Must eats in Nashville and Memphis
The hubster and I will be in Nashville and Memphis for two days each. What are the cannot miss restaurants? We cannot get enough of bbq brisket and greens, and my favorite food in all the world is pie.
His birthday will begin in Memphis (breakfast, lunch?), then we'll drive to Nashville mid-day. Any ideas of birthday spots in Nashville where we can pig out and listen to some live music?
As in Memphis, in Nashville, barbecue means pork. Having said that, there are a couple of places that serve decent brisket.
Judge Bean's Bar-B-Que is located in the skybox of Greer Stadium, which is the home of the Nashville Sounds, our minor league baseball team. Even though they are located in the ballpark, they are open Monday through Staurday for lunch and dinner, regardless of if there is a ballgame. Judge's brisket is alright, but in my opinion, the best two places for brisket in this area are in outlying Williamson County, which is south of Nashville. Mickey Roos BBQ in Franklin, TN was actually co-founded by Judge Aubrey Bean's brother Rooster, and there are many similarities, but I think Mickey Roos is slightly better. The third and perhaps best place for brisket is Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint in tiny Nolensville, TN. Pat Martin comes from a competition background, and I believe that he, perhaps more than anyone else in Middle Tennessee, has a comprehensive grasp of the art and science of barbecue. And he has the passion to go with it. And at Martin's, unlike the other two places mentioned, great pork barbecue is on the menu too.
All three of the places I mentioned have live music on Saturday night, serve beer, and are great "hangout" places.
I hope this has helped. I realize that none of these places are anywhere near downtown Nashville. If you're more inclined to staying in the downtown area, you will surely come across Jack's Bar-B-Que on Lower Broadway. Yes, it is kind of a tourist trap, but honestly, it's not a bad barbecue place, and I think you'll have a good experience there. And oh yeah, they serve brisket, too.
Judge Bean's Bar-B-Que (current location)
534 Chestnut St
Nashville, TN 37203
Martin's Barbeque Joint
7215 Nolensville Rd, Nolensville, TN 37135
Mickey Roos Texas Style BBQ
509 Hillsboro Rd, Franklin, TN 37064
416A Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
In Memphis go to Cozy Corner and/or Payne's. Dont know of any good brisket in Memphis. In Nashville I would recommend Tex's bbq if you are just looking for brisket. Judge Beans and Mickey Roo's have really, really gone down hill. If a 20 minute drive doesnt bother you then Martins BBQ in Nolensville is the absolute best the Nashville area has, beef or pork. His brisket is awesome, but get the pulled pork or the ribs. The guy seriously knows his stuff. He does do Memphis in May once a year but he's not from a competition background, his background is cooking whole hog under some pit-masters in west tennessee..........which reminds me that on your way from Memphis to Nashville you should detour through Henderson and/or Lexington and grab a sandwich or two there. Old Time BBQ in Henderson and Scotts in Lexington. Oh yeah.....if you go to Martin's, be very careful with the hot sauce...get it on the side!
If you go to Scott's or Old Time, be sure to specify where on the hog you want your meat from. I would recommend that you ask for meat from the "middlin'", which basically gets you the BBQ equivalent of bacon/pork belly. Shoulder is good too, but middlin is superb -- smoky/creamy goodness!
Native Nashvillian here...if you can make it for lunch, try Arnold's (8th Ave. S - meat n' 3) or the Pie Wagon (same) --- drinks/apps, Watermark (nice view, in the Gulch) or radius10 (Gulch also, chef owned - MUST have: braised Kobe short rib over grits..., app menu 1/2 price during Happy Hour). Either have great dinners, or try Midtown Grill (small/intimate - lemon artichoke soup). But the best meal in town - Andrew Chadwick's. Hands down in my top 5 lifetime (I'm a culinary grad & well traveled not to mention a good eater...) - Kevin is the GM (& an old friend), let him know I sent you!
For music, Station Inn - in Gulch too, or the Honky Tonks on Lower Broadway downtown. Like Jazz? - F Scott's on the weekend PMs, good wine list (menu too). Local coffeehouse Fido's in Hillsboro Village, breakfast @ Pancake Pantry 1/2 block down (yes, the line is long, worth the wait if you've got a litle time) Enjoy your visit - any other Q? Just ask - glad to assist!