For most of us, Pi Day (March 14) isn’t cause for major celebration. But, whether or not you care to toast to the mathematical constant, it’s a fun excuse to celebrate with something mouthwatering, and we’re taking it upon ourselves to declare Pi Day a calorie-free day for all!
With that in mind, we give you … pie. Sweet or savory, Nashville has its fair share of delicious options for every meal of the day. While some of these may not be considered pies in the most traditional sense, we think special occasions warrant a little poetic license. From pizza pies to fried fruit pies, here are 10 ways to celebrate Pi Day in Nashville!
10 Ways to Celebrate Pi Day in Nashville
There’s nothing quite like a carefully crafted, tried-and-true dessert pie to get your nostalgia going. There are, of course, many places to find delicious options throughout Nashville, but if you’re looking for the classics, we recommend Sweet Creations on historic Jefferson Street. Established in 2011, the mom-and-pop pie shop serves some of the best in town. In fact, the pecan pie was once named one of the “Best Pies in America” by Travel + Leisure magazine!
Equally sublime, visit Elliston Place Soda Shop for everything from their good old-fashioned lemon icebox and chocolate chess pies to the specialty pie of the day. Jim Myers, who’s on the shop’s management team, says, “Our biscuits may be square, but our homemade pies, made fresh by Ms. Linda, are most definitely round and measured by the circumference of a smile!”
We would be remiss not to include a Greek dish on this list. Pi is, after all, a Greek letter! A savory dish of baked chicken, feta, and vegetables wrapped in a flaky phyllo crust, Kotopita is known as a “Greek Chicken Pie,” and it’s sold in cafés throughout Greece. Hit up local Athens Family Restaurant (recently relocated to Belmont Boulevard) for an authentic version that’s so good it was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.”
A dish that’s been around for centuries, shepherd’s pie (sometimes called cottage pie) consists of ground meat with a mashed potato “crust.” Hearty and delicious, it’s terrific comfort food, especially on a chilly day. There are several places in town where you can get a swoon-worthy shepherd’s pie, but we recommend trying McNamara’s on Old Lebanon Road. The eatery offers a traditional Irish version with ground beef, peas, and carrots, topped with mashed potatoes and melted cheese.
The Pub Nashville brings shepherd’s pie to The Gulch with a slightly different spin, featuring beef, lamb, Bordelaise sauce, peas, carrots, cheese, and Parmesan-crusted breadcrumbs. For shepherd’s pie with a side of entertainment, head to the recently opened Eastside Bowl, where you can enjoy a little bowling as you dine. If you were a fan of The Family Wash, you might be excited to hear that you can still enjoy the same shepherd’s pie at Eastside Bowl. “The Family Wash was such a staple in East Nashville for nearly 15 years,” says co-owner Jamie Ruban. “The shepherd’s pie was a popular item on the menu. What makes the pie so delicious is that it has been a community favorite for so long. Being able to enjoy this familiar dish once again during a time when Nashville is growing so rapidly just tastes like home!”
Pizza is, without question, one of the most prolific “pie” options in Music City. We could wax poetic about the best style of crust, preferred toppings, and even the proper way to hold a slice, but we’ll stick to the basics. You likely have your favorite spot, but here are a few must-try options around town.
You can’t go wrong going to Mafiaoza’s for the “Teamster” (bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni, and salami), Five Points Pizza for a Dave’s Pie (Prosciutto di Parma, fresh basil, and extra pecorino romano) or the Habañero Cream Sauce Pie (house-made habañero cream sauce, bacon, oven-roasted tomatoes, red onions, fresh basil, and mozzarella). At Slim and Husky’s Pizza Beeria, go for the classic “Got 5 On It” (red sauce, house cheese blend, and fresh mozzarella).
Super elevated local favorites include the belly ham pizza at City House, any of the seasonal pizza rotations on the enu at Folk, and the NY Cheese Pizza with Chili Oil at Lockeland Table’s Community Hour. But, don’t be afraid to branch out — all of these eateries also boast additional creative options that will broaden your pizza horizons!
