Entertainment, On A High Note

Local Nashvillians: Don’t avoid the popular tourist spots, embrace them

So, you are a born-and-raised Nashvillian.

You’ve been here since pre “It City” status.

Over the last decade of growth in our city you have become a novelty in your own right, frequently hearing the phrase, “Oh wow, you’re like a ‘real’ local that was born here and everything.”

When most local Nashvillians think of the Pancake Pantry, a long line comes to mind first. PHOTO COURTESY PANCAKE PANTRY

For many who fall into this category, you know that Nashville is full of world-famous attractions that bring in visitors from all stretches of the globe. They want to see the spots they read about online, or eat at the “must-visit” restaurants they read about in a magazine that are Uniquely Nashville when they visit.

As a born and raised local, this often times means those same iconic places of our city fall way down the list of places we think about visiting, since they typically have long lines and you always say “We’ll just come back another time, when it isn’t so crowded,” but if you are like me…. You never do.

Well, in this new series beginning on S&E Nashville we are talking to you born and raised native-Nashvillians. There are some amazing places in our town, and it is one thing to drive by them every day or tell your out of town friends they have to visit them when they pass through, but this is the year you side-step the long lines excuse and try what you’ve been missing out on in your own backyard.

Like any good visitor to our town would begin their day, we start this series out with breakfast. There are two iconic breakfast places in in Nashville, sometimes as famous for their long lines as their signature dishes. I am of course talking about the Pancake Pantry and the Loveless Café.

When locals think of the Pancake Pantry, the first image that comes to mind is a line wrapped around the building and down 21st Ave. As a local though, you have an advantage visitors do not. You can go at any time! You don’t have to stand in the huge line on a Saturday morning.

The Pancake Pantry is famous for its variety of pancakes, including the popular chocolate chip pancakes. PHOTO COURTESY PANCAKE PANTRY.

The Pancake Pantry is famous for its variety of pancakes, including the popular chocolate chip pancakes. PHOTO COURTESY PANCAKE PANTRY.

When most hear the word ‘pancake’ they assume you have to be there for breakfast, but Pancake Pantry is open for lunch as well and typically the lines are considerably shorter, if there is one at all. Plan your visit for a weekday (that isn’t a holiday) and you have a great chance of walking right in!

Once in the door and seated you learn quickly why so many visitors rave about it. The choices are almost overwhelming, but once they slide that stack of pancakes in front of you, you’ll already be planning your next visit back. I started with the award-winning Sweet Potato stack, and loved them, but know that next time the chocolate chip pancakes will have my name on them!

I waited much too late in life to make my first visit to the Pancake Pantry, always using the excuse that the “line will just be too long.” I assure you though, after walking in on a Tuesday for an early lunch, stopping only briefly for the hostess to greet us, my family will be back soon.


The famed Loveless Cafe neon sign. PHOTO COURTESY LOVELESS CAFE

The other iconic place for breakfast in Nashville, known for its wait time as much as its food, is the Loveless Café out in Bellevue on Hwy 100 at the start of the Natchez Trace Highway. The Loveless is known world-wide for its signature biscuits, and down home country offerings.

If you drive by on a Saturday morning though, you could almost mistake it for one of the largest car lots in town with visitors overflowing the grounds and waiting hours just for a seat at the red-and-white checkered tables.

Many locals know the Loveless Café as a famous place for breakfast, but don’t think of it for lunch or dinner ‘supper’ as often. Again, having the advantage over visitors from out of town, you can visit the Loveless at any time, and I promise you that you will not be disappointed with the lunch and supper menu! (They come with the famous biscuits too.)

Have a business meeting planned to meet over coffee? Why not have it over coffee and biscuits? The Loveless serves their famed biscuits with every meal, and if you avoid the peak hours of weekends and holidays, you can usually walk right in for a table. Your clients will likely enjoy the change up from the typical coffee house meeting spot, plus everyone knows that in the south business is best done over biscuits anyway.

Try the Loveless Cafe for a mid-day business meeting. Business is best done over biscuits anyway. PHOTO COURTESY LOVELESS CAFE

Try the Loveless Cafe for a mid-day business meeting. Business is best done over biscuits anyway. PHOTO COURTESY LOVELESS CAFE

If you can’t get away in the middle of the day, a week night at the Loveless is considerably less crowded than the peek weekend times. If you do run into a wait time, I have found it not to be any different than any other restaurant in Nashville, but while you wait here you can check out the shops around the Café, gaze at the massive wall of celebrities that have dined there, or even play a quick game of corn hole in the front yard.

Once seated you’ll also find that the Loveless is far more than a breakfast place, although you must have breakfast for dinner – they serve it all day long!

Last month you ditched the excuses to start your New Year’s resolutions, and now it is time to ditch the excuses most often said by locals! Get out there and experience the places in our city that have made it the world-famous location we love so much. You’ll be glad you did.