Nashville’s culinary scene grows by the second, and we love trying all of the newest, hottest spots. However, there are a few Nashville mainstays that simply don’t get enough love. These are the spots we return to over and over again – our standby restaurants that always sound appealing. From hole-in-the-wall authentic Ethiopian to the tiny drive-thru you’ve passed countless times, these are our favorite under-the-radar restaurants and hidden gems in Nashville!
1314 51st Ave N, Nashville, TN 37209
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For breakfast, lunch and dinner, 51st Deli is one of the best hidden gems in The Nations. The part-deli, part-market has a varied menu with 23 sandwich combinations, plus a build your own option, as well as tacos, burritos, tortas and more. The breakfast burrito is our go-to recommendation packed with authentic flavor. Pick up their fresh guacamole and pico from the market for your next gathering!
48 White Bridge Rd, Nashville, TN 37205
Hours: Lunch: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Dinner: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
An unassuming restaurant tucked in a shopping center on White Bridge, Anatolia is a Turkish restaurant that serves lunch and dinner every day. The authentic Turkish dishes like Anatolia roasted lamb, kababs and baklava guarantee you’ll be back for more! This is a great spot for group dinners, too.
Barbara’s Home Cookin’
1232 Old Hillsboro Rd, Franklin, TN 37069
Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For delicious home cooking off the beaten path, head to Barbara’s! The Southern hospitality feels just like home, and the meats and veggies might just be even better. From poppyseed chicken to mac & cheese, turnip greens and sweet potato casserole, the Southern classics all make an appearance. Don’t miss the homemade rolls!
1828 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208
Hours: Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tucked away in the Salemtown neighborhood, Big Al and his establishment are truly one-of-kind in Nashville’s culinary scene. This gem is worth the early alarm or the potential wait. Assorted coffee mugs line the self-serve coffee station, and mismatched furniture creates a maze of memorabilia and kitchen supplies. The smiling staff makes you feel like they’re welcoming you into a homecooked family meal. Get the Big Al’s breakfast: a heaping portion of potatoes, crispy bacon or homemade sausage, egg how you like it (add cheese!) and a flaky, buttery biscuit.
5115 Centennial Blvd, Nashville, TN 37209
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
The Centennial in The Nations is a local watering hole that also serves some pretty delicious food. What looks unassuming from the outside (except for its Patrick Swayze mural, of course) is often filled with locals grabbing a burger or tacos and chatting with the bartender. We love the Centennial sauce!
1000 Main St, Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: Every day, noon to 3 a.m.
Another part-dive bar, part-restaurant, Duke’s is an East Nashville joint we love. Serving beers and sandwiches, the bar is open late into the evening, which means you can start your day with a stacked sandwich at lunch or end your night with a cold beer and one of their toasty creations.
Locations on Franklin Road, Gallatin Road, Lebanon Pike, Trinity Lane and White Bridge Pike with varying hours. Click here for details.
You’ve seen these tiny little drive-thrus around town, and if you haven’t yet driven through, it’s time! Serving burgers “like they were before fast food,” stop at Fat Mo’s next time you need something quick and more delicious than those bigger chains next door. Try the spicy fries and a milkshake made with real ice cream!
Gabby’s Burgers and Fries
493 Humphreys St, Nashville, TN 37203
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Housed near the old Sounds stadium in Wedgewood-Houston, Gabby’s is a place you’ve probably passed and should definitely go. A meal at this family-run joint is a joy from start to finish (expect lots of chitchat from the owner, Doug, and his staff ). Burgers are made-to-order with your preferred topping combination and come alongside a mountain of delicious thick-cut fries. Wash it down with a shake and find a spot at the outdoor picnic tables.
415 W Thompson Ln, Nashville, TN 37211
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For an authentic Ethiopian dining experience, Gojo is a must. It’s a tiny little building near the corner of Thompson Lane and Nolensville Road. The aroma, the decor, the staff, the food — all authentic. Our favorite is the vegetarian combo, with tikle gomen, kik aletcha and miser w’et. It comes with a spongy sourdough-type bread called injera that you use to transport the food to your mouth. It’s just a magical little place with magical tasting food.
1000 Riverside Dr, Nashville, TN 37206
Hours: Every day, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
This place is just as the name suggests … a shack serving up tasty American favorites fresh off the grill. Tucked away near the train tracks on East Nashville’s Riverside Drive, the small-but-mighty Grillshack offers mouthwatering burgers, biscuit sandwiches and wings every day. Call ahead and take the goods home, or stop in and dine in their self-proclaimed “luxurious dining area” – a covered area with picnic tables adjoining the “shack.”
Helen’s Hot Chicken
1801 Jefferson St #101, Nashville, TN 37208
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
There’s plenty of Nashville hot chicken out there, but we love Helen’s for a little taste of something hidden. What started as a trailer on the side of the road has grown into multiple locations around Nashville and the South! Try the “hella hot.”
House of Kabob
216 Thompson Ln, Nashville, TN 37211
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
House of Kabob is in a little strip center and easy to miss, but owner Hamid Hasan is a warm and gracious host, and the food coming out of his kitchen is always fresh, delicious and consistent. The chicken kabob salad and the homemade hummus are SB favorites. Don’t be afraid to try the ghaymeh stew or the okra stew. Both are delicious!
206 McGavock Pk, Nashville, TN 37214
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Nectar is a little off the beaten path in Donelson, and it comes highly recommended by many of the SB staffers! The Mexican-inspired menu is full of healthy and fresh options, including buffalo cauliflower tacos, Tijuana chicken tacos, avocado fries and tasty guacamole. Outside, enjoy the live music patio and a margarita bar, as well as games, kids’ play area and more.
2413 Elliston Pl, Nashville, TN 37203
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Rotier’s Restaurant is a Nashville mainstay that opened its doors in 1945. It’s a local place that must be experienced at least once by all. Try their famous cheeseburger served on French bread with onion rings and a milkshake, and we guarantee you’ll be satisfied!
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