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.
DaVinci's Gourmet Pizza
Frequently voted the best pizza in Nashville, DaVinci's is located just off West End in a cozy, renovated 1920s cottage with high ceilings and tall windows. As you step through the front door, you'll likely be hit with the overpowering aromas of fragrant pizzas baking in the oven. ...more
Four generations of family food without compromise. Lunch specials and delightful dinners with authentic family recipes, homemade pasta sauces, classic soups, famous steak and spaghetti combos, pot roast and other lean meats, home-baked breads and unbeatable service. ...more
DJ's Pizza & Steak House
With everything from steak and burgers to salads, DJ's may be best known for its tasty pizzas hand-tossed and baked on site. The place to be for scrumptious pizzas, steaks, Italian specialties, and more! In business for more than 39 years, we guarantee only great-tasting food made from the freshest and finest ingredients because your satisfaction is our top priority. ...more
Downtown Grill & Brewery
Downtown Grill and Brewery is located on historic Gay Street, just north of the Tennessee Theatre. The Brewery has a rich history, told not only by its well worn hardwood floors, but through its pictures of a yesteryear Knoxville. ...more
This Main Street’s unique feature is SkyMart, an overhead sidewalk system part of a 1969 urban redevelopment project inspired by the walled city of Chester, England. The area features an eclectic mix of specialty shops, antique stores and restaurants to enjoy as you stroll the famous SkyMart. ...more
Dutch Maid Bakery & Cafe
The Dutch Maid Bakery in Tracy City is on the Historic registry for being the oldest family owned bakery in the state of Tennessee. The Cafe Eatery serves breakfast and lunch daily, with soup, plate lunches, sandwiches, salads and, of course, a variety of fresh baked breads. ...more
Dyer's Burgers began in 1912, with the late Elmer "Doc" Dyer's secret cooking process--the legacy of which continues to this day. The burgers--single, double or triple--are legendary. ...more
Edgehill Studios Cafe
One of Nashville's favorite live music venues, Edgehill helps you start your day with bagels or breakfast sandwiches and coffee, come back for lunch and WiFi, enjoy the music almost every evening. It's where Nashville comes for great coffee and great music. ...more
Edward's, in downtown Clarksville across the street from the historic Roxy Regional Theatre, is in the same building and is owned by a former employee of Benne's, a Clarksville mainstay for many years. The interior of exposed brick walls highlights many historic elements from the downtown area, and the menu of premium aged steaks, pasta, seafood and sandwiches pays homage to the restaurant's pasta while creating the perfect centerpiece to a night on the town. ...more