A couple years ago, cupcakes were the biggest fad. One of the steady businesses that has stood tall in a rocky economy is GiGi’s Cupcakes. Everyone needs a happy little moment of escape in this world we live in. Why not escape with a cupcake? Like a Boston Crème Cupcake, or a Wedding Cake Cupcake, or a Pink Lemonade Cupcake, or a… Maple Bacon Cupcake. If you need a little sunshine in your mouth, head on over to GiGi’s and grab a fork.
The Grilled Cheeserie
Growing up, my mom used to call me her little mouse because I would raid the fridge of cheese. I love it. When I first heard about The Grilled Cheeserie Food Truck and their gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, my heart skipped a beat. It really is difficult for me to think of a favorite item on their menu because I’ve tried so many, including specials. But some if I had to pick, I guess I’d say their B&B of Tennessee is a great maiden voyage decision. Sweetwater Valley Buttermilk Cheddar, Benton’s Bacon, Homemade Caramelized Onions and Apple Jam on Multigrain. Sold. Get some of their tater tots with tot sauce too. Be sure to check their website for their daily locations and schedules as well as their “Melt of the Moment.”
OK, I’m not usually a huge advocator of chains when there are so many unique options to choose from. But let’s say you’re in your hotel room and have the munchies all of the sudden. Jet’s is the way to go. Their rectangular pizzas are just so delectable. I’d go pepperoni if I were you. It’s the best. Oh, and if you want to feel healthy, add a salad- they’re pretty awesome too.
The Loveless Cafe
Ok. Do you have your listening ears on? Can you hear me alright? OK, good. Now get out a pen and write this down. You’re not going to want to forget this. I’m serious. If there is ONE restaurant you dine at in Nashville, it HAS to be The Loveless Café. You don’t believe me, do you? How serious am I? Our waitress shared with us that Guy Fieri of The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” once came and ordered the ENTIRE menu. Oh yeah…and he wasn’t even on camera. He’s not the only famous one who has eaten there. When you walk into the motel-converted café, you’ll see walls covered with autographed pictures of appreciative stars. Once you walk past the windows draped with aprons in lieu of curtains, you’ll sit down at your picnic tablecloth covered table and have a plate of hot biscuits and jam put before you. You’ll be a bit distracted by those for a second, but open up that menu. Your options are before you. Might I make a recommendation? Get the Southern Sampler with country ham, fried chicken, and barbecue. Then you’ll need to choose some sides as well. My favorites are the creamed corn, hash-brown casserole, and green beans. Before you leave, be sure to stop by the gift shop and pick up a jar of jam or some country ham to go. I have two more rules for you. Get a picture of your party by the motel sign. It’s iconic. You just have to. Then, get a picture with your faces sticking out of the holes of the cartoon family sign out front. Now you’ll have a couple keepsakes to remember one of the best meals of your life.
We love this well hidden gem of a restaurant so much, that it was where we had our farewell meal with some of our Nashville friends. I highly suggest that for your chicken basket, you get a mixture of both grilled and battered chicken tenders. Wow. Their seasonings are amazing. Be sure to get their fresh cut fries as well. They melt in your mouth. Best of all, though, you’ve GOT to try a sampling of their sauces. My favorites are their ranch (BEST in the world!), honey mustard, and coyote sauce. I take turns dipping my tenders and fries in these. What can I say? I’m a sauce connoisseur! One of the first fights in our marriage was when my husband brought home the wrong sauce. Needless to say, he always brings me the right sauce now.
McCreary’s Irish Pub in Franklin
This is one of our favorite places in the Nashville area. Franklin is about 15 minutes south of Nashville. It’s one of the most charming little towns you’ll ever encounter. The thing that I love most about McCreary’s is its ambiance. A part of my very favorite poem, “The Deer’s Cry”, which is attributed to St.Patrick, is written around the ceiling. It’s got the most amazing Pub feel to it that you feel like Bono or The Edge are going to walk in and sit down at any moment.
Their menu hosts a lovely variety of foods including Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips, and Hot Potatoes. But as you’ll soon find out, though I love adventure, I am also a creature of habit. I get a burger every time I go. Why, you ask? Because it’s one of the best burgers in town. I do, however, rotate between the Main Street Club Burger and The Mushroom and Swiss Burger. I’ll warn you, though, they are HUGE! Think about splitting one with someone. Between that and the fries, you’ll be set!
This is a very family friendly chicken joint. Their walls are lined with old license plates, music vinyls, and pictures of famous people. Their Chicken tenders and fries are outstanding. And well, you know me and my sauces… their honey mustard, Honeybee, and Original Buffalo are something special.
Mellow Mushroom- Franklin
Again, not a huge promoter of chains, but I feel like Mellow Mushroom is still a relatively small chain, so I don’t feel bad giving them a shout out. They have outdoor seating, which is perfect for watching the town of Franklin pass by around the square, which is home to a monument for civil war soldiers. Delicious is an apt describer of their food. Their crusts are perfect and their toppings are scrumptious. Our favorite is the Mighty Meaty. Feeling healthy? Go for a salad too. I love their build your own salads.
Looking for a charming small town delight? Check out Meridees. They have the most wonderful homemade breads, pastries, biscuits, made to order eggs, and at lunchtime- sandwiches, and yummy pies! You’ll want to sit a spell and enjoy this lovely little piece of Americana as you enjoy your morning.
Mike’s Ice Cream Parlor
One of the most fun things we did when scouting out whether we wanted to move to Nashville or not was to grab some ice cream at Mike’s Ice Cream Parlor on Broadway. It’s an adorable little ice cream shop with options galore. We sat in a window seat and watched the world of Music City go by and smiled as we tasted a flavor of our soon to be home. Thumbing through a magazine a year or two later, I saw a shout out to Mike’s and thought to myself, “I sure am glad they’re just down the street from us now.”
There are several locations for this restaurant. The most noteworthy one is in a section of Nashville called, “Germantown.” It’s family style and after you sit at the same table as strangers, you’ll walk away with some new friends. Our favorite location, though, is in the Berry Hill area of town. It’s an express version. You walk up to the counter and order a “meat and two” or a “meat and three.” Now let me enlighten you on something. Even though I grew up in the South, I had never heard of the term, “Meat and Three,” before moving to Nashville. What that means is you pick a meat and two or three vegetables. There’s something else you need to know. Macaroni is considered a vegetable. I know, right? Anyway, you’re in for a treat if you choose Monell’s. I adore their fried chicken. Their pot roast and ham are delectable as well. They have one of my favorite sides on the planet: pineapple casserole. If you’ve ever been to a Southern Baptist Potluck, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you’ve got to give it a whirl. Their green beans and potatoes are some of the best as well!