This Weekend in Nashville...
Hey folks! We'll be visiting from Minneapolis this weekend & are excited to check out the local fare. After reading previous posts, we have a couple of ideas but are looking for more suggestions. It's our first time to the city so we're wondering about...
* Meat & three - we don't have this in the north so we need help. Who does it best? What is not to be missed??
* We love classic cocktails, especially anything with bourbon or rye. Suggestions??
* Anything else that is uniquely Nashville we should try??
We are staying at the Hampton downtown but will have a car so we're willing to venture out if truly worthy. Thanks a lot!!
First, do not bother with the Loveless Cafe. It is an overpriced tourist trap! This doesn't mean no good food is available there, just that better is available elsewhere, mostly at better prices and more conveniently located.
Most of the true meat & three's are only open M-F, and only for lunch. So Arnold's Country Kitchen, The Pie Wagon and some other favorites won't be an option. However, Swett's ( 2725 Clifton Avenue) is a cafeteria style meat & three that is open on weekends, and they are a favorite of mine. Another good option would be Monell's (1235 6th Avenue N). They aren't a classic, cafeteria-style meat & three. Instead, they serve everything family style. This means that everyone gets to try everything they are serving that day. Their fried chicken is amongst the best in Nashville, and is served at every meal.
Hot chicken is the local specialty. Prince's is considered the standard, but I far prefer Bolton's (624 Main St). They have the added advantage of being closer to downtown. Hot chicken is not like a regular spicy fried chicken. The hot spices are not in a marinade, or even in the batter, breading or dredging. Hot chicken is usually buttermilk marinated, fried normally enough, and then they rub a capsaicin-rich paste over top. Honestly, I don't love the stuff, but Bolton's makes a hot chicken that has a truly satisfying heat but still leaves you able to taste the beautifully fried chicken. Prince's does not. If you go to Prince's, get mild. At Bolton's, I usually get the hot.
The cocktail snobs around Nashville tend to like Patterson House and Holland House. I prefer Holland House, it's less of a scene...more laid back. My favorite cocktails in Nashville include the Metropolitan at Cha Chah (2013 Belmont Boulevard). Their red sangria is also delicious. The food there is Spanish-inspired, and mostly delicious. Another favorite is the cucumber sake Bloody Mary at Marche. Marche (1000 Main St) has seasonal food, I'd call it French countryside-inspired. Their menu changes monthly, and the prices for the quality of the food served are beyond reasonable. If I am honest, Marche is probably my favorite restaurant in Nashville.
All excellent suggestions.
Another place that does interesting cocktails, and is an outstanding restaurant which has won national accolades, is City House. They don't have the interesting eyedropper bottles of eye of newt, etc. that HH does, but they use some unusual liquors and house-made mixers. The craft cocktail thing has gotten big here so you'll find lots of upscale restaurants dabbling. HH and PH are the top ones that come to mind with the whole dedicated speakeasy vibe, though.
Another restaurant to look at for regional cuisine and adult beverages is Capitol Grille, the restaurant in the historic Hermitage Hotel. If you don't want to spring for dinner, they do lunch, and the adjacent Oak Bar also has a bar food menu.
Another fun thing to do might be to cruise the Farmer's Market -- some good spots for lunch. If you like the food truck thing, there is a gathering at the FM on the first Friday of the month, I believe, in the evening. They also have music, etc. There are also food trucks gathers Sat & Sun at Elmington Park, and at places like Yazoo (local beer producer) next to their tap room.
Again all great suggestions. I'd also recommend Merchants Restaurant downtown on the corner of 4th & Broadway. It's owned by the same guys that run The Patterson House. The cocktail menu is nowhere as extensive as PH, but there's still some interesting options there.