Hot Chicken, Biscuits & BBQ – Where to Eat in Nashville

When visiting Nashville you’ll quickly realize that half the things you want to do in the city are eating at one of the countless mouthwatering establishments throughout the city. Whether you’re looking to try some Southern classics, get some local favorite or just have a really good breakfast it isn’t hard to do. When you’re looking for a spot to eat in Nashville, it’s actually harder to fit in everything you want to try then find a place to eat.

There are three things you can’t miss eating in Nashville no matter how short your trip is. The first is Nashville’s Hot Chicken. The second is some good BBQ with all the sides. Third is a good biscuit, which I’m favorable to for breakfast. One of my biggest tips for eating in Nashville is sharing! You’ll want to fit in at least three meals, many of which are pretty heavy, sharing a plate with a friend allows you to save a little and while having the chance to try just about everywhere.

You’ll find a few more things you shouldn’t miss when you’re looking to eat in Nashville as well as places where you can find them.

Nashville’s Hot Chicken

Now I know you love friend chicken, I mean who doesn’t? Well, Nashville takes it up a notch and makes it even better with their hot chicken. What you get is a fried chicken seasoned with a cayenne pepper kick. You can find it from mild to super spicy, in my opinion, it’s a much better spicy chicken than the more popular buffalo chicken.Where to eat in Nashville including can't miss items like hot chicken, BBQ and biscuits.

For your classic hot chicken order head to Hattie B’s where you can get your order of chicken on white bread with some pickles and all the southern sides that go along. I went to the Music Row location but here there are others that tend to have shorter lines.

You’ll also find hot chicken sandwiches, hot chicken breakfast options and more in restaurants all over the city. You have to try it once, but if you’re like me you’ll keep ordering it.

BBQ – Sides, Sides, Sides

Nashville might not have the quality of BBQ you can find in cities like Memphis and Austin but that doesn’t mean you should pass on it. My top pick for BBQ in Nashville is Peg Leg Porker. Here I enjoyed the pulled pork that was everything you could ask for. This was the one place where I felt the meats themselves could hold their own with the places I’d visited in Austin just a few weeks before.

What I found most impressive about the BBQ in Nashville, and honestly some of my favorite of any meal were the sides. Whether it was mac & cheese, potato salad, french fries, cornbread, coleslaw, or corn. Even at the spots I didn’t find as exceptional as Peg Leg Poker, I still walked away absolutely stuffed and satisfied.Where to eat in Nashville including can't miss items like hot chicken, BBQ and biscuits.

I also visited Jack’s BBQ on Broadway, a perfect place to start the trip to Nashville and the top pick for Gluten-Free eaters as all their sauces are Gluten-Free and they specifically ask about it when you order sides. Martin’s BBQ which recently opened a spot downtown was just a few blocks from the Country Music Hall of Fame and a perfect treat after exploring the museum. They also have a great list of craft beers on tap.

Biscuits for Breakfast

You can eat biscuits all day but I particularly enjoy them for breakfast and in Nashville, you find some of the best options to enjoy. The number one spot to enjoy them is at Biscuit Love. Start with their bonuts, yes bonuts. It is basically part biscuit, part donut, part beignet, all delicious!Where to eat in Nashville including can't miss items like hot chicken, BBQ and biscuits.

After that, you can enjoy your biscuit with hot chicken, fried chicken, or gravy and sausage, to name just a few. It was one of the favorite meals walking away from Nashville and something you shouldn’t miss.

I also enjoyed the use of biscuits in the local coffee shop’s breakfast sandwiches. Both at Frothy Monkey and Barista Parlor they went along beautify with the locally roasted coffee.

Prescription for a Burger

Outside the classic Nashville treats, one of the places most talked about by the locals was the Pharmacy Burger Parlor & Beer Garden. The three of us all ordered different burgers cooked at different temperatures and everyone walked away happy. You’ll get high-quality ingredients in every bite, a great environment and large selection of craft domestic and German beers. Pharmacy is well worth stopping in for a bite but best to try it at an off hour where the wait won’t be too bad. And don’t forget to order the tater tots, absolutely delicious. Where to eat in Nashville including can't miss items like hot chicken, BBQ and biscuits.

