Every community has a local favorite: a one-of-a-kind place where locals gather for a special dish, a certain atmosphere, or a chance to catch up with friends and neighbors over good food.
Like the folks on that television classic "Cheers," we all like to stop at a place "where everybody knows your name." Those local favorites have become more than restaurants. They are extensions of home, where someone is always glad you stopped by. That's just how Tennessee's own Cracker Barrel got started.
The interstate system was young, in the late 1960s, when Dan Evins cogitated on how to keep the real flavor of America available to folks on the road. To Evins, mealtime was that connection between the comfort of made-from-scratch food and time to enjoy catching up--with family, with friends or just with your own thoughts. That first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store opened in 1969 on the outskirts of Lebanon. Standards were firm: cornbread came from cornmeal, not a mix; prices could not "break" people; and, fortunately, the people who worked there made sure a trip to Cracker Barrel was like a friendly visit to a neighbor's home. Soon, people were lined up for turnip greens, biscuits and gravy and the good things served at Cracker Barrel.
Local favorites keep people coming back. Ruby Tuesday was founded on the campus of the University of Tennessee by Sandy Beall, who had a vision of food and drinks handcrafted, made fresh with quality ingredients and full of flavor, served by friendly people.
Not all local favorites have grown to cover the state. Many remain what they have always been: a neighborhood eatery with a reputation for good food and friendly service.
Capture vintage classic at Memphis' Arcade Restaurant, located in the middle of the historic district. Charming Fountain City, in North Knoxville, sees Litton's Market, Restaurant & Bakery spin platters of mouth-watering burgers, chili dogs, key lime pie, red velvet cake and more, while locals gather in a back room to discuss "the truth according to Litton's." An institution in Nashville, Monell's family-style hospitality serves up the finest fried chicken, cornbread, green beans, sweet tea, catfish--and the desserts are something else.
12th South Taproom & Grill
The 12th South Taproom and Grill provides Nashville with a great hangout, great beer selection and great eats for great prices. Located just minutes from the courthouse, the 12th South Taproom and Grill serves a variety of sandwiches, salads and appetizers as well as a large selection of beers and wines and live music almost every night. ...more
212 Market Restaurant
At 212, we offer you the warmth and comfort of traditional southern hospitality, combined with a world-class culinary experience. Choose from our award-winning wine list and heavenly dessert tray to complete your experience. ...more
Alfred's on Beale
Great food & live music in the heart of famous Beale Street. Southern food with daily meat-and-three blue plate specials, a large selection of home-cooked vegetables, along with a full dinner menu of steaks, seafood, pasta, BBQ and more. ...more
Traditional Italian food made with the finest ingredients and the attention to detail that old family recipes demand, from the buttery garlic rolls and bottomless salad bowl to the tartufi and tiramisu. It's a great place for a romantic dinner or a large family gathering. ...more
Appalachian Fair Association, Inc.
Annual Community Celebration, last full week in Aug. Featuring motorcycle shows, dog shows, gun shows, country music performances, demolition derby, livestock shows, youth activities, rides, carnival and more. ...more
Apple Cake Tea Room
Wonderfully quaint café located among boutique shops and the Tennessee countryside for a delicious lunch or snack. The interior beckons diners to settle in and get comfortable with a fireplace, log cabin furnishings and lace curtains. ...more
Aretha's is a fascinating place, with a fun menu, with an interesting location & history. The restaurant is in North Chattanooga, on the north shore of the Tennessee River, close to Coolidge Park and the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, with its burgeoning arts district. ...more
The Aurora Bakery is located in historic South Nashville and specializes in Mexican sweet breads and other international breads and pastries, the house favorite being Aurora’s famous tres leches or “3 milks cake. ” Cafe Papillon is also on site, offering ethnic foods and sweets. ...more
Back Inn Cafe
Located in a renovated Colonial Revival Mansion, Back Inn Cafe offers upscale global cuisine with an extensive wine list. The menu changes seasonally to provide our guests with fresh dishes and the latest innovations in fine cuisine. ...more
Baker Peters Jazz Club and Restaurant
Whether enjoying live jazz on a festive evening or tucked away in cozy room for a delicious dining experience, you are sure to feel relaxed and rewarded at Baker Peters Jazz Club and Restaurant. History of the home that plays host to the club is as rich as the fare. ...more
Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria
One of the southeast's most popular taprooms, Barley's relaxed and casual atmosphere will put your mind at ease as you enjoy our great food and beer. Step back in time as you enter the historic building of the Knoxville Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria, restored by the owners and staff. ...more