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First time to Nashville coming (June 10-14)

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First off, I love this site and it was immensely helpful in planning our trip last year to NYC. I’m hoping to have the same success. As far as our pallets are concerned, I don’t mind a little mid-range to high-end cuisine and my friend is more of a any classic done well. Also, in regards to budget wouldn’t mind being in the $20-30 range, not including drinks. With that being said, neither of us has ever been to Nashville before and we are coming down to visit one of our best friends. However, she recently moved to Murfreesboro outside of Nashville so we may ask for some suggestions for that area or around there. Now on to Nashville! I was looking for Sunday to maybe do a nice day of touring and starting off with brunch somewhere.

I have been reading the boards of things and a lot of the same names resound and I was wondering if maybe you guys could re-list and see which ones would be the best for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I have put them into categories below based on what I saw through different posts, but, figure some are better for different menus to maximize what they offer.

Brunches/Breakfast: Monell's, Puckett's, Margot, Martha's at the plantation, and the Tavern (found on a blog and was intrigued by the pb pretzel pancake and red velvet waffles)

Lunch- Arnold's, City House, Bolton's, Pepperfire , The Patterson House, Yazoo Brewery Tour, Corsair Spirits Tour, Holland House, Marche, Fido, Capitol grille

Dinner- Monell’s, Eastland Café, Arnold’s.

We both love big juicy burgers. One of the best we had last year was a $17 burger at the Spotted Pig in New York accompanied with shoestring fries with rosemary. The burger had a grilled bun made there and then had a really nice goat cheese on it. The places we saw for burgers were:
J. Alexanders, Hickory Falls...(again with hickory grilled),Bricktops, Jacksons in hillsboro village

We also love Pizza and only saw a couple of places, which I would assume since it is not the staple of food here: Mafiaoza’s Pizzeria & Perfect Pizza.

I saw an honest post about BBQ and it not really being the most notable in Nashville, but, someone mentioned on a post “The most renowned BBQ is south of Nashville in Nolensville, Martin's.”

These are the bars list we saw as well (any you would suggest to go to at night to have some drinks and maybe some entertainment) - Patterson House, Bound'ry , Cabana , Eastland Cafe , Kayne Prime, Flyte, Cha Chah, Noshville

Finally, any suggestions for any noteworthy places in Murfreesboro to eat?

Thank you guys for all of your help. I can’t wait to see what you have to say.

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  1. I don't have time to write a detailed, point by point response right now. But just glancing through, my biggest suggestion is that you check the web sites of the spots you mentioned -- some you list for a given meal -- B'fast, lunch, dinner -- aren't open at that time. Martha's at the Plantation has been closed for years.

    New BBQ spot in town is Edley's, had my first visit yesterday pretty good and in interesting neighborhood. Across the street from three other notable small food joints -- Burger Up, Sloco, Las Paletas. But yeah, Martin's.

    I don't think of any of the places you mentioned for burgers as having notable burgers. Good, sure, but there are more notable in town -- Gabby's, Burger Up, PM (which is mostly Asian but has a killer burger), Pharmacy.

    Perfect Pizza in Antioch is good, and between M'boro & the center of town. I'd skip Mafiozza's. Better pizza at City House, Bound'ry, Porta Via. New pizza joint in the Farmer's Market is getting good buzz. BUT Mafiozza's/Perfect is going to have the stereotypical red-sauce, Italian-American pizza if that's what you are looking for, whereas the others have authentic or more "gourmet" style pizzas.

    No place that has notable food/drink is going to have "entertainment." If you are looking for the honky-tonk scene or even less touristy listening rooms or clubs, they all serve drink and food of some sort, but nothing to go out of your way for. Eat somewhere good, then go to hear music.

    One place to read up on Nashville food culture is www.nashvillescene.com. The dining guide is waaay out of date, but the reviews and the blog "Bites" are worth reading.

