The Nashville restaurant scene is ever-evolving, and the last few months have certainly seen a surge in exciting culinary experiences. From fresh fast-casual fare to an elevated food hall to updated concepts at a few of our local favorites, Music City has an influx of new eateries to satisfy your inner gourmand. Whether you’re on the hunt for a good old-fashioned deli sandwich, exotic dumplings or the yummiest fried fish in Nashville, you’re in luck with this list of local newbies!
Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar
104 E. Main St., Franklin, TN 37064 • (615) 435-3539
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Scratch-made pasta and wood-fired pizzas abound at downtown Franklin’s newest hotspot, Culaccino. The authentic Italian restaurant and bar is the newest concept from Executive Chef and owner Frank Pullara. It offers approachable dishes in a comfortable atmosphere, with a solid cocktail menu to boot. It also boasts downtown Franklin’s only outdoor bar, with a heated patio and fire pit for cozy al fresco dining. “At its core, Culaccino is about making fond memories with family and friends over a delicious meal,” says Frank. “The concept is centered around the word Culaccino, which is Italian for the mark a cold glass leaves on a wooden table. For me, food and hospitality have left such a huge mark on my life ever since I was cooking as a kid with my grandparents, so my hope is that we can leave a long-lasting impression on our guests.” A lasting impression is definitely in the cards. Inspired by family recipes, the menu offers standouts like Nonna’s Lentil Soup, house-made ravioli, and tiramisu served in custom-made vessels by Handmade Studio TN. A wine list with over 100 options guarantees the perfect dinner pairing. “There truly is something for everyone,” says Frank. “We’re bringing something unique to downtown Franklin that locals love, and it’s worth the drive if you live elsewhere in Middle Tennessee.”
Culture & Co.
3820 Charlotte Ave. Ste. 134, Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 864-8138
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 9 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.; closed Monday
L&L Market keeps getting better and better — particularly now that wine and cheese bar Culture + Co. has taken up residency. Featuring wine and charcuterie selections delivered by conveyor belt, the new eatery brings elevated cheese plates and tasty pairings to the marketplace. Officially opening on November 27, 2020, it’s co-founded by mother-daughter duo Jacqueline Palladino and Ashton Judy, and it delivers a menu that highlights local farms and cheesemakers. “We mostly serve artisan and domestic cheeses and charcuterie along with a low intervention wine list focusing on natural, organic or sustainable wines,” says Ashton. “Currently, all of our dishes are made-to-order for individual conveyor belt experiences. Eventually, once it is safer to reduce our social distancing restrictions, our belt will be filled with our pairings and desserts all the time.” It’s the perfect place to drop by for a quick toast or a mid-shopping excursion snack. “A favorite is the brûléed brie,” says Ashton. “It’s a piece of Calkins Creamery Noble Road brie-style cheese with a brûléed top (think crème brûlée style) served alongside seasonal cultured butter and endless homemade breadsticks.” In true Nashville style, the local Nashville Hot Cheese is also a must-try, featuring a spicy Noble Springs Chèvre (goat cheese) and served with smoked honey and pickles.
El Paseo Mexican Kitchen & Patio
905 51st Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 866-9517
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday
Opening in The Nations neighborhood on the weekend of December 3, 2020, the highlight of El Paseo might just be a tie between the delicious Mexican fare and the heated, dog-friendly patio. The restaurant is so dog-friendly, in fact, that they offer full menu service in the adjacent dog park, and they even have a special taco spread just for your furry friend! Don’t fret; there are plenty of yummy options for humans, too. From fire-grilled street corn to “Mexican Mac and Cheese” and massive burritos, your palate will be satisfied as you watch canines frolic nearby. If you’re looking to imbibe, try the margaritas, mimosas or even a tequila flight, and be sure to hit up the happy hour from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. So, BYOP (Bring Your Own Pup) to this fun new hot spot and sip a Paloma while you pet your sweet pup on the patio. An alliteration never sounded so perfect.
The Gumbo Bros
505 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 679-9063
Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Monday
The jubilant New Orleans spirit is officially descending upon The Gulch as Nashville newcomer The Gumbo Bros celebrates its grand opening this month. “When you’re coming into a new city/market, I feel like it’s important to have a central location where you can get the word out to as many people as possible,” says co-founder and chef Adam Lathan. “The Gulch checked every box for us and has such a great mix of locals as well as visitors to Nashville.” Specializing in quintessential Louisiana fare, the menu boasts dishes such as po’boys, oysters and Smoked Boudin Balls. Naturally, they’ve also got gumbo in spades, with several options to try the filé-style gumbo that makes Creole cuisine so famous. If you’re looking to go the more adventurous route, Adam suggests the Louisiana alligator tail, which he says is the perfect snack while you’re sitting at the bar. If you’re craving a cocktail or two, Gumbo Bros makes homemade Hurricane mix, and they keep their Tabasco Margaritas on tap. Adding to the eatery’s character, the bar itself features wood salvaged from the Port of New Orleans — an authentic experience, indeed!
