Tennessee is thoroughly entrenched on every foodie’s bucket list across the globe. We’re the apex of southern cuisine, we bleed culture and thrive on creativity. These 15 restaurants are some of the best in the state, but they go a little further than that – they define our state as a whole. Each and every one of them attributes something to the glistening gem Tennessee is to American food culture.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
15. The Bistro at the Bijou - Knoxville
Known for its cozy atmosphere and southern-cuisine favorites, the Bistro is attached to the Bijou Theatre and serves as a perfect accompaniment to any show. Their brunch offerings are known to be memorable, and it's a great place for live jazz music. Some say it features the best live music in the city! (807 S Gay Street)
14. The Arcade Restaurant - Memphis
Take a free ride back to the 1950s at the Arcade, one of the oldest restaurants in the city that has a hearty breakfast and lunch menu, perfect for those of us that adore a good meal. Plus, the diner has a nostalgic vibe that will keep you coming back for more. (540 S Main St)
13. Varallo's Restaurant Too - Nashville
As the oldest restaurant in Nashville (and Tennessee!), Varallo's has worked its wonderful, homestyle chili into the heart of every patron that walks through that front door. It's a true Music City experience. (239 4th Ave N)
12. Sticky Fingers Ribhouse - Chattanooga
Known as the best BBQ in Chattanooga, Sticky Fingers has a long and reputable history that runs the southern food gamut. Try the ribs and their vast array of sauces! They're killer. (420 Broad Street)
11. Puckett's - Multiple Locations
This middle Tennessee favorite was born in Leipers Fork, and has since stretched out into Franklin and Nashville. The ol' meat & three is king here, and their homemade desserts are PRIME. (Locations in Leipers Fork, Nashville & Franklin)
10. Monell's Restaurant - Nashville
This family-style southern eatery is rich with personality, having been housed in a gorgeous historic home and filled to the brim with kind servers and delicious dishes. They have a couple of locations around town, but the best known and most frequented is in Germantown, Nashville. (1235 6th Ave N)
9. Husk Nashville - Nashville
A place worthy of all sorts of accolades and birthday dinners, Husk is full of excited Nashvillians who are MORE than happy we have an extension of the successful Charleston restaurant location. High class southern cuisine that is locally sourced, this is the kind of restaurant that makes every birthday special.
8. Bell Buckle Café - Bell Buckle
This sweet small town has a cafe that's worthy of all sorts of accolades. Enjoy a platter of comfort food with a side of southern hospitality, why don't ya? Casual and very popular, their burgers and pizza come highly recommended. (16 Railroad Sq E)
7. Hattie B's Hot Chicken - Nashville
One of the most widely publicized hot chicken chains, you can choose from a range of heat on their menu and enjoy a crispy bit of Hattie B's hotHOT chicken whenever you feel the need. This is the epitome of Nashville chain culture - southern food that sparks a nationwide obsession. (Multiple Locations)
6. Barista Parlor - Nashville
Barista Parlor isn't really a restaurant, but they truly represent the high class coffee culture that has recently infused Nashville with a breath of fresh, coffee bean induced life. Their Moto biscuit comes highly recommended, and all ingredients are locally sourced. (Multiple Locations)
5. Pancake Pantry - Multiple Locations
Both Gatlinburg and Nashville have a Pancake Pantry, celebrating over 50 years of heavy breakfast food and southern community.
4. Charles Vergos' Rendezvous - Memphis
There's really not much to say about Rendezvous. It's known as the best plate of BBQ in the south, a culture that runs across the entire lower region of the nation. This is Tennessee BBQ - real, true, good. (52 S 2nd St)
3. Marcy Jo's Mealhouse - Columbia
Everyone needs their favorite local cafe - and Marcy Jo's is the best kind of place to grab a down-home Tennessee breakfast, served by people that want to chit-chat and make your visit wonderful. Plus, their biscuits and gravy are INSANE. (4205 US-431)
2. Prince's Hot Chicken Shack - Nashville
Can we just say this is true Nashville hot chicken? Tasty, original, hidden away in a tiny shop that exudes character and deep fried poultry. Tennessee heaven. PS- it's cash only, so come prepared! (123 Ewing Dr)
1. Loveless Café - Nashville
The iconic Nashville diner feeds all southern dreams, The meat and three, and breakfast heaven has a recipe for biscuits that will most definitely change your life - really. Your life will be changed. (8400 Tennessee Highway 100)
They look pretty amazing, don’t they? We’re craving a bit of fried chicken right about now…plus, after you’re done with the calorie bomb, you can check out this
hidden Tennessee park.