how can you properly food it up in Nashville?

Woo hoo, my honky ass is in Nashville, TN. I’m here for the Southern Festival of Books this Saturday. I will be speaking on a panel titled "It’s Eating You – Authors Tell All About Fat Camp and Loving Your Body." The panel is at 12:30, followed by a book signing.

Today I have the whole day (and night) to myself and need suggestions on how to spend it. I will tell you now that I am in love with the South, and I know I should be working, but hello, I’m here for one day! I need to play! And meet people. Here are the places I’m hoping to go. Please let me know if any of these should be avoided, and give suggestions. Where would you go if you had the day to spend here in Tennessee? Since I’m without a car, I’m guessing I can cab it here and there. I’m staying downtown, a block from tomorrow’s festival.



Now the truth is, there’s plenty of Southern cooking & BBQ in Austin. I don’t need chicken & dumplings or chicken fried steak, or chicken & waffles, or any chicken or grits at all. And I certainly don’t need brisket or ribs or sausage. I know the Pancake Pantry became the go-to spot when Garth Brooks mentioned it to Jay Leno, for the waitress who remembered what each customer ordered. Since I have no intention of eating pancakes today, I’ll likely skip it. What I need instead is just somewhere memorable. In case you’re planning a trip here, too, these are places people have suggested for a good down-home comfort food of a meal: Loveless Cafe, The Yellow Porch, The Pancake Pantry, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, The Sands, Bolton’s Spicy Chicken and Fish, Arnold’s Country Kitchen, Rotier’s


Anyone know much about 1808 Grille? It seems like it’s mostly for corporate lunches, not necessarily a place a woman would go to eat alone at the bar, hoping to meet some nice Southern ladies & gentlemen. Another reader has suggested Tayst in Hillsboro VIllage and Firefly Grille in Green Hills (they’re quite different from each other). Firefly Grille being more casual, friendly, quirky–a neighborhood spot.

Good Southern Drinking:


I HAVE to bring my Sweet Mister home some good Tennessee Whiskey! Though, I’m really not going to hit up the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. I will, however, be drinking tonight… my go to move of "Jack & Ginger" might just get played. At least once anyway. "Definitely have drinks at The Patterson House. It’s hard to find, but not far from downtown and absolutely worth it," a reader suggested. I hear they serve up cocktails from another era, very old school, which sounds so appealing and sexy. I may just wear a skirt, but I will, for certain be heading there tonight. Another reader mentioned heading to the Wine Loft or Sambuca for late afternoon drinks.


Obviously I’m not looking for clothes I can find anywhere else. I don’t need a store that sells Theory. I need one that has its own theory on fashion. Venus and Mars–My beloved Garden & Gun Magazine suggested this vintage shop, which sells men’s and women’s fashions from the 1800’s through the 1980’s. The store was named "One of the Best Clothing Stores in America" by GQ Magazine.

I’m also told Hillsboro Village has some fun shopping; Pangaea was a suggestion I received today for its Mexican folk art and funky home decor. H. Audrey sounds fun, for it’s rock ‘n’roll finds. Apparently, it’s known for having"left-of-center" designers. We’ll see.

Points of interest:

Country Music Hall of Fame and Belmont Mansion

What in the hell should I do with my night?


Hoping to definitely hit up a happy hour or three, then find a good foodie dinner spot (anyone?), then am up for anything fun. Help a Yankee out. I’ll likely try this suggestion "Honky tonking on Broadway at night is actually fun and hilarious. Robert’s Country & Western Bar on Broadway is the best." Gotta do it, right? I love music that’s driven by a story, by lyrics and soul. I’m not so much into instrumental jams or the blues. Typically, I’m not really into country music either, despite the fact that they are stories, but hey, you never know. Maybe I’ll hear something tonight and change my mind. I do, after all, adore Kasey Chambers.

A YEAR AGO: Rethinking the Cooch Wear
2 YEARS AGO: I’m Too Sexy For My Bra
3 YEARS AGO: Shocking the Shock-Jock



  1. Jack’s BBQ located on Broadway near the Country Music Hall of Fame and for local music, Roberts or Tootsie’s just up from Jack’s.

  2. Your southern food list isn’t going to impress you. Loveless is the best you’ve got there and is cute and the food is good but it’s far out of town and touristy. Have hot chicken from Prince’s if you want (also not very convenient), but I would suggest going to either Hog Heaven for bbq or Monell’s for a big southern meal in an adorable old house with a beautiful garden. But literally you won’t be able to walk afterwards. Definitely don’t go to the Pancake Pantry– long lines, dirty, very touristy/college crowd.

    There is other very good food that is not entirely lard based but is southern influenced. I would highly suggest Margot in East Nashville. It’s very low key but great, and they have a casual sister cafe called Marche. Also Rumors is a great wine bar with fabulous food, a great place to hang out at the bar, drink wine, and eat amazing food.

