Stories

Our Guide to Nashville’s Iconic Restaurants

July 9, 2019

In Nashville, the tea is sweet, the biscuits are buttery, and the chicken is hot! Over the years, Nashville has not only made its mark in music but also has been a pioneer in the culinary scene. We’ve put together a list of some of the most legendary and beloved restaurants Nashville has to offer.

By Lexi Howder • July 9, 2019

The Loveless Cafe

No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to The Loveless Cafe. Since 1951, The Loveless Cafe has been serving up scratch-made Southern dishes and hospitality to travelers, Nashvillians and food-enthusiasts alike. What was first a front-porch pit stop to hungry travelers off Highway 100 has become a Nashville staple for almost 70 years. The café’s mouthwatering dishes became so popular that Lon and Annie Loveless converted their home into a restaurant and added a 14-room motel for guests to stay overnight. The motel has since been converted into gift shops and an event space. With more than half a million visitors a year, The Loveless Cafe whips up nearly 10,000 homemade biscuits each day. When you go, make sure to try some alongside gravy and country ham. Learn more

Prince’s

The story behind the invention of a Nashville delicacy is spicier than the chicken itself. Legend has it that one night after a late night out, reputed womanizer Thornton Prince returned home to an angry girlfriend. The scorned lover doused Prince’s favorite homemade fried chicken with a concoction of spices as punishment, sure to burn him from the inside out. The plan backfired. Thornton loved the chicken so much that he and his brothers started serving it at their original barbecue shop. Hot chicken caught on like wildfire with shacks dedicated to the fiery fowl popping up all around the city, but Prince’s has stayed a Nashville staple for nearly 100 years. Learn more

Pancake Pantry

Pancake Pantry has been a Nashville tradition dating back to 1961 when Robert Baldwin perfected his delicious pancake recipe made from fresh-milled Tennessee flour. Located in Hillsboro Village, the Pancake Pantry is a must-try that slings breakfast all day. Aside from the restaurant’s buttery, fluffy pancakes, other menu favorites include crepes, French toast, and hash browns. Pro tip: To avoid long lines, check out the Pancake Cam before you go! Learn more

Monell’s

Monell’s has become the go-to spot for a Southern-style brunch. Located inside a 1905 Victorian home, Monell’s is famous for its family-style dining. Guests are seated at large tables with family, friends, and strangers who quickly turn into friends. The Broadway crowd will appreciate the Germantown location’s Midnight Country Breakfast, served every Saturday night from midnight to 3 a.m. The all-you-can-eat, rotating menu will be sure to satisfy and leave you full — just remember to pass to the left. Learn more

Rotier’s Restaurant

Nashville might be a fast-growing city, but flagship Rotier’s Restaurant has the same amount of charm as it did 75 years ago when it was established in 1945. Once a carriage house for the Burlington mansion, it was converted into a full-scale restaurant after World War II. This Midtown burger joint has been family-owned-and-operated for three generations. Stop by for a meat-and-three plate or try their famous cheeseburger on French bread. Learn more

Bobbie’s Dairy Dip

Since 1951, Bobbie’s has been serving up ice cream and burgers at their shop in Sylvan Park. Decked out with neon accents and outdoor tables, this nostalgic ice cream parlor will satisfy your sweet tooth. Cool down from a hot summer day with a hand-dipped cone or creamy milkshake from this family favorite pit stop. It’s one of our favorite places to get ice cream in NashvilleLearn more

Margot Café

In the Five Points neighborhood just five minutes from downtown Nashville, Margot Café & Bar serves up French-inspired cuisine with a slightly Southern twang. The restaurant’s building dates back to the 1930s when it was Fluty’s Service Station. In 2001, the space was transformed into a cozy and quaint food corner, and chef Margot McCormack has been a culinary luminary in the city. The menu changes daily with an emphasis on farm-to-table, fresh ingredients. Learn more

Dino’s

Dino’s is the oldest dive bar in East Nashville. Complete with retro wood paneling, dim lighting, and an old jukebox, walking inside takes you back into a different time. This hole-in-the-wall eatery holds many secrets to music history, often attracting the musician crowd after shows. Satisfy your late-night cravings by diving into the famous Dino’s cheeseburger and an ice-cold beer. Don’t sleep on this Nashville icon. Learn more

Arnold’s Country Kitchen

When in Nashville, do as the locals do. Get your classic meat-and-three plate at Arnold’s Country Kitchen for a real deal down-home meal. Your plate will be piled high with your choice of meat and three sides at their cafeteria-style restaurant where options rotate daily. Jack Arnold opened the restaurant in 1982 and learned Southern cooking from his mother while attending Vanderbilt and working at the college’s cafeteria. Now run by Jack’s family, you’ll get your comfort food fix by filling up on their roast beef, green beans, mac ’n’ cheese, and more. Learn more

Elliston Place Soda Shop

Elliston Place Soda Shop is Nashville’s oldest continuously operating restaurant in the same location, and for a good reason. This piece of Nashville history is decked out with jukeboxes and a neon sign that has hung in the same place for nearly 80 years. The building itself was originally a grocery store-turned-pharmacy in the 1920s. In 1939, part of the pharmacy was redesigned to incorporate the soda shop. Located in the heart of Midtown, Elliston Place is a popular spot for music videos, commercials, and photo shoots. Stop by and you might catch a glimpse of your favorite celebrity sipping on a shake. Learn more

After Dinner, Enjoy a Show
A Grand Ole Opry show is a can’t-miss Nashville experience. Dedicated to honoring country music’s rich history and dynamic present, the Grand Ole Opry showcases a mix of country legends and the contemporary chart-toppers who have followed in their footsteps.