2305 12th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37204
Hours: Wednesday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday
Officially opening on October 29, 2020, Locust is the brainchild of The Catbird Seat alum Trevor Moran. The dumpling-centric hotspot, which also specializes in hand-cut noodles and shaved ice, is making waves in 12South with its flavor-forward Asian dishes. The menu may be small, but it’s mighty. Finally opening its doors for dine-in reservations this week, the restaurant boasts a 1,000-square-foot, open-kitchen dining room. Additional seating is also available on the heated and covered patio, where you can lounge with sake from sommelier Kynsey Hunter as you enjoy people watching and feasting on must-try dishes such as shrimp toast, cucumber salad, and of course, the perfectly crafted crispy dumplings.
Roberta’s at Urban Cowboy
103 N. 16th St., Nashville, TN 37206 • (347) 840-0525
Hours: Daily, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Nashville is experiencing a little dose of New York City in the form of Roberta’s, a nouveau pizzeria pop-up at Urban Cowboy’s Public House that’s so popular, it’s extending its stay through the end of 2021. “Urban Cowboy has a close kinship with Roberta’s,” says Urban Cowboy founder Lyon Porter. “They approach hospitality in the same way we do — without any frills, unapologetically passionate and heartfelt. Following the success of Roberta’s pop-up at Urban Cowboy Lodge in The Catskills, we knew we wanted to bring the experience to Nashville. At a time when many people are not traveling, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to bring my favorite pizza in the world to East Nashville.” The signature wood-fired pizzas and handcrafted cocktails are where it’s at, and it’s worth waiting for a seat in the heated alfresco dining area, where the atmosphere is an eclectic Western meets cozy campfire vibe. The killer playlist and congregation of trendy East Nashvillians make for a fun scene, but more secluded tables offer a rustic and romantic spot for a date, too. Not to mention, the eatery has some stellar pies, with the spicy-sweet “Bee Sting” topping our list of favorites — a perfectly wood fire-charred crust featuring tomato, mozzarella, soppressata, basil, chili and honey. If you’re looking to sip something wonderful under the moonlight, we recommend the “She Loves Me Not,” a lovely little strawberry Campari-forward drink with gin and coconut.
1000 Main St., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 252-5700
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday (temporary until they open for lunch and dinner)
With Nashville’s broad array of culinary influences, it’s high time a traditional East Coast Jewish deli makes its way to Music City. While it was tough to bid farewell to longtime Nashville favorite Marché, we’re excited to see the space beginning its next chapter as Shep’s Delicatessen — a passion project for restaurateur Howard Greenstone, who brings his traditional egg creams and house-cured corned beef to the east side. “It’s named after my grandfather who had always dreamed of opening a Jewish deli,” Howard tells us. Officially opening its doors the first week of March, the deli currently only offers a breakfast menu as they work on perfecting the lunch and dinner menus. Until then, you can still feast on breakfast sandwiches and fresh bagels while you sip Bloody Marys. Once Shep’s extends its hours, you can look forward to additional menu items that have us waxing nostalgic. Potato latkes with applesauce, blintzes, a classic knish and “Grandma Jean’s Matzo Ball Soup” lend authenticity and a sense of comfort we didn’t even know we were missing. And while it’s somewhat jarring to see the new interior design, it makes the transformation complete. “The interior touts a dining area and high-top counter with seating that offers a true urban delicatessen feel,” says Howard. “Additionally, Shep’s features a proper, ticketed deli counter that allows guests to quickly grab to-go sandwiches, bagels, schmears, and more.” Bring it on.
3820 Charlotte Ave., unit 140-B, Nashville, TN 37209 • (615) 750-5035
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Monday
Opening its doors on January 8, 2021, Taco Chela adds some festive fun to L&L Market’s culinary scene, bringing fresh margaritas and delicious Mexican fare … with a twist. Owner Youssef Koutout says, “I wanted to create a quick-serve concept with great service, delicious food and drink, and a lively atmosphere with lots of character.” Character, indeed. The menu offers classics such as street corn and stuffed burritos, as well as more unique offerings such as the pork belly taco with mango pico de gallo and the portabella-poblano taco with avocado crèma. Youssef also has a few favorites of his own. “For tacos, I strongly recommend the Bang-Bang Shrimp or Pollo Rojo,” he offers. “As for beverages, we have a killer ghost pepper margarita if you love spice!” Happy hour is calling your name.
