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Where to Eat in 12 South

Don’t skip these restaurants when dining in Nashville’s 12 South neighborhood

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The cool-kid shops and restaurants sprinkled along 12 South are not well-kept secrets. This neighborhood is a top destination for tourists on weekends, and it is visited by locals who enjoy smaller crowds during the week. Once an off-the-beaten-path part of town, 12 South now is home to a dozen or so spots serving really delicious food. A well-rounded mix of casual and upscale, breakfast and dinner, and sweet and savory spots makes this one of the most-visited neighborhoods for diners. Join the many who are indulging, and understand why 12 South is at the top of everyone’s must-visit list.

In this update, The Flipside and Mill Creek Taproom both leave the list, due to closure.

*Map is not ranked, but is listed alphabetically

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 12 South Taproom and Grill

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2318 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 463-7552
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Over a decade of serving top-notch beers and quality casual eats in the neighborhood has earned 12 South Taproom & Grill the self-proclaimed title of “the origional 12 South neighborhood hang.” An impressive array of brews makes them a beer bar, and then there is the menu, which makes them more than just a standard watering hole. The dishes crafted with quality, often local, ingredients are far from average bar food.

2. bartaco

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2526 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 269-8226
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Bartaco feels beach-y, with its white-washed patio, coastal interiors and small, street-style tacos with fillings from Baja fish to falafel. The menu is broken down into three main sections: tacos, not tacos, and rice bowls. Newbies, order a tray of tacos for the table, but first, try the lime-heavy guacamole with a spicy margarita.

3. Burger Up

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2901 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 279-3767
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This neighborhood staple is best known for its burgers, but you can also come here for tasty salads (hello, chopped kale) topped with the protein of your choice and the famed fried pickles. When it comes to burgers, take your pick of beef, bison, chicken or veggie, with toppings ranging from pimento cheese and bacon to truffle aioli and pickles. Homemade fries are best when dunked in the restaurant’s homemade ketchup.

4. Edley's Bar-B-Que

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2706 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 953-2951
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Widely popular for melt-in-your-mouth meats that are smoked low and slow, this multiple-location barbecue joint got its start in 12 South before expanding. The barbecue nachos, shrimp tacos, chicken sandwich, and pork platter all deserve a try, and no meal here is complete without a Bushwacker. Bonus: the laid-back vibes make it kid-friendly.

5. Epice

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2902 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 720-6765
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Epice, with its cool, contemporary design and Lebanese dishes, is a gem of the neighborhood. The Lebanese bistro is locals-approved and well-loved for the fresh, aromatic dishes — favorites include the hummus, grape leaves, Epice salad, lahmeh and sayadeya. Inquire about the daily fish and recommended cocktails, and ask for a seat on the patio.

6. Five Daughters Bakery 12th South

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1110 Caruthers Ave
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 490-6554
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Five Daughters Bakery is an ever-expanding empire, one that includes seven locations across the South and is dedicated to providing high-quality, super-sweet, tasty donuts. The 100-layer donut put this donut shop on the map. For owners/spouses/parents of five daughters Isaac and Stephanie Meek, every donut is a labor of love — the donut-croissant hybrid takes up to three days to create. Vegan and paleo donuts are also available.

7. Franklin Juice Company

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2301 12th Ave S #102
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 750-2992
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Blending some of the tastiest açaí bowls in the city, this juice bar delivers a healthier alternative to the neighborhood’s breakfast scene. Bowls, with an açaí base, are loaded with fruit, granola, honey, bee pollen, and peanut butter — a commitment to sourcing the highest quality, certified-organic produce means your bowls are made with the best ingredients. Also on the menu: smoothies and organic cold-pressed juice.

8. Frothy Monkey

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2509 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 600-4756
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This all-day eatery (with all-day breakfast) serves a simple menu that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Always bustling, the coffeehouse and restaurant is a comfortable neighborhood spot where people linger from morning until dinnertime. Start your day with a cup of coffee and the California — two fried eggs over medium, avocado and sprouts atop sourdough toast. Gluten-free and vegan options are aplenty.

9. Josephine

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2316 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 292-7766
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Josephine is arguably the neighborhood’s most elegant option for dining. Led by Andy Little, the kitchen serves a seasonal menu celebrating the James Beard-nominated chef’s Pennsylvania upbringing and local flavors, simultaneously. The Josephine whole chicken for two is a staple. A tasting table experience is offered on Friday and Saturday nights to showcase Little’s chops in the kitchen. Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday.

10. Las Paletas

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2911 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 386-2101
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Las Paletas was founded by sisters Irma and Norma Paz, who grew up in Mexico. They introduced paletas, a gourmet Mexican frozen treat, to the neighborhood in 2001 and quickly grew a loyal following for their fun flavors. Creamy basil, avocado, peach, and strawberry chocolate chip are only a few of the many options.

11. MAFIAoZA’s

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2400 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 269-4646
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Another long-time neighborhood hangout, MAFIAoZA’S has a seat for everyone: families, couples, and late-nighters (the restaurant doesn’t close until 3 a.m.). You can order New York-style pizza by the slice or opt for a whole pie. There’s also an array of appetizers, salads, and pastas. On Tuesdays, beer and slices are two-for-one. 

12. Taqueria del Sol

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2317 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 499-4293
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An essential spot in 12 South, the counter-service taqueria features a menu driven by Mexican cuisine infused with Southern flavor. The cultures come together in dishes such as the fried chicken taco and turnip greens. The jalapeño cheese dip, guacamole, and fish and veggie tacos are other stand-outs. The line here is often long, but the food comes quickly.

