Nashville is known for its status as "Music City," where country stars and historic record companies abound. But it’s also home to several unique food traditions that will offer visitors a true taste of Tennessee.

The best vacations are full of new experiences, and that includes the cuisine! Here’s a food lover’s guide that will introduce your taste buds to Nashville.


Start off your morning with a Southern staple. Whether you’re looking for classic biscuits smothered in gravy or a fresh take on this traditional dish, Nashville serves it all. For an all-day breakfast menu that includes old-school biscuits and country gravy, dine at family owned and operated Nashville Biscuit House.

If you’re looking for a more customizable biscuit experience, check out Biscuit Love in The Gulch. Their brunch concoctions include sweet and savory options with a wide variety of ingredients on a biscuit base.


Known to locals and tourists alike as the father of BBQ in downtown Nashville, Jack’s Bar-B-Que on Broadway is a fan favorite. Its award-winning sauce and iconic flying pigs have been delighting guests since 1976, and it is located right across the street from the historic Ryman Auditorium.

For whole-hog, hickory-smoked BBQ that often creates lines out the front door, dig in to Martin’s Bar-B-Que. The meat is roasted on the pit daily to ensure flavors are always fresh. In addition to traditional Tennessee pork BBQ, Martin’s also offers smoked turkey, sausage, and beef brisket.

If you want to tuck in to a Southern-style meat-and-three, pull up a seat at Edley’s. You’ll find a wide variety of must-try Southern dishes on the versatile menu, including fried pickles, catfish, brisket tacos, and of course, BBQ sandwiches and plates.

Image: Prince’s Hot Chicken/Facebook

Hot Chicken

Nashville’s biggest claim to foodie fame is spicy hot chicken. If you can handle the heat, there were countless places to dine on this painfully delicious fried feast.

Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack is the birthplace of Nashville hot chicken, and it is still thought to have the best original recipe. Dip your toe in the water with some "mild" hot chicken or put your taste buds to the test with "XXXHot," the spiciest chicken on the menu.

If you don’t want to wait in lines full of other tourists to sink your teeth into the original hot chicken recipe, there are excellent alternatives all over the city. Whiskey Kitchen in The Gulch serves theirs up in an iron skilled with a side of chipotle mac and cheese.

Southern Comfort Food

If you’ve never sat down to a Southern home-cooked meal with all the fixins, then bless your heart. Take the opportunity to sample a heaping plate of steaming hot Southern cuisine while you visit Nashville.

Since it first opened its doors to travelers on Highway 100 back in 1951, Loveless Café has been serving up smiles. Highlights from the menu include their famous country ham, a biscuit sampler platter, chicken and waffles, country fried steak, hot chicken, catfish, pie by the slice, banana pudding, and a selection of 16 sides.

While you contemplate your order, sip on Nashville’s most iconic beverage: fruit tea (composed of iced tea, lemonade, and fruit). As a true mark of Southern hospitality, if you fall in love with one of the Loveless Café dishes, you can probably find the recipe for it on their website.


Need some sweet treats after these hearty meals? Nashville’s dessert scene delivers.

Head downtown and snack on a candy creation that dates back to 1912. Goo Goo Clusters are circular candy bars made with chocolate, caramel, marshmallow nougat, and nuts. You can try the whole variety of Goo Goo products and even learn how to make them at the Goo Goo Shop on 3rd Ave.

Cool down with a massive milkshake from Legendairy Milkshake Bar. Their signature shakes are each topped off with a tower of sugary confections that spill over the rim of the Mason jar and take this dessert to a whole new level (literally). With names like "Death by Chocolate," "Breakfast of Champions," and "The Majestic Unicorn," there’s a flavor for everybody.

Take a bite out of a famous 100-layer donut from Five Daughters Bakery. This family-owned pastry business creates cronuts (croissant and donut hybrids) rolled in sugar, filled with cream, and dipped in a sugary glaze. They also specialize in vegan-friendly and healthy paleo desserts so you can dine there on any diet.

It’s safe to say you’ll expand your palate when you dine in Nashville. Hunt down a few of these traditional treats and you’ll be eating like a local in no time. You might come to visit for the music, but you’ll stay for the taste of the South.