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19 Essential Restaurants to Try in Franklin

Come for the history and charming downtown, stay for the steaks and duck fat fries

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Located just 21 miles south of Nashville, Franklin is stepping out of Music City’s shadow with a booming food and drink scene to call its very own. A popular and growing city with deep roots and a healthy dose of quintessential Southern charm, Franklin is experiencing a dining renaissance with notable eateries popping up in just about every corner of town. Whether you’re a resident or looking for an excuse to make the drive a half-hour south of town, these restaurants are the perfect alibi for a culinary adventure.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 1892 Restaurant

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4150 Old Hillsboro Rd
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 614-3964
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This dining destination in Leiper’s Fork (the adorable unincorporated rural village in Williamson County) channels old-school vibes, Southern charm, and delivers a standout menu from chef Dylan Morrison. Named after the year the house it occupies was built, Morrison honors time-old culinary traditions with a daily rotating menu that’s featured smoked short rib, zucchini noodle carbonara, and house-churned cookies and ice cream.

1892/Facebook

2. Barbara's Home Cookin'

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1232 Old Hillsboro Rd
Franklin, TN
(615) 794-9533
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This quaint little restaurant set off of Old Hillsboro Road is a solid source for true Southern cooking. Locals rave about the fragrant smells of cobbler, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes when they walk through the front door of Barbara’s, which opened in 1997. From those Southern staples to the rolls, pineapple casserole, and poppyseed chicken — they’re all just like many grew up eating at Sunday supper.

3. Franklin Mercantile

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100 4th Ave N
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 790-9730
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Cozy and quaint, this rustic homespun spot is a go-to destination for breakfast and lunch among Franklin’s locals — one order of the creamy parmesan cheese grits and it’s easy to understand why. Owned by Graeme and Corrie Asch, the couple uses their Southern roots to inform the menu, and it shines through in everything from their sweet potato pancakes to their “guacamento” (that’s a guac and pimento cheese mashup) sandwich.

4. 55 South

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403 Main St
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 538-6001
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Chef Jason McConnell knows that the best way to capture local hearts is through their stomachs. And his methods are tried-and-true: timeless Southern fare and warm service. 55 South is a love letter to the Delta spirit with its Mississippi shrimp and oysters, Louisiana po’ boys, and local fried green tomatoes. And it’s one that locals keep opening up to enjoy.

5. Cork & Cow

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408 Main St
Franklin, TN
(615) 538-6021
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Located in the heart of downtown Franklin, Cork & Cow is executive chef/owner Jason

McConnell’s special occasion restaurant, offering a variety of steaks along with

extensive wine (over 100 bottles!) and whiskey lists. The expertly prepared steaks here

come with a variety of accompaniments — like black truffle butter and gorgonzola

horseradish — but the tender beef here has the chops to stand out on its own.

Cork & Cow/Facebook

6. Merridee's Breadbasket

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110 Fourth Ave
Franklin, TN
(615) 790-3755
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Merridee’s, a downtown Franklin favorite since 1984, is known for its top-notch baked goods, which make it a top breakfast destination in town. But don’t overlook the lunch menu, which features a selection of hot and cold sandwiches served on made-from-scratch bread. The recently expanded outdoor courtyard is also the perfect spot to soak up the crisp fall air with a piping hot cup of coffee and one of Merridee’s infamous pastries.

7. GRAYS on Main

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332 Main St
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 435-3603
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Southern fare gets an elevated twist at this Main Street staple, located in a former pharmacy. The rustic-chic decor complements the hearty, yet beautifully, plated dishes flying out of the kitchen. Heritage fried chicken, fried pimento cheese balls, and fish and grits are the perfect accompaniment to the soulful live music featured over the weekend.

8. O' Be Joyful

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328 TN-6
Franklin, TN 37064

At O’ Be Joyful, the formula for world peace (or a satisfying Friday night) is quite

simple: whiskey and burgers. The brainchild of the Grays on Main crew, this Main

Street fan favorite has that formula down pat, with pimento burgers, fried pickles, and

one of the largest collections of whiskey around town.

