Put aside the cloth napkins for a sampling of some of the more down-home cooking that has served Nashville locals and visitors alike for decades. A city of creators, Nashville is credited for the creation of hot chicken. Hot chicken is exactly what it sounds like...hot fried chicken. Head to the birthplace of this amazing heartburn inducer, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Other local hot chicken faves include Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Party Fowl, Pepperfire Hot Chicken, and Scoreboard Bar & Grill, but many restaurants have their own variation of the recipe on their menu. Another Nashville food staple is the classic “meat and three,” downhome, Southern cooking where you typically go through a line, cafeteria style, and order a meat and three sides. Places like Loveless Cafe, Arnold’s Country Kitchen, Swett’s, and Monell’s Dining will force you to make those tough life decisions like fried chicken or meatloaf, mac & cheese or mashed potatoes. And do not leave without trying a delicious pie or banana pudding. Another nod to Nashville’s Southern heritage is the award-winning barbecue joints you’ll find throughout the city. Places like Martin’s BBQ Joint, Peg Leg Porker, Edley’s Bar-B-Que, Jack’s Bar B Que, Bar-B-Cutie, and Puckett’s Grocery each have their own distinct recipes that have locals passionately debating the best barbecue spot in town.
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“While famous for its specialty hot fried chicken, the most notorious and popular dish in town, Nashville’s sticky rib joints and fine dining eateries all celebrate homegrown southern food.”
Innovation abounds in Nashville as chefs at restaurants all around town are using the creative energy of the city to hit the high notes with their award-winning dishes. Head to Etch, Catbird Seat, Husk, 404 Kitchen, and Rolf and Daughters for a meal that will impress even the most well-traveled foodie. The city is also showing its international influences with restaurants like Chauhan Ale and Masala House, Bar Otaku, Anatolia, and Epice featuring traditional ethnic dishes. If you find yourself downtown, head to Black Rabbit, where you will be transported to a 1920's style upscale cocktail bar. Enjoy a drink or two while dining on small plates and finger foods.
“Music City’s culinary scene is hitting a high note as Nashville’s signature southern fare of red-hot chicken and buttermilk biscuits makes room for haute cuisine, vegan dishes and fusion food.”
Raise a glass to Nashville’s crafty cocktail scene. Restaurants and bars like Bastion, Pinewood Social, and The Patterson House are creating cocktails that will have you making friends with the bartender so you can learn the recipe. If you’d rather go straight to the source then head to one (or some) of Nashville’s breweries and distilleries. Nashville’s original craft brewery, Yazoo Brewery, is located in the Gulch and has an open taproom and offers brewery tours Wednesday through Saturday. Other craft breweries worth trying include Black Abbey Brewery, Tennessee Brew Works, East Nashville Beer Works, Hopsmith Tavern, and New Heights Brewing, just to name a few. If your palate prefers wine, a visit to the stunning Arrington Vineyards is a must. You can get a taste at City Winery (where you can eat, drink, and see a concert), Grinder's Switch, The Winery at Belle Meade, and Natchez Hills as well. Distilleries also abound in Nashville including Corsair Distillery, located in Marathon Village and offering tours and a tasting room, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Nashville Craft Distillery, Pennington Distilling Company, Prichard’s Distillery at Fontanel, George Dickel just down the road in Tullahoma, and one of the most famous distilleries of all, Jack Daniel Distillery, located in Lynchburg, TN.
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