In my early 20s, I lived in the great state of Tennessee for about three years and traveled all over the place as a newspaper reporter. I lived in Chattanooga, but regularly made trips to Atlanta and Nashville like it ain’t no thang. So you might guess the TV series Nashville has a special place in my heart.
Naturally, when I talk about my time in Tennessee and the great American South, barbecue comes to mind. I have loved pulled pork since I attended a press conference at UNC back in 2005, where they served the media a buffet of coleslaw and BBQ sandwiches, because that’s how you serve in North Carolina-style.
(I made this graphic for my masters thesis and I’m so proud of it. It’s like I knew I was going to have a food blog.)
Cook Out, a chain of fast BBQ joints that sadly only exist in North Carolina, always makes amazing and cheap BBQ sandwiches, along with the thickest shakes you’ll ever taste. Check out their epic menu.
East Tennessee-style BBQ is dry, with sauce (hot or mild) on the side. Absolutely no coleslaw. I used to put coleslaw on my sandwiches in Chattanooga and my friends cringed. The above photo is from my favorite Chattanooga BBQ place, Rib and Loin. Always good, always huge portions and some damn good banana pudding, too.
And that brings us back to Nashville.
Food I Love in Nashville
- Loveless Cafe – Located at the north end of the Natchez Trace, Loveless serves up the best damn Southern fried chicken and biscuits in a former motel.
- Edgehill Cafe – Really cool cafe with great food, good wifi, and live music. Drum circles, even.
- Demos’ Steak and Spaghetti House – Yeah, you read that right. It’s not authentic Italian and it’s not Olive Garden, but Demos’ has some delicious creative pasta dishes. And steak. Don’t forget the steak.
- Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ Restaurant – BBQ. Need I say more? Okay, I will. They also start your meal with bacon cheddar biscuits for free. Ask for more, because you will want more. This was my friend Jaime’s favorite place with good reason.