Tennessee’s fifth largest city, Clarksville is steeped in agrarian and military tradition. Wilma Rudolph, Jimi Hendrix and Pat Summit are just a few iconic Clarksvillians in history. Now, the likes of LG and Hankook are calling the Queen City home, bringing their food ways along with them. It’s no wonder why this northern Middle Tennessee town’s culinary scene is just as diverse as its communities. From classic favorites to budding trendsetters, you’ll want to salute these tastemakers opening the kitchen door of the “Gateway to the New South.”
Mack and Linda Eddington first opened this European-style eatery in 1998 as a coffeehouse with an artful eye. Today, the veteran family-owned restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with a special event space and top-notch bakery to boot. Linda’s artwork adorns every nook and cranny. So, be sure to take your time soaking up the colorful scenery over piping hot biscuits and gravy or you can savor a slice of red velvet cake in the beautiful courtyard.
Traveling the globe, Roger Kahn and Mohsun Ghias, along with their wives, Sarika and Oneeba, brought home the international fusion cuisine they love so much to their rotisserie off Exit 1. There’s no mistaking the aromas of curry, tamarind and fresh herbs wafting as you step up to the flame-kissed counter of their fast casual restaurant. Whether you prefer original recipe or a palate of global sauces, make sure to “let your tastebuds travel the world,” as Kahn suggests. And, don’t forget the sides. You can thank us later.
Since the days of Prohibition, Tennessee vineyards were sourced for “sacramental and medicinal” purposes only. In the late 1970s, Judge William O. Beach championed legislation that would change the course for Tennessee vintners forever. By the 1980s, he and his son-in-law Edward Cooke had planted a large commercial vineyard. Today, Edward and his wife Louisa continue the Judge’s legacy by producing an array of wines made with Tennessee fruit. Close to half of their wine grapes are from local Tennessee farms, as well as Washington and California regions— three varietals are grown on-site (Catawba, Sunbelt and Seyval Blanc.) You can sip and groove during the summer months at the Jazz on the Lawn and D.J. on the Dock series. Plan your trip for September and pay your respects at the AARP Traveling Vietnam Wall exhibit. Event details can be found at beachavenwinery.com.
Sometimes a soldier’s career gets cut short—Kevin Goyoco can tell you a thing or two. When he was medically discharged after five years of service, his wife, Lena (still in service) encouraged him to save his severance for something big. Goyoco took her advice and “rolled” with his new ice cream shop. Collaborating with other local food entrepreneurs, he developed flagship recipes along with a rotating seasonal menu of frozen tasty treats. House-made batter is poured onto a frozen surface, then toppings are smeared and rolled. He swears it’s only 6 ounces of batter, but you may want to share several signature desserts like “Oreo Crack” and “Bad and Boujee.”
Hailing from New Orleans, Greg and Theresa Shea built upon the foundation of their historic downtown restaurant’s namesake. Former Marine turned chef, Greg prefers a blonde roux— authentic Cajun fare is his speciality. Yet, there are family recipes on the menu tantalizing any and all palates. Enter from the Strawberry Alley side for a true speakeasy experience complete with craft cocktails. Once downstairs, you’ll wish those walls could talk in this most historic venue. Devour dishes like Boudin Boulettes, Crawfish Étouffée or Fried Shrimp and Grits and you’ll swear you’re in the Big Easy. Lunch and dinner options are available; just don’t forget $5 “Happiest Hour” Monday-Wednesday.
There’s nothing like the smell of fresh-baked bread. German native, Silke Tyler agrees. She and her husband, Tim, have baked traditional German breads and pastries in their vintage bakery since 2000. Here they cherish the time-honored tradition of hand-shaped and made-from-scratch recipes to “nourish you on all levels.” There’s a deli, cafe and carry-out along with a full-scale wholesale delivery service which even offers gluten-free options. You’ll definitely enjoy a Grüß Gott! after a trip to Silke’s.
After Desert Storm, former 101st Airborne helicopter pilot Jeff Robinson opened his historic downtown doors with his wife Sherri, honoring the spirit and energy of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. One of the earliest Southeastern craft breweries, Barnstormer Red Ale is Blackhorse’s flagship brew along with a host of other favorites, not to mention the new barrel-aging program boasting Ciders, Saisons, Sours and Stouts. Don’t forget to soak up those suds with a delectable selection of gourmet pub fare like soft pretzels and beer cheese or pizzas and flatbreads. When in East Tennessee, check out their new Knoxville location.
