In honor of Restaurant Week, we here at Sports & Entertainment Nashville decided to take a poll and pick some of our favorite dining places. Nashville Originals, the organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the best of what locally owned restaurants have to offer, puts on Restaurant Week twice annually. And what luck! This week is it, dear readers! So, the ladies at Sports & Entertainment had the hard job of picking our favorites around town. Here’s what we picked. We may not be professional foodies, but if we were ever to add another segment to our magazine, you’d have to call us “Sports & Entertainment & Food Nashville”! Just ask our publisher. He’ll tell you that we all love to eat!
Sunset Grill – Dana Malone, Contributing Writer and Local Fare Fanatic
When I moved to Nashville in 1990, I lived at 18th Avenue South and Horton. Two blocks behind me was the little place where Garth Brooks was cooking up No. 1 hits. Across Wedgewood, in the heart of Hillsboro Village, Sunset Grill opened. I like to think that the both of us have fared well. I do know that the Sunset Grill’s menu is one of my favorite songbooks. Going there makes me feel like Nashville is my true hometown. Known for its signature classics (I hear Kenny Rogers singing “Through the years!”) and its surprising features from regional ingredients, Sunset Grill remains on my recommendation list for out-of-town guests. I go for everyday dining and special treats. Here’s to great times, in blue jeans, power lunch pumps, and pre-opera semi-formals. I just took a look at the menu for 2014, the clever $20.14 pairing menu. Here’s to Randy Rayburn for making my life complicated with such difficult decisions as 1. “Watermelon gazpacho or beets and heat?” or 2. “Shrimp and grits or rainbow trout BLT?”
And here’s to Randy for years of great food and service.
55 South – Rachel Traczewski, Contributing Writer and Foodie Extraordinaire
One of my very favorite places is 55 South, in the heart of downtown Franklin. 55 South was named after the interstate that links Memphis and New Orleans, and its food matches the local cuisines found there, from barbecue to crayfish pies. And it’s still a thrill to see a local place pop up on national television, and we’re proud to say that it’s happening more and more around here! 55 South has been featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with the colorful host Guy Fieri in his recognizable classic red convertible. Located in downtown Franklin, 55 South serves Southern comfort food. Owner Jason McConnell, who also owns Red Pony Restaurant, has combined creole cuisine with delicious sandwiches and barbecue.
The menu includes Cajun classics such as shrimp and grits and chicken and sausage jambalaya. If you want more of the Memphis vibe, 55 South offers variety with smoked queso with barbecue brisket and a fabulous fried pork chop sandwich. How much more Southern could you get?! On Saturdays and Sundays, 55 South offers brunch, and there’s a great twist to the typical Sunday brunch: a “Bloody Mary” bar where guests can make their own drinks however they’d like. Endless mimosas are another intriguing brunch option.
Don’t worry if the restaurant is crowded due to its smaller size. It’s definitely worth the wait! Its location also allows guests to roam downtown Franklin, which was voted the “Best Small Town in Tennessee.” The unique menu options, along with the quaint ambiance, makes 55 South a Franklin staple.
Noshville – Leigh Greenwood, Managing Editor and Stalker of Delis
Good gracious, it was tough to pick my favorite restaurant out of the impressive list that comprises the Nashville Originals. But after some deliberating, the choice was clear. Noshville. What could be better than a restaurant that offers traditional Reubens, matzo ball soup and giant pickles? Not to mention the corned beef hash and the bagels and lox, done up right with capers and red onions. Noshville has been one of my very favorites for years, and it is a great choice for any meal. Breakfast is fabulous. I never can decide between the corned beef hash or the surprisingly good oatmeal. Trust me. Not many people would think to order oatmeal out, since it’s one of those foods that almost anyone can make at home. Boil water.
Stir. Eat. But their oatmeal is fabulous. So try it sometime. You won’t be disappointed. But then there’s lunch. The hot ham and cheese? Wow. Ask for a slice of tomato to be added. Lawsy! And dinner has some great choices, too. There’s the meatloaf. There’s the corned beef and cabbage. There’s the patty melt. There’s the burger. Can you tell I’m a fan? And you can’t leave Noshville without trying the pancakes – called “griddle cakes” in their world – and the potato pancakes. Golly gee, they’re good. So if you’re a fan of Noshville like me, go back soon. And if you haven’t tried it before, you’ve just absolutely got to go. It’s one of those places that can’t be missed. Happy eating!
Elliston Place Soda Shop – Jessi Maness, Editor-in-chief and Milkshake Connoisseur
At Elliston Place Soda Shop, not only can you have your eyes roll back in your head at the very THOUGHT of one of their “real ice-cream” milk shakes, you can actually experience the rolling back of them once you take the first sip. And Walmart thinks they have the market cornered on rollbacks? I think not!
But not only is their soda fountain a hit, (you can even get old fashioned ice cream floats), so is their “real-American-food.” You can get a meat-n-three (or two or one) any day of the week or you can order off-the-grill. There is nothing better than their incredible cheeseburger with crinkle cut fries, which makes it one of the best “go-to” places in town when it comes to a yum-filled lunch.
BUT – why stop only at lunch, when they also serve breakfast! I’d almost forgotten about that. (Mainly because my head is clogged with chocolate from their fab milkshakes.)
At Elliston Place Soda Shop, celebrity sightings are the norm. You never know who you’ll see enjoying the food – as well as the authentic soda shop environment. So if you want to take a walk back through time and satisfy a craving for a great hamburger, fries and a malt or milkshake, Elliston Place IS the place.
As Nashville’s oldest operating restaurant in its original location, it might be noted on the National Register of Historic Places, but it’s also a monument to our local greatness.