Surely there is no easier trip back in time than the journey to the intersection of Whites Creek Pike and Old Hickory Boulevard, where Richard Trest is seeding a live-music landmark in a historic building at the sleepy crossroads. A basket of beignets and a cup of Community Coffee made a delicious overture. With an emphasis on fresh and seasonal ingredients, RiChards menu and the individual dishes vary from day to daydepending on the availability of Gulf seafood and other regional specialties such as boudin. Count on staples such as jambalaya, creole and poboys, with étouffée on the dinner menu. — Carrington Fox
Eastside boasts the Crunkest Fish in Town, and Donald Boatright's got a good argument, particularly when it comes to the Giant King, nearly two pounds of beautifully fried fish filet bulging out of two slices of white bread; for less than $7, it can easily feed a couple of commoners.
One of the new members of the renovated Farmers Market food court, B&C (which stands for Bacon & Caviar) offers a familiar selection of chicken and pork barbecue, along with sides such as garlic-cheese grits, chipotle corn salad and stewed collard greens from the growers in the adjacent produce stalls. Breakfast includes homemade cinnamon buns.
Visitors to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum expect to find country legends like Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl and Waylon Jennings in the museum—and they will—but when it comes time to settle down for lunch in the soaring atrium cafe, they might be in for a surprise. There are the Top Ten Hits on the daily playlist—standards like fried-chicken sandwich and cult favorites like the fried green tomato and mozzarella BLT. The emphasis in this acclaimed institution is on promoting regional culture—in music, history and cuisine. The B-Side menu changes every couple of weeks, and the daily One Hit Wonder offers up specials like Texas-barbecue sliced sirloin or tortilla-crusted fresh fish with cantaloupe salsa, priced at $6.95. The SoBro2Go bar gets hurried downtowners back to their offices faster than they can whistle “Dixie.”
Like a hermit crab taking up residence in an exquisite but vacant shell, Jimmy Carl's Lunch Box fits seamlessly into the Station Inn, where it brings a mouthwatering pit-smoked lunch menu to the history-soaked cinderblock music venue. The half-sheet menu includes pulled pork, smoked bologna and hot beef sandwiches, ribs and chicken. Don't miss the high lonesome kick of red cabbage-vinegar slaw with carrot strings and jalapeño simple syrup. Sandwich plates start at $6 with chips and drink, and tax is included. The only thing missing from the concise and understated menuwhich boasts free parking, homemade food and free air conditioningis beer. For that, youll have to come back at 7 p.m., when the Station Inn comes to life with world-class live music. — Carrington Fox
Jack Cawthon is one of Nashville societys favorite caterers; for more casual affairs, well-heeled partygoers love his pork barbecue. No invitation is needed at his downtown store. Just grab a tray and get in line with the herd of tourists who gravitate to the landmark flying pigs sign, and who know a meal deal when they see one.
This tiny spot does a booming business, mostly in take-out orders, but there are a few wooden tables on the covered patio where diners can plop down for a quick bite. The moist pulled pork is lunch on a bun, and there are two types of barbecued chicken as well. In addition to regular barbecue sauce, which comes in varying levels of heat, there’s also a tasty white barbecue sauce. Get a couple of sides—the white beans and slaw are best bets—and call it dinner.
As the name of the restaurant implies, steak and spaghetti form the backbone of the menu. Rounding out the nine spaghetti and 10 steak offerings are a quartet of Mexican specialties, salads, chicken dishes, seafood dishes, stuffed potatoes and three sandwiches—in other words, a menu that aims to please every palate. The room itself is in the fern bar mold of the mid-’80s: dark woods, burgundy leather-covered seats in the booths, oilcloth-covered tables, mirrors, green plants. Service is attentive and friendly. So how’s the food? It’s fine.
The lovingly renovated purple house, a former crack den, now traffics in an inexpensive and harmless addiction: cupcakes. With 10 flavors inspired by owner Mignon Francois kids, Cupcake Collection boasts a line of preservative-free snacks--including vanilla butter cake, red velvet and carrot. Mignon says their "family affair" is about more than just cupcakes. It's about helping her children find financial independence through something they love. The kids man the cash register after school, and, if they clean up, they get to split the spoils of the tip jar (hint, hint). — Carrington Fox
The name is the address of this downtown breakfast and lunch spot in the space that for years housed the beloved Southern teahouse Satsuma. Early morning specialties include pancakes, steak and eggs, pork chop and eggs, omelets, thick-cut bacon and hash browns. The basic lunch menu is supplemented by daily blue plate specials like fried chicken, beef and pork chops with two or three sides. The unique calling card for 417 Union is its genuine, 60-year-old soda bar that serves old-fashioned favorites like banana splits, hot fudge sundaes, floats, malts, milk shakes and even New York egg creams.