Restaurants in Tennessee
From barbecue to James Beard-nominated fine dining, restaurants in Tennessee fit every cuisine profile and can appease even the pickiest taste buds. These are some famous Tennessee restaurants and cuisines to try:
Tennessee barbecue is all about the pig. Throughout the state, you’ll be able to find juicy, smoky pulled pork, served on a plate or between two buns. If you head over to Memphis, you’ll also get your hands on Memphis-style ribs. These are served “wet” – basted in sauce before, during, and after the slow cooking – or “dry” – seasoned with a flavorful rub.
The state also has more than its fair share of down-home joints. This ranges from classic “meat and three” spots throughout the state that’ll ladle up famous Southern and soul specialties, like fried okra and cobblers, to simple fried chicken shacks. An amazing specialty in the state is Nashville’s hot chicken: the fried poultry here comes extra spicy and, therefore, extra delicious.
There’s also plenty of fine dining throughout the state. Memphis, Nashville, and Chattanooga all play host to James Beard-nominated chefs, creative cocktails, and playful takes on classic French, Italian, and American cuisines.
Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack is a nothing-special storefront in a lackluster section of Music City, but the nuclear-red chicken breast is the stuff daredevil legends are made of. Hot is the biggest understatement in the 615 area code.
They’re not wet; they’re not dry. They’re “’Vous-style” ribs and they’re famous. Basted just before serving with a vinegar solution and followed by a dusting of spices (including bay leaf and oregano), the savory ribs’ bright flavor is a nod to the founding family’s Greek heritage.
Southern bistro and bar
Mention to locals that you’re heading to Cozy Corner for barbecued Cornish hen—rich and moist all the way through—and you’ll get plenty of head-nodding approval. Although the grilled rib-tips get their share of attention, it’s the burnished little bird that rules this roost.
Romantic mazelike café
Located in the thick of honky-tonk bars on Music City’s tourist strip, Jack’s Bar-B-Que nevertheless draws local rockabilly kids and alt- country scenesters for remarkable beef brisket, pork ribs, and smoked chicken.
The dark wood paneling and oversize booths make it seem like a roadhouse tavern, until the aroma sets you straight: Neely’s means business. Don’t miss the succulent pulled-pork platter, served with amazingly rich beans—dark, sweet, and thick with threads of caramelized meat.
Come in for eccentrically flavored Mexican popsicles like tamarind, rose petal, or raspberry-lime.
Funky supper club and live music venue
The dining room here is more like a freestanding screened porch. Grab a seat and enjoy an outstanding pulled-pork sandwich, perfectly seasoned and lubricated, plenty smoky, with a chunky home-cut slaw on top for tonic balance and a sauce that hints at spice without overstating the obvious.