Looking at the Nashville skyline, you’ll see new additions seemingly every day. We are a different city than we were just two years ago, with busy downtown living, bustling tourism and new high-rises from Green Hills to Germantown. The same goes for our restaurant choices, increasing steadily in the last six months. If you blink, you may have missed a new one. To keep you in the know, we took it upon ourselves to eat at our new favorites and tell you about them. You’ll thank us later.
(All establishments listed in order of opening date.)
Dino’s: Reopened January 9
Hours: 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. nightly
Address: East Nashville at 411 Gallatin Ave.
Known for: late night bar and burgers
More info: dinosnashville.com
Nashville’s “oldest dive bar,” located in the heart of East Nashville, has been revamped by Miranda Whitcomb Pontes of Burger Up fame into the dive bar locals love. Stop in for a greasy, delicious, classic burger and fries and Pabst tallboy. We especially enjoyed our first Frito Pie in years. Save room for a pie slice or two from Lisa Marie Donovan of Husk and Buttermilk Road, with flavors rotating nightly.
Bakersfield: Opened January 19
Address: SoBro neighborhood in the Encore, 201 Third Ave. S.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Known for: tacos, 100 different tequilas and whiskeys
More info: bakersfieldtacos.com
Tacos. Tequila. Whiskey. Looking for a fun, energetic place to start a night downtown? Bakersfield, a restaurant concept inspired by the Bakersfield Sound from the 1950s in California, features an extensive bar menu (look for the daily $3 shots) and a variety of Mexican street fare. The short rib taco, fish taco and two-layer queso are standout favorites. And the guacamole, with actual chunks of avocado, is creamy and not too spicy. This is a rambunctious good-time spot, perfect for large parties downtown.
Biscuit Love: Opened January 22
Address: The Gulch, behind Bar Louie at 316 11th Ave. S.
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Known for: Brunch and to-go ham and biscuit bar
More info: biscuitlovebrunch.com
Karl and Sarah Worley originally started Biscuit Love as a food truck in 2012, and after a few years of success, chose to open this wonderful breakfast and lunch bricks-and-mortar spot in the Gulch. It’s the quintessential modern breakfast joint—quick, friendly faces and traditional breakfast favorites with modern twists. We’re happy to see the Princess (hot chicken on a biscuit) and Lily (Biscuit Love’s version of French toast) made the bricks-and-mortar menu, and you can’t leave without having the Bonuts, gooey good with lemon mascarpone and blueberry compote. If you’re craving a little Biscuit Love on the morning commute, swing by the pastry and ham to-go counter, where they sell your choice of ham from Kentucky and Tennessee at $8 an ounce, which includes biscuits, mustard and apple butter. Whether you eat in or take out, we bet you’ll be back.
[SB TIP: For more on Biscuit Love Brunch, see our SB review.]
Butchertown Hall: Opened February 14
Address: Germantown, 1416 Fourth Ave. N.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Known for: Beer garden and butcher shop-quality meats
More info: butchertownhall.com
The Germantown neighborhood is quite the culinary destination, and we credit City House for those venturing north. One new favorite (and much sought-after locale to get into) is Butchertown Hall, which features beautiful high ceilings, a lovely patio area for warm nights and loads of fresh, butcher shop meats. Options include brisket, house-made sausage, burgers, turkey, whole roasted chicken and rib eye to name a few, all pit smoked or wood fire-grilled. This place is ideal to load up on protein, enjoy a boutique beer from one of eight local and regional breweries, and perhaps hit downtown or a Sounds game. Enjoy!
[SB TIP: For more on Butchertown Hall, see our SB Review.]
Amari: Opened February 25
Address: Hillsboro Village, 2121 Belcourt Ave. above Savarino’s Cucina
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Known for: Speakeasy and extensive amari and absinthe list
More info: facebook.com/pages/Amari
Amari is such a hidden gem, we almost do not want to write about it. When you walk into Savarino’s, the Amari entrance is tucked behind a wall near the hostess stand. Ask for Amari and the hostess will let you in. What to expect? Imagine a dark, cozy bar, leather couches, intimate booths and a specialty cocktail list, ready to indulge any connoisseur’s particular tastes. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and the happy hour menu features half-price bottles of wine. Yes!
Up, a rooftop lounge: Opened March 8
Address: The Gulch on top of the Fairfield Inn & Suites, 901 Division St.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Known for: The bar and one of the best views in town
More info: uprooftoplounge.com
Want a view of the Nashville skyline, with a delicious vino or American Mule in hand? Look no further than Up, a cozy inside and outside patio lounge at the top of the Fairfield Inn in the Gulch. The view is spectacular, with a matching cocktail list and appetizer menu. The tasting and charcuterie plates are a nice way to start an evening. This is a fabulous patio, perfect for solving the world’s problems over mojitos.
Madeline Nashville: Opened March 9
Address: East Nashville neighborhood of Cleveland Park, 1224 Meridian St.
