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 Henpeck Market
Featured in Southern Living Magazine, Henpeck Market was described as "It's that good. " With the motto, "Simply Live Life," Henpeck Market is a gas station, a grocery store, a live bluegrass venue, and a cafe, serving the finest possible versions of classic mid-south albeit gourmet fare. ...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
The Puffy Muffin
No matter where you go, it will be hard for you to find a more dedicated staff than at Puffy Muffin. Each of the staff members is concerned about doing their part to ensure your dining experience is a pleasant one. ...more
The Smoke House Restaurant, Cabins, Lodge, and Old General Store
Since 1960 the Oliver family has been serving locals & travelers passing over Monteagle Mountain, between Nashville and Chattanooga on old US 41 & 64 and Interstate 24. Today the family restaurant has grown into a traditional stop over for the nostalgic family restaurant featuring homemade family recipes, vintage Old General Store, Live music Fri & Sat nights which are family friendly, Best Western Lodge, 21 Log Cabins, meeting retreat facility, Louvin Brothers Country Music Museum, Hamper McBee Moonshine exhibit, and much more. ...more
The Stage on Broadway
Located in The District in downtown Nashville, The Stage on Broadway is one of many country bars on the busy street that offer similar atmosphere. However, The Stage distinguishes itself by having the largest seating capacity and the most spacious dance floor of any honky-tonk on Broadway. ...more
The Tin Roof
The Tin Roof hosts a large outdoor patio and prides itself on being a bar that doesn't serve the typical "bar food. " Boasting fresh salads, quesadillas, extra-large sandwiches, and a variety of appetizers, the Tin Roof makes its salsa, guacamole, and marinades from scratch. ...more