O’ Be Joyful/Facebook

9. Biscuit Love Franklin

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132 3rd Ave S
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 905-0386
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Situated in the historic Corn House right off of Downtown Franklin’s Main Street, the third location of this Nashville-food-truck-turned-biscuit-phenomenon doles out Biscuit Love’s classic bonuts with lemon mascarpone, East Nasty biscuit sandwiches, and sweetly-spiced chronic bacon until 3 p.m. every day — minus the unwieldy wait of its Gulch outpost.

10. Red Pony at McConnell House

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108 Bridge St
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 595-7669
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Executive chef-owner Jason McConnell first made his mark in the Middle Tennessee restaurant scene when he opened Red Pony Restaurant in 2006, serving a menu of seasonally changing dishes reflecting both his Southern roots and his travels. A recent fire may have moved the restaurant from its Main Street location to the historic McConnell House a few blocks away, but the service and deft cooking style remain the same.

Red Pony/Facebook

11. 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails

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130 2nd Ave N
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 786-0840
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Named for the year Franklin was founded, 1799 is a date-night destination stocked with plenty of bourbon and buttery cuts of beef. From its perch within the Harpeth Hotel, the restaurant doles out a robust Southern-influenced menu that includes dishes like whipped feta, buttermilk fried quail, Australian Wagyu ribeye, and lobster mac and cheese.

12. Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar

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104 E Main St
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 435-3539
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The new-ish kid on the Main Street block, Culaccino brings legit Italian food cred to downtown Franklin with a charming outdoor patio to boot. Helping to whet locals’ appetites: hearty, belly-warming plates of authentic homespun Italian fare from chef Frank Pullara, including the scratch-made veal shoulder-stuffed ravioli marinating in bone marrow, robiola cheese, and butter sauce; a veggie-laden lentil soup; and 72-hour fermented wood-fired pizzas.

Victoria Rosa, Retrospect Nashville

13. Sopapilla's

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1109 Davenport Blvd
Franklin, TN 37069
(615) 794-9989
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The Cool Springs New Mexican restaurant from Southwest transplant Steve Dale is a refreshing turn from the many meat-and-threes, hot chicken, and barbecue options around town. Start with the queso with Hatch chiles or chipotle shrimp quesadillas, then move on to Sopapilla’s take on chicken and waffles — chicken and sopapillas with Hatch gravy and a honey drizzle.

Sopapilla’s queso Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

14. Pasta & Cream

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1203 Murfreesboro Rd
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 224-3971
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This no-frills locals’ secret hides in an unassuming strip mall, and they sure know how to dish up a plate of al dente pasta. Fettuccini, angel’s hair, spaghetti, and even gluten-free penne are made fresh every day and can be paired with a range of homemade sauces, from a classic Bolognese or carbonara to a spicy Cajun cream sauce with asiago cheese.

15. Perry's Steakhouse & Grille - Cool Springs

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5028 Aspen Grove Dr
Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 721-7781
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Located in the burgeoning new McEwen Northside complex, this is the first Nashville outpost of the Texas-based Perry’s. Clocking in at a roomy 11,000 square feet, this elegant grill house boasts a loyal local following thanks to its butcher-fresh USDA Aged Prime Beef, signature tableside carvings, and flamed desserts. Don’t miss their famous pork chop — it’s cured and slow-smoked for up to six hours with pecan wood before being glazed, caramelized, and topped with the restaurant’s signature herb-garlic butter.

16. Bishop's Meat & Three

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3065 Mallory Ln
Franklin, TN
(615) 771-9432
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A meat-and-three fix is easily satisfied at Bishop’s, which serves up staples like chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, catfish, fried chicken, and more. And since it’s owned and operated by the family behind Hattie B’s, a Nashville hot chicken craving can be quenched there as well.

17. Yats

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2000 Mallory Ln #615
Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 716-2916
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There’s no need to book a trip to Louisiana for some Cajun cooking — Yats’ New Orleans-style eats more than fit the bill. The process is simple: step up to the counter and order one of the seven to 10 rotating dishes on the chalkboard menu. Pay $7.75 for a full order or $8.75 for a half and half of plates like jambalaya, chili cheese étoufée with crawfish, or red beans with smoked sausage. Then, grab a table, go to town, and think of how you’ll spend all the money saved by not booking that flight. Pro tip: it’s BYOB.