13. Urban Grub

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2506 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 679-9342
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Urban Grub, which opened almost ten years ago in a renovated car wash, remains a neighborhood favorite today. An elevated American menu is approachable, but not boring. During dinner, a selection of oysters and charcuterie share the menu with Southern specialties and steaks. Weekend brunch offers all your mid-morning favorites: sticky, donut holes, omelets, shrimp and grits and steak and eggs. 

1. 12 South Taproom and Grill

2318 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

Over a decade of serving top-notch beers and quality casual eats in the neighborhood has earned 12 South Taproom & Grill the self-proclaimed title of “the origional 12 South neighborhood hang.” An impressive array of brews makes them a beer bar, and then there is the menu, which makes them more than just a standard watering hole. The dishes crafted with quality, often local, ingredients are far from average bar food.

2318 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

2. bartaco

2526 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

Bartaco feels beach-y, with its white-washed patio, coastal interiors and small, street-style tacos with fillings from Baja fish to falafel. The menu is broken down into three main sections: tacos, not tacos, and rice bowls. Newbies, order a tray of tacos for the table, but first, try the lime-heavy guacamole with a spicy margarita.

2526 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

3. Burger Up

2901 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

This neighborhood staple is best known for its burgers, but you can also come here for tasty salads (hello, chopped kale) topped with the protein of your choice and the famed fried pickles. When it comes to burgers, take your pick of beef, bison, chicken or veggie, with toppings ranging from pimento cheese and bacon to truffle aioli and pickles. Homemade fries are best when dunked in the restaurant’s homemade ketchup.

2901 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

4. Edley's Bar-B-Que

2706 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

Widely popular for melt-in-your-mouth meats that are smoked low and slow, this multiple-location barbecue joint got its start in 12 South before expanding. The barbecue nachos, shrimp tacos, chicken sandwich, and pork platter all deserve a try, and no meal here is complete without a Bushwacker. Bonus: the laid-back vibes make it kid-friendly.

2706 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

5. Epice

2902 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

Epice, with its cool, contemporary design and Lebanese dishes, is a gem of the neighborhood. The Lebanese bistro is locals-approved and well-loved for the fresh, aromatic dishes — favorites include the hummus, grape leaves, Epice salad, lahmeh and sayadeya. Inquire about the daily fish and recommended cocktails, and ask for a seat on the patio.

2902 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

6. Five Daughters Bakery 12th South

1110 Caruthers Ave, Nashville, TN 37204

Five Daughters Bakery is an ever-expanding empire, one that includes seven locations across the South and is dedicated to providing high-quality, super-sweet, tasty donuts. The 100-layer donut put this donut shop on the map. For owners/spouses/parents of five daughters Isaac and Stephanie Meek, every donut is a labor of love — the donut-croissant hybrid takes up to three days to create. Vegan and paleo donuts are also available.

1110 Caruthers Ave
Nashville, TN 37204

7. Franklin Juice Company

2301 12th Ave S #102, Nashville, TN 37204

Blending some of the tastiest açaí bowls in the city, this juice bar delivers a healthier alternative to the neighborhood’s breakfast scene. Bowls, with an açaí base, are loaded with fruit, granola, honey, bee pollen, and peanut butter — a commitment to sourcing the highest quality, certified-organic produce means your bowls are made with the best ingredients. Also on the menu: smoothies and organic cold-pressed juice.

2301 12th Ave S #102
Nashville, TN 37204

8. Frothy Monkey

2509 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

This all-day eatery (with all-day breakfast) serves a simple menu that doesn’t skimp on flavor. Always bustling, the coffeehouse and restaurant is a comfortable neighborhood spot where people linger from morning until dinnertime. Start your day with a cup of coffee and the California — two fried eggs over medium, avocado and sprouts atop sourdough toast. Gluten-free and vegan options are aplenty.

2509 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

9. Josephine

2316 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

Josephine is arguably the neighborhood’s most elegant option for dining. Led by Andy Little, the kitchen serves a seasonal menu celebrating the James Beard-nominated chef’s Pennsylvania upbringing and local flavors, simultaneously. The Josephine whole chicken for two is a staple. A tasting table experience is offered on Friday and Saturday nights to showcase Little’s chops in the kitchen. Brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday.

2316 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

10. Las Paletas

2911 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

Las Paletas was founded by sisters Irma and Norma Paz, who grew up in Mexico. They introduced paletas, a gourmet Mexican frozen treat, to the neighborhood in 2001 and quickly grew a loyal following for their fun flavors. Creamy basil, avocado, peach, and strawberry chocolate chip are only a few of the many options.

2911 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

11. MAFIAoZA’s

2400 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

Another long-time neighborhood hangout, MAFIAoZA’S has a seat for everyone: families, couples, and late-nighters (the restaurant doesn’t close until 3 a.m.). You can order New York-style pizza by the slice or opt for a whole pie. There’s also an array of appetizers, salads, and pastas. On Tuesdays, beer and slices are two-for-one. 

2400 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

12. Taqueria del Sol

2317 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204

An essential spot in 12 South, the counter-service taqueria features a menu driven by Mexican cuisine infused with Southern flavor. The cultures come together in dishes such as the fried chicken taco and turnip greens. The jalapeño cheese dip, guacamole, and fish and veggie tacos are other stand-outs. The line here is often long, but the food comes quickly.

2317 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37204

13. Urban Grub

2506 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

Urban Grub, which opened almost ten years ago in a renovated car wash, remains a neighborhood favorite today. An elevated American menu is approachable, but not boring. During dinner, a selection of oysters and charcuterie share the menu with Southern specialties and steaks. Weekend brunch offers all your mid-morning favorites: sticky, donut holes, omelets, shrimp and grits and steak and eggs. 

2506 12th Ave S
Nashville, TN 37203

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