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 7 a.m. to midnight
Known for: Laundry, breakfast and kid-friendly
More info: madelinenashville.com
East Nashville has its fair share of brilliant new restaurants, and this little gem is no exception. It’s a laundromat, breakfast joint and beer hangout—all in one location. The décor is warm and inviting, with a menu that can satisfy any taste. We love Madeline’s versatility. It’s a nice work space for doing laundry and enjoying French toast, an omelet or a Tuscan sandwich during the day. By night, take the kids for a homemade dessert or enjoy happy hour, complete with board games and a patio. It’s an excellent neighborhood spot that will definitely attract neighbors across the city.
The Southernaire: Opened March 13
Address: Sobro neighborhood in the Pinnacle, 150 Third Ave. S.
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m. to close
Known for: local market, gourmet deli and butcher
More info: southernairemarket.com
Tom Morales, of TomKats Hospitality, The Southern Steak and Oyster (just next door) and Acme Feed & Seed, certainly knows the Sobro neighborhood. Sensing the need for a downtown market with flair, Morales created The Southernaire. The Southernaire has local and regional artisanal products, a butcher counter carrying fresh meat and seafood, French-pressed coffee, craft brews, and excellent sandwich and lunch offerings. It’s a neat place to grab a sandwich on the go or check out the latest local goods. The Southernaire also offers monthly tasting events. Check their website for details.
Trattoria Il Mulino: Opened March 18
Address: Downtown in the Hilton, 144 Fifth Ave. S.
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Known for: Italian, extensive wine list
More info: trattoriailmulino.com
Tourism has grown tremendously by the looks of downtown’s Broadway and the bustling honky tonks. With that, we have more restaurant options downtown, like Trattoria II Mulino. This upscale Italian restaurant emerged from the Hilton renovation and is a part of the restaurant II Mulino in New York City. The menu spans the gamut from pizzas and pastas to seafood and classic Italian dishes, with a few nods to Southern cuisine. The outside patio is a great place to people watch at lunch.
Bajo Sexto: Opened March 19
Address: Sobro, in the Country Music Hall of Fame at 216 Fifth Ave. S.
Hours: Sunday and Monday, 10:20 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday through Saturday, 10:20 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Known for: Margaritas, downtown patio and people watching
More info: bajosextotaco.com
The Music City Center, Omni Nashville Hotel and The Country Music Hall of Fame are incredible additions to our downtown area. The latest restaurant in the development is Bajo Sexto, celebrity Chef Jonathan Waxman’s (of Adele’s) Mexican taqueria. Loaded tacos, salsa and pitchers of stout margaritas make this a fun stop while visiting downtown. Go for the great patio and the view of our growing city.
Double Dogs: Opened April 20
Address: Hillsboro Village, 1807 21st Ave. S.
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to close
Known for: Sports bar, great for day drinking and people watching
More info: doubledogs.biz
Dead center in the Hillsboro Village strip sits Nashville’s newest sports bar and drinking patio, Double Dogs. It feels like the type of place that’s ideal for day drinking, watching a game or three, and hanging out for lunch and happy hour. The menu features pizzas, wings, burgers and Bo’s Dog Bowl Nachos with lime sour cream, which literally is served in a dog bowl.
Embers Ski Lodge: Opened April 20
Address: 12South, next to Mafiaoza’s at 2410 12th Ave. S.
Hours: Daily, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Known for: Craft cocktails, whiskey library, “Shot Ski” (just ask the bartender)
More info: embersskilodge.com
At first, we were a bit skeptical of an après ski lodge-theme restaurant and bar in Nashville. But now that we’ve visited and had Gary Hayward-crafted cocktails, the salmon dip (chunks of fresh salmon) and short rib and foie gras sammies, we are true believers. The motif is a bit kitschy, intentionally so, but the drinks, menu and service are definitely great. We love paying homage to fresh powder and a smooth run with a quality whiskey, even in 90+ degree Tennessee humidity.
5th & Taylor: Opened April 27
Address: Germantown, 1411 Fifth Ave. N. at the corner of Taylor Street
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Known for: Steaks aged in-house, classic American menu
More info: 5thandtaylor.com
Upon arrival, it’s clear the owners took their time and planned every last detail of 5th and Taylor. The atmosphere is amazing … a gorgeous patio and fountain area with a large bar, an open kitchen, ornate décor and dining by actual candlelight. Yes, please! Our dinner started with the beef tartare, which is served with a 69-degree egg. Our entrees of filet, chicken and duck were accompanied by mashed potatoes served family-style, a nod to the communal vibe of each table. Definitely order the Elvis Moon Pie … you’ll love the Elvis painted with chocolate.
Yes, additional restaurants have opened in the past few weeks (we are especially excited about Fifty First Kitchen & Bar), with more to come. Stay tuned for our top picks for where to spend your free time and hard-earned money.