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Top Nashville Foods in 2024 (& Where to Find Them)

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Tessa ZuluagaAuthor

About 14.4 million tourists visit Nashville a year. Known for its musical heritage and warm hospitality, Nashville’s food scene has also been thriving. From mouthwatering hot chicken to tender barbecue, Nashville's top foods are a must-try for any food enthusiast. Come for the live music, stay for the food! 

In this article, we’ll explore the best eateries and hidden gems where you can find the top 10 Nashville foods. 

1. Hot chicken - Slow Burn Hot Chicken

2. Meat and three - Swett’s

3. Brunch - The Hampton Social

4. Donuts - Donut Distillery

5. Tennessee Whiskey - Bourbon Steak

6. Biscuits - The Loveless Cafe

7. Barbecue - Peg Leg Porker

8. Fried catfish - Monell’s Dining & Catering

9. Hot dogs - Cori’s DogHouse 

10. Burgers - Dino’s Bar

Ready? Let’s dive in. 

Hot chicken - Slow Burn Hot Chicken 

Nashville is the birthplace of this fiery and delicious dish. Hot chicken is a type of fried chicken that is seasoned with a special blend of spices, typically including cayenne pepper, paprika, and other spices, giving it its signature heat and flavor.

Although there are many different hot chicken restaurants in Nashville, take a trip to Slow Burn Hot Chicken for daily specials, tenders, and more! This family-owned and operated restaurant provides great service and flavorful hot chicken. They also have a drive-through if you’re in a rush. Check them out!

Meat and three - Swett’s 

Meat and three is a popular meal in Nashville and other parts of the Southern United States. It consists of one meat dish and three side dishes, typically served together on a single plate. The concept has become a culinary tradition in Nashville. 

Swett’s is a Nashville restaurant that represents three generations of ownership by the same African American family for over sixty-two years. Located in the heart of the city, Swett’s specializes in southern homestyle cooking. With plenty of meats and vegetables to choose from, Swett’s is the spot to get authentic southern meat and three. 

Brunch - The Hampton Social

After a long night out on Broadway, nothing will revive you like a big, delectable brunch. The city offers a wide array of fantastic brunch spots that cater to different preferences. Whether you're in the mood for classic Southern comfort food, trendy brunch dishes, or healthier options, Nashville has something to offer.

The Hampton Social might have multiple locations, but it’s still a phenomenal Nashville brunch spot. This is all thanks to the tasty drinks and lively atmosphere, making it perfect for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Start with some monkey bread, try some oysters, and enjoy their fried chicken stack or crab cake benedict. They even have a drink featuring sparkly glitter balls! Also, check out their rooftop for views of the Nashville skyline. 

Donuts - Donut Distillery 

The donut industry is expected to grow by 5.02 billion dollars by 2025. They have skyrocketed in popularity for foodies and are a vacation treat staple. Donuts in Nashville come in various flavors and styles, catering to different tastes. Some shops focus on classic, no-frills donuts, while others offer creative and unique flavor combinations. 

If you’re looking for delicious, beautiful donuts look no further than the Donut Distillery. If you’re staying near Broadway you can check them out at Assembly Food Hall, or venture out to their East Nashville location. Their signature donuts include delicious options such as Death by Chocolate, Strawberry Lemonade, and Reese’s Cup. They also have boozy shakes and mimosa flights! Yum! 

Tennessee Whiskey - Bourbon Steak 

Nashville is known for its whiskey due to its historical connection to the whiskey-making industry in the broader Tennessee region. The state of Tennessee, and particularly Nashville, has a long and storied history of whiskey production, which has contributed to its reputation as a significant whiskey hub. Some might say you’re as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey… 

Bourbon Steak has a wide whiskey selection to choose from that ranges in price. If you want to try some of the top whiskies Tennessee has to offer make sure to visit. They also offer a "Taste of Tennessee Flight", featuring 3 flavorful whiskies. Aside from Bourbon Steak’s beautiful menu and restaurant, it also features Bourson Sky, a rooftop bar.

Biscuits - The Loveless Cafe 

Nashville is famous for its biscuits because of its Southern culinary heritage. Biscuits are a staple in Southern cuisine, and Nashville has become particularly renowned for its unique take on this beloved dish. Who doesn’t love a warm, buttery biscuit?

The Loveless Cafe has been serving biscuits to the families of Nashville since 1951. If you’re looking for a Southern comfort Nashville staple, this is the place. The Loveless Cafe serves more than half a million visitors a year and for good reason. Their menu is delicious, especially their breakfast menu which features chicken & waffles, country fried steak & eggs, and a Southern sampler breakfast.

Barbecue – Peg Leg Porker 

If you’re craving barbecue, Nashville isn’t a bad place to be. Although the city is better known for its hot chicken, specifically, the barbecue is still delicious and there are plenty of incredible options to choose from. 

Peg Leg Porker is a family-owned and operated restaurant that’s been around since 2013. They serve award-winning barbeque and provide great service. Peg Leg smokes their meat daily, and their sides are made fresh from scratch. If you want to support a local, delicious BBQ spot Peg Leg Porker is the place for you. 

Fried catfish - Monell’s Dining & Catering 

Tennessee is widely known for its fried catfish because of its Southern roots, access to abundant freshwater sources, and diverse population. Fried catfish consists of catfish fillets that are coated in a seasoned batter or breading and then deep-fried until they are golden brown and crispy. It’s also a popular dish among tourists traveling from outside the South. 

Monell’s Dining & Catering is popular for many different dishes, and their fried catfish is no exception. At Monell’s, you’ll feast on plates of Southern classics, piled high on serving plates. Their set price includes meats, vegetables, and salads of the day, plus a drink and dessert. For a real Southern experience try some fried catfish at Monell’s! 

Hot dogs - Cori’s Doghouse 

On the streets of Nashville, you can find plenty of hot dog and street meat carts, serving up savory hot dogs all day. And let's be honest, who doesn’t love a late-night glizzy after a night out at Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk? There are plenty of hot dog restaurants around the city as well, Cori’s Doghouse being one of the best. 

Cori’s Doghouse was started in 2009 with the intent of bringing the best of our childhood favorites to everyone. Sully, the owner and CEO, did lots of research to find the most popular ways hot dogs are eaten across the country and as a result, built a fantastic menu. Each hot dog is named after its origin and is served on a butter-grilled New England roll. 

Burgers - Dino’s Bar

And last but not least, let's talk about some Nashville burgers. Whether you’re searching for a fast-food cheeseburger, a diner classic, or a gourmet burger – Nashville has it! Satisfy your craving in this city with some spicy Nashville twists. 

Dino’s Bar, located right near Donut Distillery from above,  is East Nashville’s oldest dive bar! They serve classic burgers and fries, but people come for the Dino’s Cheeseburger, voted one of the top 3 burgers in the country! Come here to enjoy an ice-cold beer and take in the perfect dive bar atmosphere.

Nashville's culinary scene offers a delectable array of foods. From the iconic hot chicken to innovative fusion dishes, the city's diverse restaurants continue to impress locals and visitors alike. So, come and savor the vibrant flavors of Music City, and try these top restaurants from The Hampton Social to Monell’s today!

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