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.
Public House Chattanooga is named for the pubs and local restaurants that serve as an extension of a community--a gathering place for anyone seeking good food and drink. The Public House Restaurant menu plays to the comforts of good, solid food while applying the principles of premium food products to a more casual dining setting. ...more
City: Leiper's Fork, TN
Phone: (615) 794-1308
Quality Drug Store
Take a short drive to the small town of Friendship and you'll take a step back in time. This old-fashioned drug store and malt shop offers more than just ice cream; try a club sandwich or BLT, made-to-order just as you like it. ...more
Ralph's Donut Shop
Hang out with the locals whose morning rituals bring them to this legendary shop for breakfast and lots of good talk. Open throughout the day and also the perfect stop for a late-night treat, Ralph’s has been a Cookeville tradition for more than 50 years. ...more
Razzleberry Ice Cream Lab
Razzleberry Ice Cream Lab in Oak Ridge is home to countless frozen delicacies -- sorbets and ices made from fresh fruit, ice creams made of only the freshest ingredients. Homemade ice cream, milkshakes, malts, floats, sodas, smoothies and sundaes! In historic Jackson Square shopping center. ...more
Indulge yourself with the finest steak, aged to perfection, as well as fresh seafood, tasty side dishes and decadent desserts at this Knoxville classic. Regas enjoys a local favorite reputation for its delicious meals and cherished memories, for its celebration of special occasions, events and just a wonderful dinner out. ...more
Rembrandt's Coffee House
Whether you are in the mood for a latte or in search of a place to grab a quick bite, Rembrandt's Coffee House has it all covered. Morning and lunchtime are great times to be on the patio or inside the coffee house, but it's relaxing to drop by after dinner for fantastic coffee and one of their fabulous desserts. ...more
Restaurant at Kelso
Find up-scale cuisine and rustic charm in this 90-year-old building. Start with onion soup flavored with Tennessee Whiskey, then dine on a thick cut steak or fresh seafood served with Southern hospitality. ...more
Ri'chard's Louisiana Cafe
This unassuming joint features Live Music and Dead Crawfish. Stop in for authentic Louisiana fare and stay for live music you never know who will take the stage. ...more