It seems Nashville is picking up in its popularity, receiving nods on best restaurants lists, an entire episode of Aziz Ansari‘s “Master of None” and a prime-time TV show that carries the city’s namesake. Tennessee’s capital city had been on my travel checklist for a while, and when you live in Minneapolis, a trip south is always welcome during winter months. (Little did I expect Nashville to receive a dumping of snow the weekend I visited; the city quickly felt like home to this northerner.)
With so much to see over a weekend and neither my boyfriend/travel partner nor I knowing the city, I checked in with Room & Board friend and Nashville-based creative, Elise Joseph. We love the aesthetic she curates on her blog Pennyweight and thought she’d be the perfect person to reach out to for recommendations. (Psst her Instagram is what dreams are made of.) With Elise’s suggestions in mind, we flew south to the home of country music, hot chicken and of course, Honkytonk. Here’s a few highlights!
We weren’t short on fantastic meals in Nashville, but one of the places we enjoyed most was Rolf & Daughters. With unique handcrafted cocktails, fresh handmade pasta and a handful of bar recommendations from our server to check out after dinner, Rolf & Daughters is a Music City must. The side-by-side seating offered a friendly southern vibe, yet felt refined enough for date night in East Nashville. Dish to try: My Mafalde with maitake mushroom alfredo was outstanding, but I stole bites of my boyfriend’s Gargenelli verde with heritage pork ragout all evening. No shame.
We also snuck over to Margot Cafe & Bar for brunch in the Five Points area. A quick jaunt up the stairs, and we found ourselves in a homey atmosphere with breakfast food that didn’t shy from large portions. Their menu changes daily so you can be sure you’re always getting a fresh, newly inspired dish.
A few other foodie-fit recommendations: Husk, Hattie B.’s Hot Chicken, Catbird Seat, Mas Tacos, Marche
Maybe it was because we stumbled upon it. Maybe it was the 20-foot-long surface of tall tapered candles that glowed in the middle of the space. Maybe it was the bottle of wine we drank. No matter the spell, 5th & Taylor was magical. It was the perfect stop after Rolf & Daughters (just a block away) and we were able to finagle two seats at the packed bar from some friendly Nashville natives waiting for a table. Cocktail to try: Sage Against the Machine – a delightful mix of rye, honey, cynar and BBQ bitters (and some 90s alt-rock).
Still thirsty? Check out Pinewood Social, The Patterson House, Holland House
Since working at Room & Board, my appreciation for a unique, welcoming and inspirational retail space has heightened. Per Elise’s recommendation, we visited Peter Nappi. It was like stepping into the Italian countryside. Buttery leather goods in an airy space with a hint of southern flair, this showroom was a breathtaking, one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Destination stop: This shop is off the beaten path, so keep that in mind if you’re working it into your daily explorations.
A few other shops where we’d love to spend time: White’s Mercantile, Wilder, imogene + willie
Ryman Auditorium, Radnor Lake State Park, Frist Center for Visual Arts, and for the true Honkytonk experience: Tootsie’s on Broadway.