Nashville is the place to be. Filled with musicians and artists looking to practice their craft and enjoy life, it’s become the Shoreditch of the Southern United States – packed with coffee houses and young people with guitars. It’s a mix of old tradition and innovation and, with that kind of a pedigree, come the great, and unique, foodie spots you would expect.
If you are Nashville bound at any point in the future, avoid the main strip on Broadway – full of flashing lights, tourists and overpriced fries – but be sure to hit up some of these spots for dinner, brunch or just a coffee with friends.
1) Pinewood Social
From the outside, this place looks like the kind of warehouse you shouldn’t go into late at night and alone, but inside it’s an open airy space full of wonders that include a coffee bar, a bowling alley and karaoke space. Outside, there are two pools and plenty of lounge space. It’s one of the hippest locations in Nashville, especially in the evenings as it’s open late, and serves great cocktails. It’s a fun and interactive space for every hour of the day. Plus, the food is sensational. Although, I have to warn you, if you’ve already seen this place on Man Finds Food, asking for the ‘secret’ chicken and waffles dish might confuse your waiter.
2) Barista Parlor
This coffee house in East Nashville is one of many rising up along with the city’s huge coffee trend. The choices of coffee are few but mind-boggling in their flavor and complexity, and are all made using big glass siphon coffee makers. The atmosphere is calm – long wooden benches, high ceilings and plenty of people writing or working on their laptops. You can get together with friends for a drink or just enjoy some quiet time. There’s a lot of coffee on offer in Nashville, but this is one to experience.
3) Holland House
This restaurant/bar is the ‘it’ place for evening dining in Nashville and is always busy. It’s a small space with a loud and bustling atmosphere but looks like fine dining. The food is varied but if you’re going with friends stick to sharing a bunch of the small plates in order to try everything. The clams with chorizo are a generous portion, as is the mezze plate and hand cut fries loaded with parmesan and truffle. Sit outside with a cocktail and watch the neighbourhood go about their daily lives.
4) Rolf and Daughters
There’s been a huge buzz around this place since it opened and you can’t make a reservation until after 9pm, so make sure you get there early or are prepared to get a cocktail and sit outside to wait. It is loud and the atmosphere can make you feel a little intimidated, but the service is much more casual than you’d think and the food is just too good to miss. Don’t be afraid to ask about some of the mysterious sounding ingredients and how big the dishes are, because that can be deceptive. The trout is to die for and the grilled octopus. The vegetables may sound simple but are worth trying and an ample portion. Sit outside if you can and really get to know your server.
This spot is brighter, airier and classier than you might expect for this part of town but is a great space and another hot spot for working while having some good coffee and a bite to eat. If you’re going for breakfast, anticipate each dish being done a little differently, from the chilaquiles to the quinoa pancakes. The sides are worth experimenting with, especially the turkey chorizo sausage.