the New Nashville: 6 places to see (or eat)
As promised, following the article of all that is good and holy in 'old' Nashville, it is time that I share with you the new (some more so than others) goodies of the city. Growing up, we had a good variety of dining and drink, but very few destinations. Now, each place that pops up holds it's own in terms of Instagram-ability, cozy ambiance, and, of course, quality offerings. There’s so much happening in every neighborhood from Bellevue to Bell’s Bend that it would be impossible to mention it all the new dining spots popping up every day. You can now find virtually every cuisine, with no shortage of celebrity chefs paired up with inventive mixologists, every palette will find something to taste. It’s almost hard to believe that the city where Krystal reigns supreme could have such a sophisticated food and drink culture, but at the same time it makes perfect sense that a city known for music and culture would also have great bites.
Without trying to tease what we have going on here, I wanted to share some of my personal favorites. First - City House. This amazing place has become my go-to for a great meal when I first get back in town. Though it’s been around for a decade now, I still consider it a newcomer beause the team there helped open up the Germantown neighborhood to quality cuisine that didn’t previously exist. Since opening, chef Tandy Wilson has claimed the prestigious James Beard Award for the cozy little home conversion that serves up a constantly changing menu featuring locally sourced everything andsome of the city’s best wood-fired pizzas.
(courtesy of City House)
At a close second, Kayne Prime. Nashville has more steakhouses than it knows what to do with, but this one is a cutabove (pun intended). A concept from the M Street group, a local F+B team that manages many of Nashville’s finest establishments, Kayne is the new city signature if there is one. A modern environment, helpful staff, and the perfect selection of sides make this meat eatery one of a kind. The meat alone beats any competition, but the rest of the menu offerings, and the team who provides them make a complete experience that are unbeatable.
For a place that celebrates drink as much as eat, there’s only one recommendation: Bastion. In a warehouse conversion in an area of town that is about to see a revitalization, Bastion has a taste of everything that is good with food and drink in this city. There’s two different bars, one serving up quirky cocktails and IPAs from god-knows-where microbrews and another (secretly hidden) that has a collection of finer spirits and a serious mixologist who will really take care of you. If you manage to find this bearded chap in his domain, you’re likely to get a peek into the dining room where you go to feast. Yes. Feast. One of Nashville’s best kept secrets lies tucked away behind the main bar; you may need to poke around to find it, and make reservations to enter, but it’s certainly worth the search. The chefs in the back offer up a prix fixe that could fight toe-to-toe with any Michellin star eatery, but here it’s presented without pretension and pays great homage to regional cuisine.
Those of you who are interested in not much more than alcohol, fret not. Old Glory has the perfect space to enjoy craft cocktails. Intimate, aesthetic, and filled with a great batch of locals, this hideaway space is a favorite for kickback and vibe kind of nights. For those who might consider themselves amongst the pickiest drinkers, Sam Ross, considered amongst the best barmen in the world, has opened a second outpost of his NYC concept, Attaboy. There’s no menu, just trust in the barkeep that they’ll be able to figure out a flavor that’s best for you.
Also deserving of an honorable mention here is Pinewood Social. Pinewood is arguably the place that started the city transfer into hipsterdom. This bowling alley-cum-coffeeshop-cum-cocktail bar on the outskirts of downtown is constantly slam packed with a full cross-section of every type of Nashvillian imaginable. Though it may sound like an overzealous trap, the quality of everything from the interior design to the menu selections affirms that this place is a must see of new Nashville.
This list is by no means comprehensive. I’d bet that 3 restaurants opened during the time that I was writing this article. But the point is that ultimately - this city has a scene that is not to be missed. I hope you get the chance to try some of what I think makes this city a top notch competitor to international food and bev.