Five Nashville Foods to Try: Swimsuit Edition

There’s a first time for everything and lately, Nashville has gained plenty of press. We are ranked as one of the top cities for singles, millennials, business and “to party in America” per  Travel + Leisure, Forbes and Men’s Fitness respectively. And when your city is hot, all sorts of interesting events come your way. If you haven’t read the news lately, you may not know that Sports Illustrated is announcing its swimsuit lineup right here in Nashville, February 11-12. That’s right, the launch of the annual Swimsuit issue of SI. Our lovely landlocked town will be infiltrated by models, their entourage, and model stalkers for a two-day party downtown.

So ladies of Sports Illustrated, welcome to Nashville! We hope you find our city and accommodations welcoming. And because you have just been graced with the biggest honor a body can receive, you should indulge in one of Nashville’s greatest legacies: good ole southern food. Allow us to introduce you to five foods you’re sure to love! This town doesn’t mess around when it comes to eating well.

photo 2 Hannah Davis and friends, meet Prince’s Hot Chicken: Nashville food royalty.  

Julia: Hot Chicken 

Think Nashville’s hot? It can’t touch hot chicken, a truly authentic Nashville protein. Traditionally served with white bread (preferably Bunny or Wonder bread) and pickles, this spicy fried chicken is a must try. And if you are a good calorie counter, you’ll know that cayenne pepper curbs an appetite. So think of it as diet chicken. Best served with a Yazoo brew. Places to try: Prince’s Hot Chicken (the founding family of Hot Chicken), Hattie B’s (great brunch option) and Pepperfire (order the Tender Royale).

IMG_8156 Barbara’s Home Cooking is another perfect meat & three spot; old house, lovely British ladies and plenty of side options and pies. (get the homemade banana pudding).

Leslie: Meat & Three

One melt-in-your-mouth protein and three sweet or savory sides, at your service. Four if you include the freshly-buttered carbs that usually get tucked onto your plate, without so much as a request. Absolute top choice for everything from chicken, turkey, roast beef or meat loaf to green beens, mac & cheese or fried green tomatoes is Arnold’s, which is only open for lunch daily, so work it into the schedule or send someone else to bring you a batch of whatever’s hot and fresh for enjoying between set and stage. And don’t forget the chocolate pie — every crumb is worth every calorie. Monell’s is another, family-style option or try Big Al’s Deli in Germantown. The friendly smiles behind every meat & three service in town are sure to light up extra bright the minute you stroll through the door.

img_pp_crop The Tuck’s Special at Edley’s BBQ; pimento cheese, bbq sauce, pickles and a fried egg on top of Beef Brisket. Perfect for swimsuit season. Image credit: Amy Cherry for 

Rachael: BBQ

Smoky. Savory. Southern Charm. Everything you’d want in BBQ of course! Nashville has no shortage of options when it comes to this Southern staple and be ready to indulge in all the fixins, including cole slaw, potato salad and cornbread to name a few. Places to try: Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint (featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives), B&C Melrose BBQ (aka Bacon and Caviar), and Edley’s Bar-B-Que (with two locations).

IMG_8071 Enjoy breakfast, lunch or brunch at Biscuit Love Brunch; we guarantee you won’t regret one carb eaten here.

Carrie: Brunch

Carbs are in for 2015, especially carbs in the form of buttery, white biscuits. Biscuits are serious business here in Nashville. Most of them are made with secret recipes that are old enough to be your Grandmother. Chicken n’ biscuits, biscuits n’ gravy, plain-jane or with jelly; whatever your biscuit-style, you’ll be glad you did. Places to try: Loveless Café (the Nashville tradition), Biscuit Love Truck (the new kid in town), and Pancake Pantry (the alternative to biscuits).

Goo Goo Shop12 A Nashville 103-year-old original, Goo Goo Cluster, has a new shop downtown with special premium Goo Goos of new flavors and ingredients only found at the store. Image credit: Goo Goo Cluster

Lindsay: Sweets

Nashville is a great place for anyone with a sweet tooth. After all, the first “combination” candy bar, Goo Goo Cluster, was invented here (visit the new Goo Goo Cluster store to pick up a tasty souvenir). Thankfully, we didn’t stop there. From the oldest restaurants in town to the newest, dessert will be sure to leave you with sweet memories of  Music City. Places to try: Etch (Chocolate Pretzel Bar), Margot (you can’t go wrong) and Las Paletas (popsicles like no other).


Want to join in the festivities? Check out the Swimville event downtown Nashville February 11th and 12th, see the lineup here.


Feature image credit: Illustration by Jon Contino for Sports Illustrated


Account Director, Marketing Guru, Pilates Teacher Trainer, Freelance Writer and Mommy. I wear a lot of hats. Literally. I love hats. I believe firmly that everyday should inspire us, so make sure you make every day count.

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