    Nashville lacks a lot of quirky shopping options. Check out the 12South neighborhood. It’s close to downtown. They have some cute vintage stores and boutiques. Also a fantastic little popcicle place called Las Paletas.

    And you must must must go to Hatch Show Print on Broadway to check out the vintage posters and printing.

    For nighttime: you can go to the honkytonks downtown, they are very entertaining. But you MUST try to get tickets to the Bluebird if you can, it’s a tiny club and you will hear the most unbelievable music. Last time I was there Bonnie Raite was there, just hanging out and listening.

    Enjoy. Nashville is much more interesting than it seems from just the famous tourist sites.

    1. Author

      I love this blog! Thank you! Because of your comment, I just booked a ticket at Bluebird Cafe for tonight. The later show was sold out, but I did manage to get a seat for the earlier show.

      1. Yay! You’re going to love it! Don’t freak out when you see it’s in a strip mall and the food is bar food and you haven’t probably heard of anyone playing. Seriously it’s the most amazing musical experience. I don’t even listen to country otherwise!

        You keep editing your post and I have too many opinions (I’m also a native New Yorker, Nashville transplant) but I wouldn’t go to the Firefly on your own, it’s like a place for families or to go with friends. If you want a good friendly bar, go to Rumours or also the 12 South Taproom or also F Scott’s is good but more of an upscale, quiet, jazz place.

        Tayst is fine but I would put it in the category of places trying too hard to be on Sex in the City, along with Cabana (though there are often sightings of the Nashville “Bachelor” there) , Zola, Sunset Grill, Boundry– all have a trying too hard/sorority feel. The best foodie restaurant in the city is Margot really. Great brunch too.

    2. Author

      So begin with a lunch at Margot, then cab it to Hillsboro Villiage for some shopping, then to Rumours for some wine, then to Bluebird Cafe for a 6:30 show. Then to The Patterson House for more drinks, and then who knows. Sound right?

      1. Sounds good. If the shopping in Hillsboro Village doesn’t thrill you, hit the coffee shop across the street, Fido. Very friendly place. Also there’s a cute shoe store on that street. It’s a very tiny little area, won’t take you long.

  3. I was also going to recommend Monell’s. My friends and I go to Nashville annually, and Monell’s is always a MUST on the list. It is serious down home cooking. Reminds me of Sundays at my grandma’s house. Can’t beat that!

  4. I second the suggestion of Jack’s Barbecue. It’s a Nashville must-do that serves some of the best ‘cue this side of the Mississippi.

  5. you HAVE to go to the loveless cafe for breakfast. they have the best biscuits ever! it was seriously so delicious. it’s just outside the city but so worth it.

    you should also hit up the station which has great live music – all the locals hang out there!

  6. Not sure that Margot does lunch, but Marche, its sister cafe, does and is wonderful. Those two are the best meals in Nashville (Tayst is excellent too, and was just certified as Nashville’s first green eatery). Patterson House is a great bar, you’ll love it. FireFinch and Posh/Posh Home in Hillsboro Village are more your style than Pangaea. Skip Pancake Pantry, go to Fido for breakfast instead to people watch. Robert’s Western World on a Friday or Saturday night is absolutely the place to be. Brazilbilly, the weekend house band, is the best honkeytonk band in town. I don’t know that you’ll love the Loveless. Monell’s in Germantown is just as good and with more charm. Their weekend breakfast is outstanding, too. Finally, City House is a great dinner/bar. For after your Bluebird outing, perhaps, if Patterson House tires.

  7. So cool you’re in my town today! I think your plan to hit up Margot (or Marche is Margot is closed for lunch) is a great idea, followed by Hillsboro Village, then Rumours, then Bluebird (this has been my best music experience in Nashville since moving here 2 years ago), then Patterson house, is GREAT and more than enough to fill a day. Hell, I would spread those events out over a few weeks and consider that a full schedule. Also, I don’t know if you’ll still be around tomorrow, but in tomorrow in Germantown (over behind the capital/downtown area, near where Monell’s is) there is going to be an Oktoberfest. Not very “southern” but fun nevertheless!

  8. the flying saucer was one of my favorite bars when i lived in nashville, though it’s probably not your style (sort of a chain)

  9. I have to say, I found Loveless to be a bit overrated and, as someone else mentioned, it is outside of the city & a little bit of a hike to get out there. I would skip it…Interestingly, one of my favorite food stops in Nashville is that pharmacy that has the little cafe & makes the best chicken salad sandwiches. The name is escaping me though- does anyone know the name of it?

  10. MONELLS in Germantown! On 6th Ave N Family style, the food is so good and every time I’ve been everyone at the table is very get to meet some great people while passing food to your left!
    Great meeting you last night at the Bluebird!! (Mike Willis’ wife)

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