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5 Must-Try Places to Eat in Nashville

AAA/Laurie Sterbens
By AAA Travel Editor Laurie Sterbens
November 04, 2021
If you’re planning a trip to Nashville and wondering where to eat, you’ll want to make sure your to-do list includes trying some Tennessee barbecue and fiery hot fried chicken. Here are a few local restaurants where you’ll find these must-haves and more.
flickr / CC BY /Rachel Chapdelaine

Arnold's Country Kitchen

605 8th Ave. S.
(615) 256-4455
Southern comfort food is a must during a Nashville vacation, and there’s no better way to experience it than sitting down to a “meat-and-three” at Arnold’s Country Kitchen. The family-owned, cafeteria-style restaurant has been serving up Southern and soul food since 1982 and was recognized with a James Beard American Classics Award in 2009. You’ll likely find a line outside this lunch-only spot, but it moves quickly. Grab a tray and load up with daily specials such as fried chicken, sugar-cured ham and country-fried steak, surrounded by sides including turnip greens, mashed potatoes and black-eyed peas. Forget the diet and dive into a dessert menu that features banana pudding, spicy chocolate pie and a selection of seasonal treats.
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AAA/Inspector 597

Biscuit Love

316 11th Ave. S.
(615) 490-9584
Who doesn’t love a big, fluffy biscuit? Whether it’s smothered in sausage gravy, topped with fried chicken or ham and eggs, there’s no happier way to start the day. Biscuit Love got its start as a food truck and now has three locations serving up fresh-baked biscuits and other locally sourced Southern specialties for breakfast and lunch. Try the Princess, a buttermilk biscuit topped with a Nashville-style spicy hot chicken thigh, pickles, mustard and honey. If you’ve got a sweet tooth—and someone to share with—order the “bonuts,” fried biscuit dough topped with lemon mascarpone and served over blueberry compote.

Hattie B's Hot Chicken

112 19th Ave. S.
(615) 678-4794
When it comes to deciding what to eat in Nashville, hot chicken is the menu item that tops everyone’s bucket list. One of the most popular places to try it is Hattie B’s. Locals and tourists alike line up here for the spicy specialty, available in six heat levels ranging from “Southern (No Heat)” to “Shut the Cluck Up!!! (Burn Notice).” Round out your meal with Southern-style sides like greens, pimento mac and cheese, baked beans and coleslaw, and cool your taste buds with sweet tea or local draft beer. Peach cobbler is the perfect foil for your spicy entrée, but if it’s not in season, try their popular banana pudding.
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AAA/Laurie Sterbens

Martin's Bar-B-Que Joint

410 4th Ave. S.
(615) 288-0880
The smoker pit at Martin’s is fired up around the clock, so you’re likely to smell the heavenly aroma of whole hog barbecue before you step inside. (There will be a line at this fast casual eatery, but it moves fast.) Place your order at the counter and find a seat on the spacious back patio, where you can dig into mouthwatering ribs, brisket or a Redneck Taco—your choice of barbecue meat or catfish served on a cornbread hoecake and topped with slaw and barbecue sauce. Don’t miss dessert; the menu features Southern favorites including pecan pie, fudge pie and coconut cake.
AAA/Laurie Sterbens

The Wild Cow

1896 Eastland Ave.
(615) 262-2717
You don’t have to be a vegan to love The Wild Cow. When you can enjoy flavorful dishes topped with creamy house-made sauces and dressings, in a fun and friendly atmosphere, you won’t miss meat for a minute. Start off with vegan queso or spinach and artichoke dip, then choose from a full menu of salads, bowls, tacos, and wraps and sandwiches. Menu items are made fresh to order—no microwave or freezer here—using locally grown, seasonal produce. Be sure to ask your server about dessert; their selection of vegan sweets changes daily.

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