Nashville, Tennessee (one of my favorite US destinations): the capital of Tennessee, “Athens” of the South, the Birthplace of Country Music, or Music City, USA! No matter what you call it, Nashville has a plethora of activities. My personal favorite being the FOOD to eat! On my trips, I participate in a mixture of activities from “touristy” to seeing (and tasting) the local favorites. My Nashvillian food guide will be a little different, offering you places to fill your belly not only in the city of Nashville, but also the quaint little towns that are mere minutes away!
The first “stop” on my Nashville area food and drink guide is Nolensville, Tennessee! Nolensville is a small town about 30 minutes away from Nashville (23 miles/37 km for those that don’t speak in minutes for distance like us midwesterners haha). By small, I mean about 7,500 people living in this little town! But if you’re needing a break from the big city, this town has lots of delicious restaurants & cute boutique & antique shops to check out.
Martins BBQ has several locations all over the Nashville area, though I visited the one in Nolensville. This BBQ stop has been featured on Diners, Drive Ins, & Dives, which should give you an idea of the feel and atmosphere of this place! It’s definitely “fast food style meets real southern barbecue” in my opinion. You head to the counter to order & pay right away and pick your seat. Shortly after, they call our your number and bring your meal to you.
I’m that girl that’s split between loving a good Starbucks latte to being OBSESSED with local coffee shops. When I travel, I stick purely with local shops (my Starbucks back in Wisconsin isn’t going anywhere). Along the wall, they had coffee beans of MANY different flavors, it was pretty tempting to not open the jar to take a whiff!
I ordered a birthday cake frappe while my sister-in-law ordered a turtle mocha. (Yeah, say what you want. We love our sweet drinks!) We left extremely happy with our delicious drinks.
Rita’s Italian Ice
If you know me, you know I love my frozen desserts! Rita’s Italian Ice serves not only italian ice, but frozen custard as well! Pictured above, I ordered a “Gelati” which is the ice and custarded layered. I chose “Swedish Fish” flavored ice and vanilla custard. You can also choose between just one or the other or blend them together! And the cherry on top of this place? They have games you can play while you enjoy your treat with your family.
Another city near Nashville that is also filled with Civil War history is Franklin, Tennessee. It’s a favorite little town for the locals to escape the hoards of bachelorette parties and drunk tourists. (Being from Milwaukee, Wisconsin… drunk people don’t phase me much! haha) It’s a nice classy area with lovely boutiques, cute little shops, and historical memorials.
Mellow Mushroom is funky, psychadelic themed pizza restaurant. From traditional cheese & pepperoni pizzas to specialties such as the Mighty Meaty, Kosmic Karma, or Buffalo Chicken pizza, there’s something for everyone here. I’m a huge pizza fan, so it’s no surprise that I loved the food. But their theme is so creative and fun from their menus to the art on the wall!
JJ’s Wine Bar
I’m not a huge fan of hard liquors, so JJ’s Wine bar was perfect for me! It has a very classy and elegant theme to it with indoor or outdoor seating. A few things stood out to me as unique. The first being how they served the wine. They give you a card to “swipe” at each wine station where you can choose to get a taste or a full glass. I loved being able to try new wines and new brands before I fully committed to choosing a glass full. The second, surprisingly enough, was the ladies’ bathroom! It sounds odd, but it’s the only “public” (more or less) bathroom I’ve come across that is furnished and comfortable like the one at home. It’s also the first bathroom I’ve seen that has pretty smelling lotions and hairsprays. At JJ’s, you can truly visit the “powder room” to really freshen up! I thought it was a cute addition to make the guests feel at home.
I do love visiting downtown areas. Something about the hustle and bustle and big buildings that just gets me so PUMPED and excited for life! We headed down there for a brief afternoon to enjoy lunch and dessert and check out some local art sculptures and murals.
Demos’ is a lovely Italian restaurant. It’s a great addition to downtown Nashville area as it gives off a different vibe. It’s a great place to get away from the country music, and a fantastic option for those who don’t want to eat bbq ribs or brisket for every meal. Really, you can’t go wrong with Italian cuisine!
Mike’s Ice Cream
A pretty popular ice cream shop of downtown Nashville, Mike’s Ice Cream is often pretty busy. BUT the waffle cones are made fresh, and the scent of them being made as you walk in is so inviting. Though there was a line, it moved very fast. We were in and out, and I barely had time to choose between all of the flavors!
Have you been to any of these neighboring Nashville cities? What other restaurants would you add to this list?