If you’re planning to visit Nashville, Tennessee, and you’ve never been here, you probably do what I do: Google. I’ve hit the interwebs for little trips to Asheville, North Carolina; Birmingham, Alabama; and Jonesboro, Arkansas (yep), just to name three. You can come up with all sorts of interesting things to see and do.
Restaurants are a bit trickier, in my opinion. They always look good online, but you never know. That said, here are two lists—“Best Breakfast in Nashville” and “The 12 Best Breakfast Spots in Nashville”—you can trust.
Recently I was planning a morning meeting with a client who had never been to Middle Tennessee. “You pick a place,” he said in an email, “and I’ll show up.” This is classic I’m-at-your-mercy stuff. When I asked him where he was staying, he indicated a hotel in what I’d call Midtown, and said, “I was told it’s within walking distance of some great parts of town.”
Nashville’s not so big that we couldn’t have chosen any restaurant on either of those lists at which to meet. But Midtown is a very nice part of town indeed. I worked in that very neighborhood for years.
So I told him, “Here are three Nashville institutions that have nothing to do with tourism, and I like them all.” Now I’m telling you.
It’s an authentic New York–style delicatessen. I can remember when it opened, which puts that event in the mid-’90s. The food is very good, service is fast, and the place is always busy. There are other locations but this was the first. Opens at 6:30am.
• Pancake Pantry
OK, so I do think the tourists may have heard of the Pancake Pantry—it’s very close to Music Row, so you never know whom you might see in the dining room. True Nashvillians, though, are circumspect when they find themselves sharing the same air space as a country music celebrity, and you should be too. Put that phone down. Opens at 6:00am.
• Provence Breads & Café
Established 1996 right across the street from the Pancake Pantry in Hillsboro Village, Provence has breads and pastries baked daily. And their chicken salad sandwich on cranberry wheat walnut bread is to die for. Opens at 7:00am.
So you’re fixed up for Midtown now. If you’re going to be elsewhere … Google. And good luck. 🙂