    1 Reply
    1. re: TLF

      Thanks for the response and I read about 15-20 postings to get a lot of those restaurants, but, none very updated with what is still open or closed so glad you were able to clarify that. I will start looking at websites for times and locations based on where what we are going to visit and what day to help set up which to go to and for what. I appreciate your help!

    2. We visited Nashville last week and found there is a consortium of restaurant owners who formed Nashville Originals to utilize local purveyors. There are about 40 restaurants involved. We ate at the Tin Angel in the Vanderbilt neighborhood and it was quite good. Puckett's is big, loud and cheap but fun. Skip Cafe Nonna - it's so tiny and their idea of an air conditioned patio is a concrete slab with plastic sheathing and ceiling fans. Andrew Jackson's Hermitage Museum and gardens are worth a visit. A drink in the lobby of the Hermitage Hotel, as well as Union Station Hotel is worthy.

      Maggie V - St. Louis

      1 Reply
      1. re: Maggie V.

        Thanks for the help I appreciate it!

      2. You're correct that Nashville's not necessarily a barbeque town, but Martin's is certainly the area's best, and is considered by some to be one of the best in the country. I second TLF's mention of Edley's, which has rapidly become my favorite barbeque place in Nashville proper, though if you'll be in Murfreesboro anyway, maybe Martin's would be worth the trip. Is Sunday going to be your only day in Nashville? If so, that would eliminate Arnold's as a possibility. It's only open on weekdays for lunch. If you can make it, that's the spot you don't want to miss for Meat and Three fare. If not, Monell's is a good substitute, it's just not something to go to if you want to eat much the rest of the day.

        If you're only going on Sunday, I would recommend Marche in East Nashville or Tavern for brunch. Those are probably my two favorites in town for that meal, with Marche definitely being the lighter option of the two (I'll admit I do sometimes leave hungry). Fido is also a good option. I love the place. Good coffee and a great burger that's been deservedly getting a lot of local foodie buzz lately (would solve your burger fix). As far as other burger options go, TLF mentioned some good options. I'm partial to Gabby's (M-Sa, mostly lunch hours) and PM out of the group.

        In general, I wouldn't bother with pizza down here. I actually like Mafiaoza's, which is a pretty divisive place, but I recognize it for what it is, a fun neighborhood spot serving greasy but satisfying pizzas. Not really a spot I'd send or take out-of-towners on a tight schedule. Now, again, if you're here on Sunday, the obvious recommendation is City House, which would allow you to get your pizza fix with some more interesting options (Food Network Magazine picked it as the best pizza in Tennessee, for whatever that's worth). In addition, though, you would also have the other Sunday Supper options on Tandy Wilson's menu to choose from. It's been arguably the best restaurant in town for a few years (though may have been unseated by The Catbird Seat), and it's one of the few places here that I've never had a less than outstanding meal.

        If you're in the city more than just one day, a number of the other places you mentioned are very good choices, but as TLF mentioned, check to make sure you have meals right. One big one you didn't list is Mas Tacos in East Nashville (across from Holland House and The Pharmacy), which serves a small menu of outstanding tacos, plantains, elotes, etc. Worth checking out for a cheaper meal, especially if you're at the Holland House for drinks.

        Speaking of which, of the bars you listed, the Patterson House is really the only place that actually focuses on drinks, while the others are really all sit down restaurants (and Noshville I only know of as a New York-styled lunchtime deli). Whiskey Kitchen (same owner as Kayne Prime and Tavern) might be worth looking into in addition to Holland House and Patterson House, but, yeah, none of them have live music. For that, maybe someone more in tune with the tourist scene on Lower Broadway or the locals scene in East Nashville could help.

        Sorry, can't help much with Murfreesboro, but hopefully I'm not too late to help a bit with Nashville.

