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.
If you just happen to be passing through East Tennessee and just happen to be on Asheville Highway, there is a restaurant that you do not want to miss. Even if it is 50 miles out of the way, you still do not want to miss it. ...more
Carl's Perfect Pig Barbeque and Grill
Thirty minutes from Nashville on Highway 70, you'll find a full parking lot at Carl's Perfect Pig. The smokehouse is on the side, but inside customers line up for open-pit pulled pork and tender ribs, country fried catfish, Southern veggies and great burgers. ...more
Carver's Applehouse Restaurant & Orchard
Overlook the Smokies and apple orchards and have a delightful meal at Carver's Applehouse! Actually a family farm orchard, the Carvers have been growing apples in the area since the 1940s. Kyle Carver started his orchard in 1942, hand grafting and planting apple trees in his cornfield. ...more
Central BBQ Since opening in 2002, Central BBQ has built quite a name for itself. Among the city's many barbecue establishments, Central stands out, thanks to its reliable Memphis-style fare. ...more
Since opening in 2002, Central BBQ has built quite a name for itself. Among the city's many barbecue establishments, Central stands out, thanks to its reliable Memphis-style fare. ...more
Do you remember summer barbecues with flavor-packed ribs and homemade sauce? Add in fantastic fried fish, coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans. Want to relive Sunday dinners with chicken, green beans, cabbage, macaroni and cheese? Or, mouth-watering fried chicken with black-eyed peas, collard greens and the best ever homemade cornbread. ...more
Charles Vergos' Rendezvous
Charles Vergos' Rendezvous--hailed by USA Today as "what makes Memphis, Memphis," and by Southern Living as "if you only have one chance to eat barbecue, it should be at the Rendezvous"--is world famous for its ribs. Dry rubbed, then grilled over charcoal, the ribs express an intensely seasoned taste redolent of paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and oregano. ...more
Open air market located in downtown Chattanooga in an old foundry. The market features handcrafted works by local and regional artisans, live entertainment, chef demonstrations, children's art projects, farm direct tax free products and a unique lunch. ...more
At Cheffie's Café, we invite you to "Be the Chef. " From our long list of top-quality meats, fresh produce, tasty cheeses and delicious toppings, you can design your own sandwich or salad creation so your Cheffie's Café order is made fresh—just the way you want it. ...more
Word of mouth and dedicated regulars spell delicious success for this Mexican eatery. Vegetarian options are available, including veggie burritos, veggie tamales and spinach nachos. ...more