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Feb 25, 2010 08:41 PM

Recs for a Nashville dinner and breakfast

Will be in Nashville for a night and morning, so looking for a "quintessential Nashville" dinner--prefer hearty traditional over "Haute" cuisine, but open to something involving local ingredients, new Southern, etc.

For breakfast, this might be tough, but we are heading east on I40, so something with easy access, esp around the airport, would be great. Looking for a true Southern breakfast, esp with smoked bacon/meats, biscuits, etc, although also open to specialty pastries, etc.

Any recommendations welcome.

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  1. As reluctant as I am to recommend any chain restaurant, I have to say that breakfast is the one meal I will gladly eat at any Cracker Barrel, several of which are on your route. The biscuits and gravy are good, and while the jams and jellies are unfortunately those crappy little Smucker's packs they present a good variety. My breakfast combo of choice is I think called Uncle Hershel's Favorite, with the fried catfish; eggs and catfish is an amazingly pleasant combination, to these tastebuds anyway.

    In Nashville, the local Sylvan Park chain has several outlets, if you want a more down-home feel. We always have at least one breakfast per visit at the one on 8th Avenue South/Franklin Pike, just north of Craighead St. It's too bad you're headed out east, in a way, because the Loveless Cafe (used to be motel) west of town on Hwy. 100 is a well-deserved legend, and apparently much improved under its current ownership.

    For your dinner, my new favorite restaurant on the planet is Miel, on 53rd just off Charlotte Pike. They have their own truck garden and cure their own ham and bacon, but the food may not be the Southern/Nashville style you're looking for. Margot in East Nashville might come closer, but I'm sure there will be more recommendations from people who live there now - we moved away some time ago, and only visit once a year.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      Margo and Miel are French / French-influenced restaurants. Favorites they might be, but why would you recommend them to someone who has requested info on Southern restaurants?

      Unfortunately real Southern breakfasts are hard to come by in Nashville. Don't know why. There are a handful of good breakfast places --Fido, Athens, Provence, Noshville -- but few with biscuits/grits/country ham,etc. done in a way that would make me proud. Since Loveless is in the opposite direction from where you are headed, Cracker Barrel is not a terrible idea. There's just not a lot to recommend restaurant-wise, no matter what meal/cuisine, around the airport. You could look at Arnold's -- a traditional meat-and-three restaurant downtown. I haven't had their breakfast, though, so I don't know what it's like. Also, check out Pancake Pantry. I only get pancakes when I go there so I honestly don't remember what their non-pancake options are, but I seem to remember they have country ham, which bodes well.

      1. re: TLF

        "Favorites they might be, but why would you recommend them to someone who has requested info on Southern restaurants?" Partly because for the life of me I can't think of a single "Southern" restaurant serving dinner, unless Martha's is - and I only just now thought of her place. All the old fried chicken-and-biscuits palaces are long gone, I think. Monell's is lunch only, I believe, and that's the last of the sit-down, pass-the-potatoes places. Every new place that's opened is trying so hard to be foodie-hip, and I was just mentioning the two I consider at least as honest about food as about coining money.

        1. re: Will Owen

          Unless Monell's has suddenly stopped serving dinner in the past few weeks, they are the place I would most recommend: southern food served family style, with half a dozen hot and cold salads, two or three entrees, cornbread, biscuits, dessert, tea and coffee. All cooked well (except the desserts, which tend to be so-so), and IMO the best fried chicken to be had in a restaurant in Nashville. They also serve an immense breakfast on Sundays, also family-style: scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, ham, bacon, fried chicken.

          1. re: nm1

            So I was dead wrong about Monell's, and I'm glad to be set straight on it. Thank you! I've managed to go there just once, and thought it was nearly as good as Miss Mary's famous table in Lynchburg (and a lot easier to get in!). I hope our visit to Nashville this year will be long enough to fit Monell's in.

    2. There is also Southern Bred in East Nashville. It's got a lot of meat-and-three type dishes cooked fresh and a bit lighter than usual. Sadly, they don't serve breakfast, but they make a good dinner if you want to avoid the family-style eating at Monell's.

      They don't have a website, but are at 1048 E. Trinity Lane, Nashville, TN 37216
      (615) 258-3500

      Tue-Fri. 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
      Sat. 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
      Sun. 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

      1. It would be really helpful in responding to this to know what day of the week this request is for.