Nashville has never been on my “places to see” list. Though it was only a few hours away by car, the city struck me as a small town with an intense obsession with country music and a lack of diversity. But, after a spur-of-the-moment booking at the famed Catbird Seat and subsequent weekend trip, I realized that my impression of the city was completely misguided. I fell in love with its charm, the burgeoning development, the hospitality and the food. And I’m itching to go back.
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway in the South, consider Nashville for your next trip. With plenty of unique activities, restaurants and attractions, the city will keep you busy. And because this is a food blog, we are highlighting where to eat and drink in Nashville:
1) For a dish native to Nashville, eat hot chicken. This local specialty is not like your typical “buffalo chicken” either. It’s marinated and fried in varying levels of cayenne pepper and other spices, making it flavorful but painful if you order it too hot. Though Prince’s Hot Chicken has been serving up this dish for several decades, Hattie B’s also does a great job with hot chicken. You are forewarned: the lines at these places are bananas and hot chicken is really hotter than you think. Our recommendation? Order a “milder” hot chicken (like mild or medium) from both places, get the pimento mac and cheese on the side from Hattie B’s, order some biscuits from Church’s (which is on EVERY corner) and compare the dishes side-by-side. Oh, and don’t lick your lips. You’re welcome.
2) For a “special occasion” dinner, splurge on The Catbird Seat. This intimate restaurant is dark, exclusive and hip all at the same time. The dim, small space is mostly taken up by an expansive U-shaped bar in the center where the chefs are cooking up the multi-course meal (9 courses plus other tastes!). The price tag is hefty, but certainly worth it as the chefs pay close attention to detail while incorporating creative elements in the dishes. If you’re looking for a less expensive meal (or smaller waiting list), Husk Nashville retains the elegance of its sister restaurant in Charleston while adding local flair in its menu.
3) For handcrafted cocktails, you can’t go wrong with The Patterson House or Pinewood Social. The Patterson House delivers on great cocktails and a neat atmosphere suitable for an after-date drink or a night out with friends. Pinewood Social is a fun hangout spot with a bowling alley, multiple gathering areas with couches and chairs, karaoke, bocce ball and a large bar where Corey and I got comfortable for a couple of hours. I had my very first cocktail with egg white (and I didn’t die lol) and we really enjoyed the hospitality that our bartender gave us (along with the recommendations!).
4) For a breakfast you won’t forget, try the Pancake Pantry. Loved by locals and tourists alike (I ran into a old college classmate here!), this place is for all the carb lovers. With so many variations on the pancake, you’re destined to find something you enjoy, whether it’s savory cornmeal pancake with bacon, cheese and maple syrup (so delish!!) or sweet potato pancakes.
Have you ever been to Nashville before?