A pocket of dough filled with tasty goodness, hand pies are miniature pies that are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Hence, the name. For a local option, head to Joyland, where a limited number of hand pies are made in-house each day (only 25, to be exact). They are always warm, and the flavors change seasonally. Originally featured on Chef Sean Brock’s episode of “The Mind of a Chef” with Lisa Donovan, the current iteration features Cruze Farm buttermilk custard inside house-made vinegar pie dough. Keep your eye out for the next flavor, crafted by pastry power duo Michael Werrell and Keaton Vasek from The Continental.
One of France’s most popular signature dishes, the quiche is essentially a spin on pie, though it’s technically considered a tart. Nevertheless, it’s worth savoring every morsel, especially if you’re eating an authentic French version from Little Gourmand or Cocorico! Head to either one of Little Gourmand’s locations to choose from any number of incredible classic quiches, including ham and cheese, mushroom and spinach, cherry tomato and goat cheese, or caramelized onion with cheese.
“I use my family recipe with herbs of Provence to add flavor to the dough,” says Little Gourmand’s owner, Guenievre Milliner. “It’s 100% made from scratch. We use fluted molds to have a nice and neat edge, exactly as they would be made in France.” If you find yourself at one of the local farmers’ markets, stop by the Cocorico! booth to snag a traditional quiche Lorraine or the vegetarian-friendly Mediterranean quiche with feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach.
Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken pot pie is a dish that automatically elicits nostalgic childhood memories. A golden crust filled with tender meat and vegetables, it’s the perfect all-American comfort food that warms both the belly and the soul. The chicken pot pie at The Café at Thistle Farms is so popular that it remains on the menu all year round — a favorite for locals and visitors alike. (The backstory of how this dish came to be on the menu is also interesting. You can read about it HERE.) It features roasted chicken, English peas, corn, and carrots. If you’re looking to enjoy your pot pie at home, you can find one on the daily “take and bake” menu from Dozen Bakery. All you have to do is pop it in the oven!
There’s a reason why fried chicken, fried okra, and fried green tomatoes are the Southern cuisine trifecta — it’s no secret that frying something often makes it tastier! And while many savory Southern foods lean on the frying technique, some desserts utilize it, too — namely, fried pies. Dating back to the 1700s, fried pies are similar to hand pies but generally larger, and covered in a flaky crust that’s bursting with fruity goodness. These days, they’re still prevalent across the South (you can even find them at some of the larger chain restaurants), but we recommend heading to Peg Leg Porker for peach, apple, or chocolate fried pie that will have you reminiscing about Grandma’s baking in no time!
If you’ve never tried an empanada, you’re in for a treat. The crescent-shaped Latin American meat pies are filled with everything from chicken and potatoes to ground beef and cheese, and they’re downright addictive — particularly when topped with traditional chimichurri sauce as they are at East Nashville’s Lockeland Table. Thanks to Chef Hal, the fillings are always exciting and change nightly.
For Colombian-style empanadas filled with shrimp, pulled chicken with saffron, and ground beef seasoned with paprika, hit up Chivanada. The empanada-centric food truck boasts authentic flavors that will have you returning again and again. Check out the Soy Cubano pop-up for the Cuban iteration, which features chicken empanadas topped with garlic aioli and pico de gallo.
An oven-baked folded pizza (otherwise known as a turnover), the calzone has been a longstanding staple on Italian menus — the dish may have originated in Naples in the 18th century, but it’s still going strong! In East Nashville, drop by Italia for a “create-your-own” calzone or order one from Castrillo’s (they have over 20 topping options), which also has a location in Sylvan Park.
For New York-style fare, Joey’s House of Pizza on Elm Hill Pike might be one of Nashville’s best-kept secrets (sorry for letting the cat out of the bag!). Waiting in the line will undoubtedly be worth it when you sink your teeth into a slice. But beyond the yummy pizza, don’t miss out on trying one of their seven calzones, including meatball, pepperoni, and the lasagna calzone, which is made from an old family recipe.
May your Pi Day be delicious!
Check out our Food & Dining archives for more must-try dishes in Nashville.