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.
The Farm Market & Garden Center
This Appalachian country restaurant and market is sure to please. Sit down to a farm breakfast featuring double-yoked eggs, home-churned butter, fresh meat and fresh-picked berries; take home a handcrafted fishing pole and fresh produce, and definitely stay for a legendary dessert. ...more
The Foothills Milling Co.
An upscale fine dining restaurant with a casual atmosphere located in Maryville, TN, close to Knoxville and the Great Smoky Mountains. Foothills Milling Company is a family-owned restaurant dedicated to providing fine dining in an elegant, yet casual setting. ...more
The Galley at Edgar Evins Marina
Nestled in a quiet cove with a rustic setting surrounded by mountainous tree covered hills, The Galley provides a unique dining experience inside our comfortable lakeside setting, or outside on our covered illuminated patio. ...more
The Grilled Cheeserie
Created by Los Angeles transplants Crystal De Luna-Bogan, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, and her husband Joseph, a musician and foodie, The Grilled Cheeserie is a Nashville food truck serving up gourmet grilled cheese melts & nostalgic treats featuring seasonal, local products. Crystal’s extensive culinary background, including such fine dining restaurants in Southern California as Napa Rose, The Four Seasons Hotel Beverly Hills and Clementine has given her elite chef chops with a well-honed insight into flavor profiles. ...more
The Little Tea Shop
Founded in 1918 in the basement of the Cotton Exchange building, the eatery moved to its current location in the 1930s. The charming owner Miss Sue and her staff serve up old-fashioned comfort food with a smile. ...more
The Mad Platter
After 19 years in Nashville's Germantown section, the Mad Platter maintains its commitment to seasonal foods prepared with creativity. Owner-operated and chef-driven, the Mad Platter offers a daily changing menu and comfortable mix of up-scale and casual for lunch and dinner. ...more
When you come to The Orangery, you leave with a memory. With a new menu drawing from classic French intertwined with a Southern regional flair and fusion cuisine, The Orangery's rich and colorful history is breathing anew. ...more
The Original Blue Orleans Creole Restaurant
Blue Orleans Seafood Restaurant is located downtown on the corner of Main and Market, across the street from the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel —another great restaurant to the downtown area. Blue Orleans is available for private and corporate parties and would love to cater your next special event. ...more
The Peabody Hotel Memphis
A four-diamond luxury hotel located in downtown Memphis, this historic icon was built in 1925 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Having recently undergone a complete restoration, The Peabody Memphis continues to carry distinction of the South's Grand Hotel. ...more
The Pineapple Room Restaurant at Cheekwood
Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden and art museum located on the historic Cheek estate. Cheekwood exists to celebrate and preserve its landscape, buildings, art and botanical collections and, through these unique means, provide an inspiring place for visitors to explore their connections with art, nature and the environment. ...more