        5 Replies
        1. re: gkm23

          Actually, this was immensely helpful. We will be down there from 6/10-6/14. I have Martin's/Arnold's/Tavern on the list as definites. Also, if you see this in response, are Eastland Cafe and Bound'ry worth the prices for what they serve? I printed their menus and was thinking of doing dinner there on Sunday, of course I don't know if it would be best to call for reservation.Oh, and I will keep Marche in mind and the other places that are in conjunction with the Tavern. I know that we can't wait for brunch at the tavern on Sunday!! Again, thanks for your insight.

          1. re: Jake2043

            I think Eastland is absolutely worth the price. It has been a couple of years since I went to Bound'ry, but at one time it was a regular hang, and at that time it was worth the money. For ANY place that takes reservations, make 'em. You might not have had any problems, but some places fill up and without a res you'll be out of luck.

            1. re: TLF

              Ok thanks I will see which menu we thinks sounds the best and see if we can get in.

              1. re: Jake2043

                You may want to try the new Urban Grub restaurant in the 12th South area. They've been gettings lots of buzz lately, and the menu was developed by Deb Paquett...one of Nashville's favorite chefs.

                1. re: pete k

                  Thanks for the suggestion!!

        2. There's a lot here so I won't go point by point necessarily, but hopefully this will be of some help. Addressing some specific foods:

          Pizza---Mafiaoza's is indeed a pretty divisive joint. We like it, but not so much when ordering by the slice. If you choose to order a whole pie (prosciutto, eggplant, and basil is a good combo) then it can be very tasty. Possible downside is that their pizza can sometimes be a bit soggy towards the middle, but not always. Aside from Mafiaoza's I would suggest checking out Bella Napoli. It's a cool location and as far as the style of pie is concerned I'm not aware of any better in town. On the issue of City House...I have yet to make it, but have only heard great things.

          BBQ---Edley's is not bad. My experience with Martin's was offsite and I wasn't overjoyed. I would suggest checking out B&C if you really want BBQ, or track down Smoke et al. (see below). Otherwise I would skip BBQ altogether.

          Burgers---This is perhaps where I am at my harshest. I haven't had what I would consider to be a good burger in Nashville. Pharmacy is perhaps the closest to what I could recommend, but it is still a toss up as to whether it will be dry and under-seasoned. My feelings about Burger Up are similar. You would be better off hitting Wendy's on a good day. I know that sounds harsh, but when you are paying good money for local beef there's no reason for it to be killed a second time by the grill and never see the salt. So bottom line...try Pharmacy out if you really want a burger and definitely sit in the beer garden if weather permits. Otherwise...meh

          Now on to some specific suggestions...

          Flyte---can certainly be pricey, but my experience has been on point
          ChaChah---great cocktails and the perfect place to hang out and share small plates with friends. This is one of my favorite spots in town. Basil Gimlet and Metropolitan are both solid drink choices.
          Patterson House---definitely worth visiting pre-dinner or late night. Best bar in town.

          I should also mention the growing street food scene. If you see or happen to be near Riffs, Grilled Cheeserie, or Smoke et al. then I would definitely grab something, even if to split one item. Smoke et al. does some of the better BBQ I have eaten in Nashville.

          This is all I have for now.

          1 Reply
          1. re: matthew715

            Great, thanks for the help I appreciate it! Sounds like I won't want for food places. Can't wait to try a lot of these places.

          2. I know I'm late to this post, but I just got back from Nashville and I have a few recs for anyone who finds this post while searching. I was in town for two dinners and a breakfast. For dinners, we ate at Pucketts and Merchants, both of which I would highly recommend. Hearing live music at dinner at Pucketts was a treat. I had a bbq pork platter that was very good, and seemed ridiculously cheap coming from NYC. At Merchant's, I had wings and fish tacos (we ate downstairs), both of which I would recommend. For breakfast, we went to a cafeteria style place on the same street as the Wild Horse saloon. It was a couple of blocks past WH heading away from Broadway - biscuits and gravy and eggs for a pittance.

            I'm looking forward to going back to Nashville sometime and tyring some more places, but I would recommend these places to anyone staying downtown without a car.