What to Eat in Nashville, Tennessee

Did you know that in 2019, 16.1 million people visited Nashville? Nashville is not only home to the Grand Ole Opry and other musical attractions, but also to history, art, and family fun. 

This dynamic city can be explored for days and weeks on end. If you are planning on going to Nashville, there is an important question you must ask. What are you going to eat? 

Grab a glass of sweet tea, turn on some Blake Shelton, and kick back with this list of what to eat in Nashville. 


Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville Hot Chicken

Nashville hot chicken is fried chicken that is, well, hot. It is prepared like traditional fried chicken, the only difference is the heat is turned up. Many Nashville restaurants allow you to choose your heat level but be prepared for this chicken to pack a punch. 

Hot chicken has been around for many years but only became popular around or after 2005. This dish was traditionally served and made in black neighborhoods in Nashville for years. 

Southern Barbeque

If you love barbeque, you must have some in Nashville. There are several states known in the south for their barbeque. Tennessee is one of the top states, so, grab some barbeque with your favorite fixings. 

From pork to ribs you can find many barbeque restaurants in Nashville to get your favorites. 

Meat and 3

Meat and 3, got its start in Nashville too. Meat and 3 allows people eating out in Nashville to pick one type of meat and three sides. This is all about comfort food.

A diner named Hap Townes Restaurant is one of the earlier known restaurants to sell Meat and 3. This diner was run by a father and son and only had 49 seats. 

Yet, customers would line up outside waiting for their turn. The diner hosted everyone from workers at a nearby hosiery factory to Johnny Cash. This restaurant was integrated early after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and it served both black and white customers in the same dining room.


Typically, pizza is not going to be the first thing that pops in your mind when you think of Nashville. However, if you are trying to figure out where to eat in Nashville, you will find tons of local pizza places. 

Nashville boasts local pizzerias that serve Chicago Style, New York Style, and Neopolitan Style. It doesn’t matter which is your favorite, you will find it in Nashville, and the best places will use locally sourced ingredients. 

Fried Pickles

Yummm, it sounds weird, but fried pickles are amazing. If you have never had them, you must try them, and Nashville is a great place to have that experience. 

If you are feeling adventurous, recipes do exist for Nashville Hot Fried Pickles. Even if you can’t find these in restaurants, you can make your own and mix your Hot Chicken experience with even more spice. 

Banana Pudding

If you are looking for something on the sweeter side, grab some banana pudding. Banana Pudding is a local favorite in Nashville and is served by some of the most popular Nashville Hot Chicken Restaurants. 

Interesting fact, in a town about an hour away from Nashville there is a National Banana Pudding Festival. The town of Centerville started this in 2010 and the money earned goes to local non-profits. 

If you are a lover of banana pudding, this is a festival you should experience. 

Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is classic comfort food, however, many restaurants in Nashville take it a step further. The mac and cheese in Nashville range from gourmet to good ol’ fashioned southern mac and cheese. 

If you want lobster mac and cheese, you’ll find it in Nashville. The mac and cheese you will find in Nashville can easily be eaten as a meal, or paired with your Meat and 3, your barbeque, or your Nashville Hot Chicken. 

Deli Sandwiches

If you are looking for something a little less fried and slightly lighter, visit one of the many delis in Nashville. 

In Nashville, they have made deli sandwiches an art form. Not only are do the delis strive to use locally sourced ingredients but they also create some interesting combinations. 

There is a deli in Nashville that serves a BBQ Asian tofu sandwich, with avocado, sprouts, cucumber, and sesame ginger dressing on a hoagie. 

Biscuits and Gravy

Biscuits and gravy are the ultimate southern breakfast. Many families have recipes they have passed down for years. Biscuits are going to be a thing of their own in the south, so try the biscuits alone too. 

However, when you pair those biscuits with some savory gravy, you will be craving it again for days to come. 


Brunch is very popular in Nashville. You can get everything from a southern comfort brunch to fine dining. However, because it is popular it can often be difficult to find a restaurant without waiting. 

You may need a reservation at some places, so think ahead, you do not want to miss out on all the great breakfast foods that Nashville has to offer. 

Tennessee Whiskey

Tennessee Whiskey

For those who like a drink with their meal, grab some Tennessee Whiskey. Tennessee Whisky is also known as Liquid Gold. 

Tennesse Whiskey survived prohibition on a National and State level for years. It has a rich and storied history that is fun to learn if you are a whiskey aficionado. 

Fruit Tea

Pair your meal with fruit tea. Yes, sweet tea is super popular in the south, but in Nashville, it is all about fruit tea. 

Fruit tea was thought to first be served in Franklin, which is a suburb of Nashville. This is a sweet tea combined with fruit juice for a perfectly sweet and refreshing beverage that you can pair with your meal. 

Get Started With What to Eat in Nashville

Do you love traveling and trying local cuisine? Check out more of our articles on what to eat in other United States locations. 

Scroll to Top