Weekend in Nashville - budget, authentic, and vegetarian - can it be done?
Hi, my boyfriend and I are doing a weekend getaway in Nashville the weekend after next. First visit for both of us. We're driving down from Chicago on Friday night and coming back Sunday afternoon. We are vegetarians and, as he is taking me to Alinea this weekend for my birthday, will be on a Very tight food budget when there. In all, about $100 per person for the weekend. An additoinal consideration is that we Love food and want to get as "quintessential" an experience as we can, given the previous constraints.
Firstly, should we stay at the Sheraton Music City or Sheraton Nashville Downtown, assuming the main goal is to meet our eating agenda above and hopefully hear some live (free?) music at some point too?
Secondly, after my perusing of these boards I have come up with this. Please comment!
Fri dinner - will be on the road - any southern chains we should try?
Sat brunch - Fido, Pfunky Griddle, or Loveless?
Sat dinner - Southern Bred
Sun brunch - Fido, Pfunky Griddle, or Loveless?
Sun early afternoon snack (before leaving) - Calypso cafe? Eastland cafe for cheese plate?
Given your agenda, you don't want to stay in the Opryland area. Stay downtown or nearby in the midtown/Vanderbilt/West End area.
For Friday, it will really depend on where you are when you stop for dinner. The only "southern chain" that will feed your need for vegetarian options of stereotypical Southern food is Cracker Barrel, which has some high spots but is, after all, a chain. Still, you can load up on side dishes -- which IS very typically Southern -- and have a veg meal. Just ask if any of the sides you want to order is cooked with meat or meat fat.
Fido is a great choice for Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner. Very veg friendly.
I know about Pfunky Griddle but haven't been. It's in a fun neighborhood (Berry Hill) with other good food choices. There is a Calypso Cafe (official name Couva Calypso Cafe) in that area, plus there is Yellow Porch. YP is on the moderately expensive side for dinner, but you can do lunch for $10-$12. It's one of my favorite restaurants, and they do have veg-friendly dishes. There's also Baja Burrito and Sam and Zoey's, all cheap options.
Southern Bred is a good choice for meat-and-three.
Loveless -- that's a trek to the outskirts of town. Most tourists feel they NEED to go there, and it's fine.
Eastland Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants. It is open only for dinner, and is not open on Sunday at all. The Happy Hour offerings are cheap and fabulous, and there are some happy hour items that aren't available on the regular menu. http://www.eastlandcafe.com/happyhour.html
Places you haven't mentioned:
The Wild Cow -- http://www.thewildcow.com/twc/ -- catty-corner from Eastland Cafe.
Grins Vegetarian Cafe -- http://www.vanderbilt.edu/dining/line... -- on Vanderbilt campus. Since you'll be bumping into the end of the semester, CALL AHEAD to see if they'll be open / what their hours are.
Whole Foods -- in the Green Hills area. They have an ENORMOUS food bar area, with ample seating downstairs as well as some upstairs.
First, definitely stay downtown if you can. The Sheraton Music City is out by the airport. You will have no trouble finding live music downtown.
I love Nashville, but I feel like I have to say that it is definitely not a city that I would call "vegetarian-friendly." In Southern cooking, which is prominently featured in Nashville, even the vegetable sides (or cornbread) are often cooked with pork fat, so you may want to be careful with those.
If you're looking for some of said great Southern fare, you could do a lot worse than Loveless. I personally like Monell's better, but the biscuits at Loveless are undeniably good. Southern Bred is a solid choice, but again, I prefer Monell's.
Pfunky Griddle is definitely a unique experience (make your own pancakes), but if you want the best pancakes in town (albeit made by someone else), you'll want to go to Pancake Pantry, which is a Nashville institution. You will have to wait for a table, though.
Fido is really good, but not anything that I would say is unique to Nashville or better than what you could find in Chicago.
Eastland Cafe is not open on Sundays. Calypso is a good choice, and very vegetarian-friendly.
Good luck, and please let us know where you ended up going and how you liked it!
1796 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37212
2800 Bransford Ave, Nashville, TN 37204