Southern Road Trip - Nashville, Tennessee

*Sorry for posting my bbq road trip out of order, but a dear friend of mine is heading down to Nashville soon, so I fast tracked this post!*

Nashville, home of country music is worthy of a stop on any BBQ road trip. While not as famous for its BBQ, the city does have some excellent culinary options, a lively downtown scene and excellent music (I confess, part of the reason for our stop here was because of my deep love of Nashville, TV series). Don't just take my word for it - several chefs from kitchens in Atlanta and New York had rave reviews and tips on where to eat. 

Here are my must eats in Nashville, TN

This is a Nashville institution, serving up fried chicken, pickles and a few sides since the 1960's. Prince's Hot Chicken is worth the wait, and wait you will, the Prince family stubbornly refuses to batch fry chicken and instead only starts frying your chicken once you order, to preserve the quality of their famous chicken. 

I considered myself a deeply devout Fried Chicken lover and this is definitely in the top 5 fried chicken. 

  • Go straight to the back of the restaurant, where the order counter is (everyone else lingering around is usually waiting for their number to be called) 
  • Bring cash! 
  • If you have 3 or more people, order multiple spice levels (mild, medium, hot and x hot)
  • Get the potato salad and cup of pickles, it will help cut the heat and are delicious
  • Order more chicken than you think you want, unless you are lucky enough to be in Nashville often, who knows when the next chance you'll get to have some Prince's

Prince's Hot Chicken is hands down the best meal I had in Nashville, it is the kind of meal that makes you dream of food in your sleep. In fact, it is the kind of meal, that makes me want to pack my bags, move to Nashville and work for the Prince Family and have regular access to that delicious chicken! 

This is a southern classic, famous for their biscuits. Loveless cafe is worth a detour, but be forewarned the droves of tourist can make the wait for a table well over 2 hours, so it is best to come with a book in tow. 

While the biscuits are good, I regretted not sampling more of the menu (Fried Chicken, Ham and red eye gravy). The best way to enjoy the Loveless cafe is to come with 4 or more people and try one of their Family Style breakfasts, which let you try a bit of everything. 

Jacks in on the main drag in downtown Nashville, it is an institution in this town and if you ask around, this is the one most people are apt to recommend. 

**Okay, so first of all, I'm a bit of a BBQ worshipper, having lived in Georgia for the better part of 1 year, I fell in love with BBQ. So fair to say, I'm more than a bit critical of BBQ joints**

So, Jack's is on this list because it is an institution and is you want to get an idea of the range and styles of BBQ in the south, this helps fill out the picture. Overall, the ribs were good - tender and juicy, but a bit light on the smokiness and not quite fall of the bone. I've had better and I've had much worse. To be fair, if they were selling these ribs anywhere else other than the South, people would pretty much lose their minds. The pulled pork was okay and definitely worth a try. I'd skip the brisket if you've ever been to Texas though, a bit dry and under seasoned.

Overall, I decided that Jacks made my list because of a number of things, the decor and atmosphere is bang on, location is great, the menu offers a sample of a bunch of different style of BBQ from St. Louis, to Texas and they have an amazing self serve BBQ sauce section that lets you try out almost every style of BBQ sauce. 

Other recommended places

When planning any trip, there are always more places than there is time or physical room in my stomach to eat. However, here are a list of places which I really did want to go to, but couldn't fit in. 

Catbird Seat - was one of the most recommended restaurants by chefs. What they are doing here is innovative and challenges the misconception that southern food is not refined. I absolutely wanted to dine here but due to demand, reservations were not available, even though I tried booking 30 days in advance. 

The Pancake Pantry - this is another Nashville favourite, famous for their sweet potato pancakes. This is popular with the tourist and locals alike so expect a long wait. 

Arnold's Country Kitchen - only open from Monday to Friday from 6 am - 2 pm and the lines are long. Was definitely on the list but we didn't get into Nashville early enough on Friday to make it there. But this was a huge regret of mine, I love a good meat and three!