Nashville so that you can work off yet another hot chicken. But however you spend your Nashville trip, don't neglect the city's incredible food culture.

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