In 2017, Bon Appetit named NOLA’s Turkey and the Wolf the best new restaurant in America. It was a pretty big deal, because Turkey and the Wolf is a sandwich shop, and that decision showed that The (Problematic) Big Boys in Food were finally confirming what Nashvillians had long known: fun, inventive, delicious food is as likely to come in sandwich form as it is from a 10-course tasting menu. In Nashville, sandwiches of that caliber are created by Aaron Clemins (formerly of everywhere, including City House and the dearly departed Kuchnia & Keller). Put simply, at Bill’s Sandwich Palace on Gallatin Pike — run by Aaron and his wife Christen Clemins — they make what they want to eat, which changes weekly for their Saturday-and-Sunday pickup. It includes sammies like the Porky Pig (aka That’s All Folks!): smoky pulled pork, crispy tater tots, nacho cheese sauce, fresh jalapeños, red onions and barbecue sauce on a garlic-butter-toasted bolillo roll. There are behemoths like the KFC: juicy Korean fried chicken breast, earthy gochujang, kimchi cucumbers and scallion-ginger mayo, all on a smooshy, Japanese milk bread bun. For vegetarians looking to do a little artery-clogging, there’s the Nightshade Mania! 2.0, which is stacked with deep-fried eggplant, nutty romesco, zippy arugula pesto and melty fromage blanc. And they don’t stop at sammies! Sides include OTT standouts like Buffalo Bacon Pasta Salad, loaded with Buffalo chicken, Gifford’s bacon, Mr. Aaron’s Good Noods, scallions and ranch sour cream. Personally, if it came to it, I’d cut someone for their Caesar Cardini, a salad made of crunchy raw broccoli, English cucumber and red onion, topped with Grana Padano and an anchovy dressing that’s launched 1,000 umami addictions. Finish your meal with Cinnamon & Sugar Cocoa Puffs, which they say is “kinda like Taco Bell, but way better.” For many Nashvillians, Bill’s has become a weekly way to unwind, unplug and unbutton, all of which the world needs now. I’ve heard people say Bill’s is like Mitchell’s on steroids, but for me, it’s really more like Mitchell’s on ayahuasca. I’ll take another hit anytime.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that chefs Ryan Bernhardt and Aaron Distler were involved in creating the sandwiches. We regret the error.