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Aug 3, 2008 12:40 PM

Nashville to Memphis: where to stop


We are travelling from Nashville to Memphis and wondering the best places to stop for lunch, foodie stops, etc.


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  1. There are no decent restaurants between Nashville and Memphis. Jackson has about every fast food imaginable and a kitschy Casey Jones Village restaurant. Wait till you get to Memphis, which is a lowbrow foodie goldmine.

    10 Replies
    1. re: tennreb

      Depending on what day you are traveling and how close you need to stay to the interstate, some options you might want to investigate are:

      Beacon Light Tea Room in Lyles/Bon Aqua
      Great fried chicken, country ham & biscuits. Only open for dinner during the week, but has lunch on the weekend. I consider the food here to be far superior to Loveless, with much less acclaim.

      Carl's Perfect Pig BBQ in White Bluff
      My favorite ribs in the general Nashville area.

      Log Cabin Restaurant in Hurricane Mills
      Holly Moore gave this place a good review though I've not been personally.

      B E Scott's BBQ in Lexington, TN
      Superior whole hog BBQ, worth the side trip. Specify what part of the hog you want meat from (I usually get middlin' or shoulder) for the best results.

      1. re: grundoon

        Followed this advice and stopped at Beacon Light. These biscuits are the type that when you eat them you start thinking about if you've ever enjoyed food this much before. I had ham biscuits, fried chicken, and biscuits with preserves. My only worry is that there will be thousands of travelers between Memphis and Nashville that never find this American treasure.

      2. re: tennreb

        You should go to Mason, TN and visit the Original Gus' Fried Chicken (World Famous!) or Bozo's BBQ.

        1. re: Its Still Mooing

          Thanks - these are great suggestions, especially since there are options all along the route.

          Any ideas from Mountain City in the East to Nashville - preferably around Knoxville or further west. That will be our stop the day before as we continue our travels from New York CIty to Conway Arkansas.

          Thanks again - this is very helpful to a NYC family that is not familiar with your area.

          1. re: matika

            I second the reccomendation for Mason & Gus' fried chicken. We were there a week ago and, well, yeah. Don't forget the cole slaw there, either.

            1. re: MsAC

              matika, there are several good Knoxville posts on the South Board including several spots near I 40 for lunch.

              You're heading for Conway, Arkansas... Not too "Chow Friendly" you'll find mostly chains and cafeterias. But give Mike's Place a try. NewOrleans style cooking in an old 1900 grocery store.

              1. re: crewsweeper

                Thanks - my son is an entering freshman at Hendrix - definitely will be a change for a Manhattan kid.

                1. re: matika

                  I'd say just a bit of a change!

                  I hope ya'll have a great trip and get some "Southern Hospitality" along the way.

            2. re: matika

              Ridgewood BBQ in Bluff City, TN (near Elizabethton) is DEFINITELY worth the trip. Otherwise, I would say Litton's in Knoxville.

          2. re: tennreb

            The Commodore Hotel and Cafe, located in Linden is a terrific choice. It is a newly restored hotel and is a great place to both eat and stay. I stayed the night and the rooms were beautiful, the food (they have both fine dining and local favorites) and service was awesome, and an added benefit was they had quality live music. I highly recommend this place!

            Commodore Hotel and Cafe
            114 E Main Street, Linden, TN

          3. Matika, see the "Stellar Dining in Little Rock" thread. Might want to stop in there on your way out of town. As I recall, in the mid 90's that hotel had a great bar, too. I far cry from the 60's when the area was a blight of winos and homeless folks roaming around the bus stop.

            1. Best stop would be to get off at the McCrory Lane exit (it is on the Memphis side of Nashville on I-40, just past Old Hickory Blvd.). If you head towards highway 100, and take a left, you will find the Loveless Cafe. It is world famous for fried chicken, biscuits and homemade jam. Bobby Flay recently did a throwdown with their biscuit lady, and it is a Nashville institution.

              2 Replies
              1. re: epjenk

                Thanks so much to everyone - we ate great food. We were staying in Brentwood so had dinner at the Red Pony in Franklin. In Memphis had the best chicken ever at Gus's and fabulous ribs and pork at the Interstate. It was so good that I had more at the Memphis Airport during my 2 hour wait and brought back their barbecue sauce for my Dad. And thanks so much for the Ashly in Little Rock. Being a New York City foodie I never would have thought to go to an upscale Little Rock Restaurant. The food was amazing and by New York City prices the $49 dollar menu a steal. Everything was well done, from the foie gras to the lobster. It definitely opened eys to a new part of the country.

                1. re: matika

                  Thank you for reporting back, hope you'll come back!

              2. Doing a long weekend trip Nashville to Memphis and back and am grateful for this insight. Any tips for unique local food 'must try's? Not-too-rowdy bars? Breakfast hints? Thanks

                2 Replies
                1. re: terrylab

                  Terrylab - when you get to Memphis - for breakfast, an absolute must is the Barksdale Cafe! (corner of Cooper and Peabody). Tell Bob (the owner) that Crystal sent you, and you will be well taken care of! A real 'down home' breakfast - the likes of which you've only dreamed about. For lunch or dinner, I have to second the motion for Gus' Fried Chicken downtown.

                  1. re: terrylab

                    i sing the praises of Bryant's Biscuits on Summer for breakfast quite a bit. Stand in line, order with the locals and sit down for a great country ham biscuit. Less selfserve but good, Brother Junipers in Midtown near the UofMemphis.

                    The Cove on Broad is a great local bar. Pirate motif, mostly 20s-30s crowd. punks to rhodes students to midtowners. Best cocktails out side of Downtown. If you want a little more shine, Encore downtown makes the best drinks in Memphis. Beer: Young Ave Deli in Midtown, Raffe's Beer Garden in E Memphis near Highland/UofM or Flying Saucer downtown alll have the best selection.

                    Cozy Corner downtown for BBQ. BBQ Shop on Madison in Midtown if you want it for dinner. Paynes on Lamar if you want the best sandwich in town. All 3 local favorites. Some say Central BBQ on Central. It's good, but not the best in my opinion.

                    Cooper Young (Midtown...Young Ave Deli is here) has more upscale selections...Do Sushi and the Beauty Shop are good. Dish is a little tired, but has good cocktails and tapas. Tsunami sets the standard for good fish in town. Soul Fish is a great place to grab fried catfish and veggies.

                    have fun.

                  2. Pretty much off the subject, but somewhat related...Does anyone remember a restaurant on I-40 about 40 miles east of Memphis between Memphis and Nashville called Drexel's? I remember going there in the early '70's. It was very much like a Stuckey's.
                    Also for breakfast I highly recommend Brother Juniper's.