Assembly Food Hall at Fifth + Broad
5055 Broadway Pl., Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 800-5395
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Fifth + Broad isn’t just a shopper’s paradise; it’s also a dining destination. With 23 restaurants slated to occupy the Assembly Food Hall space in the coming months, there’s no shortage of tasty options. But make no mistake, it isn’t a food court. The thoughtfully designed space capitalizes on small pockets of comfortable seating, including plush velvet couches and patio tables that overlook Fifth + Broad’s interior “street.” Roll-up doors will undoubtedly be the talk of the town come summer when they make simultaneous snacking and basking in the sun an even more glorious experience. With the recent openings of DeSano Pizzeria, Oke Poké, Smokin Chikin, Whisk Crêpes Café and Thai Esane, to name a few, you won’t go hungry. Not to mention, the dessert options are pretty stellar, with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and Donut Distillery leading the way. For more formal dining, check out Cava, Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria, the seafood-centric Eddie V’s, Blanco Cocina + Cantina, Barcelona-style tapas bar Boqueria, Sam Fox’s up-and-coming The Twelve Thirty Club, the ever-popular Shake Shack, and Nashville’s own Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Eat up, Nashville!
Boston Commons New England Seafood Pub
1008 A, Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206 • (615) 226-9283
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (dine-in); the patio opens at 4 p.m. for drinks
Boston Commons has been an East Nashville staple since 2006. Originally on the scene as Batter’d & Fried, the restaurant was one-third of Matt Charette’s dynamic Five Points restaurant trio. Sadly, the tornado in March of 2020 left all of Matt’s restaurants in a state of devastation. A year later, and fortunately for us, Boston Commons is back and better than ever! With some of the best fried fish in town (particularly the fish and chips), the updated and streamlined menu is still chock-full of favorites. “We also have amazing clam chowder, bacon-wrapped sea scallops, and the newest hits on the menu: lobster rolls, shrimp and grits and the Reuben sandwich,” says Matt. “We are where Boston meets Nashville. What that means is that we take New England and Southern flavors and blend them.” The restaurant rebranding includes a remodel that features interior aesthetic upgrades and even an expanded patio. “We’re excited to be back,” says Matt. “Our menu is constantly changing right now as we figure out the flow of everything, so we hope people will show up with an open mind and enjoy all that is new and all that is familiar.”
The Catbird Seat
1711 Division St., Nashville, TN 37203 • (615) 810-8200
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Sunday through Tuesday
Though The Catbird Seat may have joined the ranks of Nashville’s elite in 2011, the rotating roster of renowned chefs means a new concept and menu every two years. The most recent iteration features the exquisite culinary work of Chef Brian Baxter, whose nuanced approach to dining relies on local seasonal ingredients to dictate the menu. Highly elevated dishes such as grilled sturgeon with caviar sauce and mussel toast with squid ink and truffle emulsion make for a tasting experience filled with ingenuity. The dishes themselves are masterfully plated, with emphasis on depth of flavor rather than colossal portion size. If you’re looking for a little sweet to follow the savory, Chef Brian says the yeast donut has made its way from one menu to the next throughout his time at the restaurant. “My favorite donut is a Boston Cream,” offers Chef Brian. “The current donut, a yeast donut, is filled with foie gras bavarian cream and fried apples (apples dried in the fall that get re-hydrated and fried in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon). The glaze is made from black apples.” Say no more.
401 Church St., Nashville, TN 37219 • (615) 205-2032
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
If you haven’t heard about the popular new trend in virtual kitchens, NASHi Noodles is the perfect introduction. Southern-inspired, the ramen joint operates out of Deacon’s New South, and it’s only available for pick-up or delivery through DoorDash and UberEats. Conceived by Deacon’s Executive Chef Chris Calder, NASHi Noodles presents a streamlined menu that honors traditional Japanese cuisine with Southern elements. “The must-try dishes are the pork shank ramen, Nashville hot chicken ramen, and the gyoza,” offers Chef Chris. The latter are handmade Japanese dumplings, which pair well with classic house-made hot green tea and iced green tea with mint. Sort of an insider’s secret, you can’t find the items on Deacon’s typical menu. Instead, check out the NASHi Noodles website for a complete list of dishes as well as how to place your online order.
Enjoy your dining adventures!
If you’re feeling inspired to broaden your culinary horizons, check out even more of our local restaurant favorites!