Sweets Treats – Donuts & Ice Cream

With all these savory bites it’s time for some sweet treats you should eat in Nashville. While the Biscuit Love bonuts would make this list too, Nashville has many sweet spots to visit. Start with the Five Daughters Bakery, where you can try the 100 layer donut that will melt in your mouth. They come in creative fun flavors and were amazing. They also have paleo (gluten free) and vegan donuts. Making it a great stop since those are hard to find.Where to eat in Nashville including can't miss items like hot chicken, BBQ and biscuits.

Jeni’s Ice Cream may not be native to Nashville but the locals still love the creative flavors and high-quality product that they create. They even have a spot in the local farmer’s market. You can get the traditional flavors but they’re always bringing out something new whether it’s Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, Churro or Wildberry Lavender.

The Hard Part – Choosing Between Where To Eat in Nashville

Nashville is filled with some many delicious eats that this only really brushes the surface. I’ll have to start planning my next trip back so I can fit in more places to eat in Nashville.

Do be aware that you will have to wait and stand in line in Nashville to get the good stuff. Trying hitting places a little off standard meal times which helps. With all the lines I waited in, each and every one was worth the wait.

So pig out and enjoy some of the finest foods Nashville has to offer. If you’re looking for places to grab a drink and enjoy some music I’ll have another post coming soon.

Have you visited before? If so what’s your favorite things to eat in Nashville? What did I miss? Leave a comment below. Where to eat in Nashville including can't miss items like hot chicken, BBQ and biscuits.
Where to eat in Nashville including can't miss items like hot chicken, BBQ and biscuits.

About Megan

Megan MacNee is the founder of Traveling Nine to Fiver. From nine to five she works in the political world in California, but on evening and weekends spends time exploring the West Coast and more. All while encouraging others to join in on the adventures.

  • Tamara Wilcox

    Haven’t been to Nashville yet, but if I get there, I’ll be sure to take in some of those breakfast “bonuts”–they looked amazing! I’m actually quite a fan of barbecue, too, and there are some great BBQ restaurants in San Diego, where I’m based. I’ll bet you had fun checking out all these great eateries!

  • Oh man that all looks delicious! I know everyone usually goes for the “music scene” but it looks like there’s a good food scene as well!

  • Oh that all looks really good, sounds like a perfect place to eat all day long which is a big plus for me.

  • Kallsy Page

    Megan, having lived in Nashville for a period of time and now living close enough to visit for weekend trips I would completely agree with the places you mentioned! Some of my favorites are Biscuit Love (as you mentioned), The Smiling Elephant, and again like you mentioned… The Pharmacy! Nashville is a foodie’s paradise in many ways!

  • Oh wow…the food…and those portion sizes. You are right, sharing is the way to go. This all looks delicious, especially the BBQ ribs! In addition to the music scene, the highlighted foods are great reasons to visit as well.

  • This makes me miss Nashville so much – I absolutely adore anything from the ice cream to the barbecue ribs and of course the giant portions of food!

  • Laura Lynch

    This is my kind of post! All the great places to eat in one spot. I can totally see myself going to all of these places while there. Peg Leg Porker – brilliant name. I love it.

  • Buddy The Traveling Monkey

    Wow, it all looks so good! I’ve been trying to figure out if Nashville is somewhere I should try to visit and this is making the decision pretty easy. I’m especially intrigued by the bonuts. I’d never heard of them before!

  • Mags

    I grew up in Nashville and always found the food scene rather lacking (my family is from Louisiana so we like Spice). I’m a little bitter that all of these amazing restaurants sprang up after I moved away! So unfair!

  • Eating at new place can be really confusing. Guides like this are really helpful.
    The food spread is truly mouth watering and I think this alone is reason good enough to visit the place.