Simply steps away from the campus of Austin Peay State University, Bill and Jen Parker prefer to study coffee beans. Using Clarksville’s first and only Synesso Hydra Espresso machine, this espresso and slow bar also offers pour overs and house syrups. Even if crafted coffee isn’t your taste, you can sip on Piper and Leaf tea, snack on local baked goods, pull up a seat and get caught up on those emails with lightning-fast Wi-Fi, or just take in the modern vibe of this new Clarksville original.
What happens when a couple of brothers grow up in Clarksville around such verdant roots? Matt and Wes Cunningham believe their respect of the spirits industry is a testament to their surroundings and upbringing. Using non-GMO, Tennessee corn, and other regional grains, they distill spirits for the finest shine, vodka, rum and whiskey ever to pass your lips. This small batch, artisan distillery actually sits on a former grain field and uses the same sugar maple charcoal filter for all of their spirits. One of Old Glory’s barkeeps can mix you a cocktail before taking one of the daily tours to see what all the fuss is about.
Clarksvillians have trekked over the Cumberland River and through the woods to The Catfish House since the 70s when Jerry and Carolyn Ellis purchased the Southern staple. Their daughter, Cindy has gladly accepted the catfish crown and is carrying out the Ellis’ legacy. The Catfish House entrees come with a bevy of family-style sides like white beans, cole slaw and hushpuppies. Still, your server won’t take no for an answer when it comes to the bowl of fried okra greeting your arrival. Speaking of fried, no trip is complete without that crispy, cornmeal battered and fried catfish. Not a fan of fried fare? No worries. There are plenty of choices to make out your dinner.
Turn a frown upside down in this cheery cafe dawned in the brightest shades of daisy. A military wife, former CPA and now cafe owner/caterer, Neisha Wolfe believes in empowering women to become whatever they set their minds. The all-female team doesn’t miss a beat with Southern classics like pretzel salad, spaghetti bake and pimento cheese sandwiches. The GCGC (Gingham Cafe Grilled Cheese) —a grown-up grilled cheese with crispy bacon and Havarti cheese on the inside, crusted with cheddar cheese on the outside is a local favorite, as is the kale salad and homemade desserts. Dine-in, carry-out and catering options are available.
Housed in the old Acme Boot Factory building, Miss Lucille’s Cafe is just the tip of the iceberg of what the Knott family is up to. There’s an eclectic marketplace with more than 200 booths, a coffee shop, a furniture design room and The Belle Hollow — a special event space. Truly a mecca worthy of an entire afternoon’s visit; fuel up at the cafe with shareables like the Smokehouse Nachos. On the lighter side is the Picky Eunice Lettuce Wraps — lettuce, grilled chicken, Mandarin oranges, toasted almond and coconut, carrots, honey curry dressing and plum wine sauce. The kids’ menu includes a pizza flatbread you’re sure to sneak a bite. Shop a while and swing back in for lattes or maybe something a little stronger. Did someone say Mimosas?
As a U.S. Army Base, the Fort Campbell community shares a long-standing history with Korea and other Asian countries. It stands to reason why most any global cuisine imaginable can be found on Fort Campbell Boulevard. New Korea Restaurant is one of the best examples of international fare and is considered the best Korean barbecue stateside by many. While the ambiance may lack a few bells and whistles, take pause and order dinner for two at a hibachi table. Starting with a selection of house kimchi and rice, you’ll feast on marinated meats and vegetables grilled over hot coals table-side by your personal pit master for the evening. If ordering off the menu is a bit intimidating, take a self-guided tour at the buffet.
Along a stretch of St. Bethlehem establishments, sits this crisp, modern sushi joint. Immediately, you’ll feel the hipster vibe with reclaimed wood, Edison lights and American pop serenading your meal. While the sushi is a bit Americanized, you’ll find yourself ordering at least one more roll than planned. Try the White Castle Roll with spicy tuna, spicy crab, white tune, lime, masago and green onion, or get a seared roll like the Chuck Norris— a surf and turf roll seared to perfection.
2509 Wilma Rudolph Blvd A, Clarksville, TN 37040
As the face of the new American South changes, so does its culinaria. When it comes to Mexicano eats, the Martinez family hits the nail on the head every time. Coined from their seaport motherland, this brightly colored, family-owned and operated corner cafe offers pure adventure one dish at a time. Get the day started right with Chiquiliques or Huevos Rancheros for breakfast. You can pair a few street tacos and empañadas for lunch with ice-cold Horchatas or a few Topo Chicos. Not to be missed is the Posole accompanied by all the fixings for supper. It’s the perfect take-out to warm the soul.