The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

A beginner’s guide to must-try Nashville restaurants


Since coming to Nashville in 2015, I have tried over 150 restaurants, coffee shops and dessert places. But when first rolling into Music City freshman year, I had no idea where to start. I’ve now made it my mission to explore as much of this lively and growing city as I can. My go-to online resources to find great food are Nashville Guru, Yelp and Nashville Eater. Even so, that can be a lot to take in. For those wanting to tiptoe into the Nashville food scene with a manageable list, here are nine can’t-miss places in each of Nashville’s major neighborhoods:

12 South
Edley’s Bar-B-Que
Choosing a top spot in 12 South proved difficult because of all the worthy competitors, but Edley’s earned the spot for its fast-paced counter service and delicious barbecue. All you need is one bite of pulled pork to really feel like you’re getting the Southern food culture.

Belmont Blvd.
proper bagel
Even though Belmont Blvd. is a small area, proper bagel should not be overlooked. Their wide array of New York style bagels and cream cheeses are filling and tasty. Enjoy an egg bagel with scallion cream cheese or a seasonal pastry in a sleek, modern environment with plenty of outdoor seating.

Berry Hill
The Pfunky Griddle
Although the quality is really up to you, the experience of cooking your own pancakes, hashbrowns and eggs at The Pfunky Griddle is the real fun. Taking a group to make blueberry pancakes around the industrial-sized griddle is perfect for a birthday celebration or afternoon away from campus.

Merchants Restaurant
Downtown is one of the densest neighborhoods for restaurants, but one top choice is Merchants, specifically the second floor. With a rich building history dating back to the 1800s, their servers are knowledgeable and bring incredible upscale dishes like salmon oscar and steak tartare.

East Nashville
Two Ten Jack
Many different sections of East Nashville have their own personality, but Two Ten Jack in the little plaza with Jeni’s, Ugly Mugs and Five Daughters is my pick for must-try. This Japanese-inspired restaurant serves ramen, small grilled starters and sushi in a spacious environment with comfortably dimmed lights.

While it has spread to multiple locations, the Germantown Monell’s is the original. A trip to this restaurant is unlike many other modern dining experiences because everyone is seated and served family-style. There is no ordering, just getting to know the strangers you and your friends may be joining and chowing down on Southern comfort food like fried chicken, collard greens, peach cobbler or whatever else happens to come out of the kitchen that night.

The Gulch
Biscuit Love
Now with a location in Hillsboro as well, Biscuit Love often has customers lined up around the block to get a taste of their chicken and biscuits. They have a cute environment with a large bar and an iconic “Nashville” sign written in lights, and the simple menu has a few twists on classic biscuit sandwiches.

This is probably the most accessible neighborhood to first-years since it’s only a quick jog over from Commons. Fido is well-known and always busy with tourists and locals alike. My breakfast choice is always the steak scramble and lunch pick is the turkey + brie, including fries with garlic aioli. For those without extra time to wait in line, check out the to-go option next door, Fetch!

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
Another Nashville staple, Hattie B’s has exactly what you’d expect: hot chicken. With lesser levels of heat for novices, you can enjoy sitting on their covered porch while enjoying your meal with a side of mac ‘n’ cheese, collard greens, mashed potatoes or anything else.

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About the Contributor
Corinne Fombelle
Corinne Fombelle, Former Life Assistant Editor
Corinne Fombelle (’19) was the Life Assistant Editor for The Vanderbilt Hustler. She previously interned for the Nashville Symphony and double majored in saxophone performance and cognitive studies. Outside of the practice room and newsroom, she can be found obsessing over her favorite musicians, shows and foods.
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