In honor of Chritiques being named One of the Top Chicago-Based Bloggers to Follow by FlipKey, a TripAdvisor company, my Travel Guides continue this week with everyone’s new favorite city – Nashville!
Nashville was my home for four years while I attended Vanderbilt University. When I decided to move from Chicago to Nashville for college, not many people were familiar with Vanderbilt, or understood why I wanted to attend a southern school where country music and southern cookin’ are king. Now, however, it is the hottest destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties, family vacations, and friend getaways. Nashville is still a second home to me, and I try to visit at least once a year.
I previously wrote about some of my favorite Nashville restaurants, including San Antonio Taco Company, or “SATCO,” as well as Husk and Rolf & Daughters. And, since I am already talking about food, I might as well offer a few new suggestions that I recently visited over a recent bachelorette party weekend.
While new to me, Jack’s Bar-B-Que is not so new to Nashville’s Music Row and, let’s face it, no trip to Nashville is complete without some Tennessee barbeque. Jack’s is located on the bustling Broadway Street, also known as Music Row. It features a multi-level dining area, as well as a patio facing the historic Ryman Auditorium. Open at 10:30 a.m., arrive early, or be prepared to wait in line.
Once inside, ordering is done directly with your food server at the counter. Know what you want when it is your turn; patience is not a virtue for the workers, or your fellow diners waiting in line. Seating is then where you can find it – downstairs, upstairs, or outside. The menu is simple – plates, sandwiches or pounds of pork shoulder, smoked turkey, ribs, brisket, sausage or chicken. Vegetarians can make a hearty meal out of the many side dishes. Prices are very reasonable and the food is good. Not the best barbeque you’ve had, but soul satisfying with a bit of history.
The best drinks in town can be found at The Patterson House, which happens to also be situated directly beneath one of the best restaurants in town – Catbird Seat. The Patterson House is an upscale bar serving craft cocktails in a sophisticated setting.
Many of the drinks hearken to the Prohibition era, and all are made from scratch with top of the line ingredients. Every patron must have a seat – no milling around the bar here – so a line forms even before it opens at 5 p.m.
The Southern Steak & Oyster, a unique and animated eatery offering authentic southern cuisine, is a perfect weekend brunch destination. A live Blue Grass band added to the ambiance of the bustling space, and we were happy that we had a reservation for our large group.
With a menu filled with traditional southern fare, such as shrimp and grits, a southern fried egg sandwich, gumbo, and fried chicken and waffles, it may need to be your only meal of the day. I tried to keep it a little healthy with the crab cake salad – jumbo lump crab cakes, arugula, shaved fennel, grapefruit, avocado, and red onions, and I was not disappointed. It is definitely a fun spot with good food.
Marché Artisan Foods is a European-style eatery located near the heart of Historic East Nashville – an area that is newly developed and one that I never ventured to during my time in Nashville. Marché serves seasonal cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but I visited for the popular weekend brunch. Tempting house made baked goods are on display at the counter near the small waiting area. They not only looked amazing, but smelled that way, as well. We managed to avoid temptation, though it was terribly difficult to do!
I enjoyed an egg white omelet, with swiss chard, roasted red peppers, ricotta, and parmesan, with a simple side of greens, but I had immediate order envy when I saw others with the smoked salmon tartine and croissant french toast. It was a cute little brunch spot that I enjoyed.
Located right off Broadway and across the street from Bridgestone Arena and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge is Pub5, a creative American gastropub serving craft beer, cocktails , and a variety of elevated bar food, such as small plates, tacos, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. We started with tasty cornbread fritters, and I enjoyed the kale salad, with roasted beets, goat cheese, and a lovely grilled salmon. It was a great casual dinner spot to visit prior to hitting up the honky tonks on Music Row.
Finally, Pinewood Social is a trendy hangout featuring New American cuisine, cocktails, and bowling in an industrial chic environment, located right on the riverfront. Outside, bocce courts and even a small swimming pool offer visitors a little bit of everything. We visited for brunch and were immediately taken with the lofted space with tons of natural light. However, the absent waitress who was extremely rude when she was present put a sour note on our experience.
While I enjoyed my meal of scrambled eggs, delicious house made biscuits, and fresh fruit, others did not care for their choices. While I would return to Pinewood Social, I hope that the issues with our service was a one time offense.
Stay tuned this week for Parts 2 and 3 of my Nashville travel guide, wherein I will discuss options for places to stay, as well as what to do during your visit. Have you been to Nashville?