Dining FeaturesOct 01, 2012
Destination Nashville: The Foodie Edition
All you need is a weekend to load up on the best of Music City.
Story: Sarah Bruno & Kelly Hamilton
Photos: Sarah Bruno & Kelly Hamilton
WORD IS OUT THAT NASHVILLE has become the new cultural hotspot when it comes to fashion, food and entertainment. Local tastemakers call the city the “Refined South”—we call it plain cool. Long known as the home of country music and 10-gallon hats, Nashville is now experiencing a renaissance, with an upswing in the number of trendy restaurants and fashion boutiques and a buzzing craft cocktail scene.
So, we hit the road in the name of research, and five hours later, we arrived in Music City to take in a laid-back, long weekend. One of the best things about Nashville is that you never feel rushed: You can tour most of the neighborhoods and sights in the first two days of your trip and then decide how you want to spend the rest of your time. We spent most of our weekend in the hip neighborhoods of 12South, East Nashville and Hillsboro Village. Here are the foodie highlights, in honor of our Eat + Drink Issue.
DINNER NO. 1 WITH A SIDE OF SHOPPING
After snacking on the standard road trip fare on the drive down to Nashville, we craved some real food for dinner. Burger Up, located in the emergent 12South neighborhood, satisfied our appetites and gave us that good feeling that can only come from locally sourced food. Try the Woodstock burger, topped with Benton’s bacon, Tennessee Sweetwater white cheddar and Jack Daniels maple ketchup with a side of truffle fries. We were as impressed with their craft cocktails as we were with their burgers and opted for the Wonderland containing Rain organic vodka, Goslings ginger beer, lime, mint, cucumber and fresh ginger simple syrup. After lunch or dinner, walk down 12th Avenue to scope out the shops, including Nashville’s now famous Imogene and Willie, a buzzy boutique-slash-denim-jeans maker that not only carries an uber-hip Southern cool factor, but also tailors your jeans on-site for the perfect fit.
BRUNCH & MORNING COFFEE
For brunchers, Fido is a must. Situated in the heart of Hillsboro Village, just blocks away from Vanderbilt University, this casual, order-at-the-counter café serves up everything from muffins to egg scrambles or our favorite, the Fishy Bomb—a bagel sandwich featuring smoked salmon, herb cream cheese, onion, lettuce and capers. Eat inside or step out on the sidewalk cafe to people watch while sipping a cup of coffee from Fido’s sister company, Bongo Java Roasting Co.
DINNER NO. 2 WITH A SIDE OF ROMANCE
One of the pioneers on East Nashville’s foodie front, Margot Café and Bar offers rustic French and Italian cuisine in an unstuffy, but sophisticated atmosphere. Its intimate seating and warm lighting make it a choice spot for a romantic night out. The menu changes daily, and on the night we dined there, we shared two dishes: the fried polenta, stuffed peppers with tomato sauce and arugula salad and steak frites.
OTHER MENTIONABLE EATS
City House: Nestled in Germantown, this eatery serves up Italian entrées, pizzas and seafood dishes with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. Try the belly ham and house-made charcuterie.
Pancake Pantry: Arrive early or be prepared to wait for these delicious stacks. McDougal’s: College kids abound in this hot wing heaven, advertising free ice cream with any order.
Nashville Biscuit House: Despite its vault-like exteriors. Inside, it’s all warm and cheery—and grits come with everything.
Music City Musts
Additional hotspots to shop, see and play.
Splurge on the backstage tour of The Ryman, the historic theater that served as home of the original Grand Ole Opry. You’ll see the spot where Johnny Cash met June Carter, and feel like you’re in the epicenter of the country music universe…because you are.
Make a stop at Hatch Prints, one of the oldest letterpress print shops in the country, known for its unmistakable music poster style employed over the decades to promote shows from Johnny Cash to Hank Williams.
Tootsie’s is perhaps the most famous honky-tonk on Broadway. After some obligatory boot scooting, we walked down the block to Wannabes, where bands looking to get discovered work the stage between guests.
Eschew generic hotels for more unique dwellings. On the higher end, The Hermitage Hotel is an old, 122-room spot that’s housed many famous guests from John F. Kennedy to Oprah; it also offers views of the capital city’s monuments. Of course, the Ramada near the stadium has its own one-of-a-kind feature—a guitar shaped pool!
03/01 |More to Kimora
Fabulous might be her middle name, but the STL-bred fashion celeb prov... read more
02/01 |The Buzz List
St. Louis' most influential people, organizations and ideas of 2013.... read more
02/01 |Good Times
The Legendary John goodman on movies, memories and actors who aren't a... read more
12/01 |Head Case
The insane Hollywood life of STL-bred actor Evan Peters... read more
11/01 |Straight Shooter
Blues team captain David Backes stands firm on and off the ice.... read more
10/01 |Good Girl
Country mega-star Carrie Underwood is as sweet as she is sassy, giving... read more
09/01 |Model Citizen
Smart, bighearted and grounded as all get-out, St. Louis-bred supermod... read more
06/01 |King of Talk
STL’s Andy Cohen gets chatty about his new book, his skyrocketing late... read more
06/01 |Art Couture
The art community tries on a new look at “DRESSED.”... read more
06/01 |If You Build It...
After three years, the Saint Louis Art Museum is ready to reveal its s... read more
June 2013... read more
06/01 |Mission Taco Joint
Mexican street food from the heart of California comes to The Loop.... read more