dessert bowl

Middle Tennessee Destination Restaurants That Wow

Mother's Day is just around the corner, here are a few ideas for meals that will knock her socks off.

Mother's Day is just around the corner, and if you haven't planned anything for that special lady in your life, we've got a few ideas for meals that will knock her socks off.

Readyville Mill | Readyville, Tennessee

Drive time from Nashville: 50 miles or 53 minutes

From 1812 on, Readyville was used as a water-powered grist mill on the Stones River; it changed hands many times over the years and made it onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Five years later, it shuttered until 2009 when it was reopened as a working grist mill, restaurant and special events venue. The newest addition to the mill is the Goodness Gracious Café, which is not only aptly named but exactly how Mom will feel after she's gone to town on their brunch spread. The iconic Murfreesboro restaurant relocated to the mill just two years ago, and Goodness Gracious has it kept the place packed with mouthwatering dishes like Blackened Salmon Eggs Benedict, Tomato Pie, Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes and Pineapple Cheese Casserole.

The restaurant is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast and lunch, but often has a lengthy wait so advanced reservations are recommended no matter when you go.

(Images via Camels & Chocolate)

Sewanee Inn | Sewanee, Tennessee

Drive time from Nashville: 93 miles or 1 hour, 27 minutes

(Credit: Sewanee Inn)

The mountaintop town of Sewanee doesn't just boast the prestigious University of the South; it's also home to the brand new Sewanee Inn. After being demolished and rebuilt over the last several years, the architectural marvel reopened in May 2014 with 43 stunning guest rooms and a bigger, better restaurant that's become a day trip destination for many Middle Tennesseans. Every Sunday, eighteen58 puts out a smorgasbord of a brunch spread—including pancake and omelet stations—offering every food under the sun, live jazz music and a Bloody Mary Bar.

While you're up on the Domain, make a day of it: Hike out to Natural Bridge, take a peek at the stunning All Saints Chapel and drive out to the cross at sunset.

Bell Buckle Cafe | Bell Buckle, Tennessee

Drive time from Nashville: 54 miles or 57 minutes

There's nary a time when a meal at the famed Bell Buckle Café isn't just what the doctor ordered. This blink-and-you'll-miss-it town of Bell Buckle (population 500) in the rolling hills of Tennessee Walking Horse land is a destination unto itself thanks to its restaurant of the same name. The café serves downhome country cooking—like pulled pork, catfish fingers, carrot soufflé, and vegetable plates featuring fried okra, turnip greens, macaroni salad and more—for a steal of a price in a cafeteria-like setting (think: red checkered table cloths and no-frills plastic dishware). Just be sure and save room for a Moon Pie sundae; after all, the marshmallow treat originated here.

Mother's Day will feature a special buffet 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bell Buckle Banquet Hall. Prices are $21.95 for adults and $11.95 for children. Reservations are required by calling 931-389-0223.

(Images via Camels & Chocolate)

Miller's Grocery | Christiana, Tennessee

Drive time from Nashville: 43 miles or 47 minutes

(Credit: Miller's Grocery)

Occupying another whistlestop town due south of the state's capital, Miller's Grocery has been around the better part of a century and long been the area's best-kept secret since its transformation into a cafe and antiques store in 1995. Christiana is so tiny, it doesn't even have a stoplight, yet that doesn't keep those jonesing for some fine Southern cuisine from driving from all over the state for home cooking just like your grandma used to make. The weekly Sunday buffet, in particular, is when the locals congregate at their neighborhood lunch spot, and you never know exactly what will be on the menu. It could be corn nuggets, squash casserole, country fried steak, chicken and cornbread dressing, cod, meatloaf, broccoli casserole, fried okra (or all of the above). One constant is the pie: There's always lots and lots of pie (like pecan, chocolate and coconut).

Miller's Grocery is open daily except Monday. Reservations are recommended, and on Friday and Saturday nights, there's live bluegrass, folk, Americana and more.