This article was originally featured in the November issue of At Home Memphis-Midsouth.
Music City is experiencing rapid growth and development in categories beyond the town’s homegrown country music—its booming food and lifestyle scene is hosting imports from Brooklyn to New Orleans, mixing and matching raw Southern roots with contemporary and refined finesse. The Southern empire is making waves—ride along the three-hour drive from Memphis and take advantage of the capital city’s trends and classics.
Begin a day in Nashville with Crema Coffee’s infamous Cuban (latte with sweetened condensed milk), which enriches and caffeinates all in one sweet yet bold sip. The award-winning specialty roaster is the perfect accompaniment to the ordering line at Proper Bagel, the Brooklyn-transplant Belmont neighborhood eatery. The deli-style shop boasts dozens of cream cheese flavors and innovative bagel toppers behind its roll-up garage doors. An average wait time of 30 minutes is absolutely worth the wait—but if you prefer yours to-go, the bagel sandwiches especially satisfy during a stroll through the Saturday Nashville Farmers Market or to the darling flower shop on wheels, Amelia’s Flower Truck. The blue truck pops up all over town to provide on-demand floral bouquets.
If craving a classic Southern biscuit instead, Biscuit Love in Hillsboro Village butters up the classic breakfast delicacies with a renaissanced perspective. Try the biscuit in French toast form with lemon mascarpone or as fried doughnut hole hybrids with blueberry compote.
Only in Nashville would Reese Witherspoon’s Southern belle shop Draper James sit steps from grunge-meets-glamorous denim retailer Imogene & Willie. The 12South neighborhood’s boutique scene entertains every age and stage; but in between the browsing, stop for a chocolate sea salt doughnut (also available in vegan) or “Your Momma’s Cookie” at Five Daughters Bakery. If you’re on a health kick, Franklin Juice Company delivers excellent acai bowls and juices for the road. During summer heat, Las Paletas popsicles refresh the palate with pure perfection.
A PROGRESSIVE DINNER
The innovation behind Nashville’s Germantown neighborhood’s small yet powerful restaurants requires serious deliberation during one’s visit to town. When planning a quick “getaway,” it’s most favorable to try two restaurants in one night—appetizers and drinks at the first, then main courses at the second.
Within Germantown’s walkable neighborhood, the high-end Italian stop Rolf & Daughters features unforgettable craft pasta and crisp cocktail pairings. Meanwhile at the expansive warehouse 5th & Taylor, an outdoor bar and patio holds groups for cocktails and shared plates (or bowls, for that matter—the Maine lobster white bean soup is decadent). Nearby, the new Henrietta Red offers a minimalist, seafood-forward dining experience. A raw bar and whole fish entrees please crowds of any party size.