18. The Honeysuckle

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1770 Galleria Blvd
Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 771-2111
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The Honeysuckle’s been known to welcome a celebrity or two to its dining room — they seem to know a good thing when they taste it. Elevated, chef-driven Southern fare dominates the dining room here, built using reclaimed materials and welcoming diners with tufted leather banquettes. Try the deviled eggs, duck fat fries, and beef and pork meatloaf — but first, request the curtained booth off to the left for a true avoiding-the-paparazzi experience.

The Honeysuckle/Facebook

19. Wild Ginger

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101 Market Exchange Ct
Franklin, TN 37067
(615) 778-0081
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Those with a hankering for something a bit beyond the basic California roll need look no further than Wild Ginger. The menu here puts traditional sushi menu items on their head by infusing its massive rolls with ingredients like mango, pineapple, Cajun spice, and filet mignon. For those who prefer their dishes land-based and cooked, the wok menu doesn’t disappoint with standouts like Mongolian beef and umami chicken.

Wild Ginger/Facebook

1. 1892 Restaurant

4150 Old Hillsboro Rd, Franklin, TN 37064
1892/Facebook

This dining destination in Leiper’s Fork (the adorable unincorporated rural village in Williamson County) channels old-school vibes, Southern charm, and delivers a standout menu from chef Dylan Morrison. Named after the year the house it occupies was built, Morrison honors time-old culinary traditions with a daily rotating menu that’s featured smoked short rib, zucchini noodle carbonara, and house-churned cookies and ice cream.

4150 Old Hillsboro Rd
Franklin, TN 37064

2. Barbara's Home Cookin'

1232 Old Hillsboro Rd, Franklin, TN

This quaint little restaurant set off of Old Hillsboro Road is a solid source for true Southern cooking. Locals rave about the fragrant smells of cobbler, fried chicken, and mashed potatoes when they walk through the front door of Barbara’s, which opened in 1997. From those Southern staples to the rolls, pineapple casserole, and poppyseed chicken — they’re all just like many grew up eating at Sunday supper.

1232 Old Hillsboro Rd
Franklin, TN

3. Franklin Mercantile

100 4th Ave N, Franklin, TN 37064

Cozy and quaint, this rustic homespun spot is a go-to destination for breakfast and lunch among Franklin’s locals — one order of the creamy parmesan cheese grits and it’s easy to understand why. Owned by Graeme and Corrie Asch, the couple uses their Southern roots to inform the menu, and it shines through in everything from their sweet potato pancakes to their “guacamento” (that’s a guac and pimento cheese mashup) sandwich.

100 4th Ave N
Franklin, TN 37064

4. 55 South

403 Main St, Franklin, TN 37064

Chef Jason McConnell knows that the best way to capture local hearts is through their stomachs. And his methods are tried-and-true: timeless Southern fare and warm service. 55 South is a love letter to the Delta spirit with its Mississippi shrimp and oysters, Louisiana po’ boys, and local fried green tomatoes. And it’s one that locals keep opening up to enjoy.

403 Main St
Franklin, TN 37064

5. Cork & Cow

408 Main St, Franklin, TN
Cork & Cow/Facebook

Located in the heart of downtown Franklin, Cork & Cow is executive chef/owner Jason

McConnell’s special occasion restaurant, offering a variety of steaks along with

extensive wine (over 100 bottles!) and whiskey lists. The expertly prepared steaks here

come with a variety of accompaniments — like black truffle butter and gorgonzola

horseradish — but the tender beef here has the chops to stand out on its own.

408 Main St
Franklin, TN

6. Merridee's Breadbasket

110 Fourth Ave, Franklin, TN

Merridee’s, a downtown Franklin favorite since 1984, is known for its top-notch baked goods, which make it a top breakfast destination in town. But don’t overlook the lunch menu, which features a selection of hot and cold sandwiches served on made-from-scratch bread. The recently expanded outdoor courtyard is also the perfect spot to soak up the crisp fall air with a piping hot cup of coffee and one of Merridee’s infamous pastries.

110 Fourth Ave
Franklin, TN

7. GRAYS on Main

332 Main St, Franklin, TN 37064

Southern fare gets an elevated twist at this Main Street staple, located in a former pharmacy. The rustic-chic decor complements the hearty, yet beautifully, plated dishes flying out of the kitchen. Heritage fried chicken, fried pimento cheese balls, and fish and grits are the perfect accompaniment to the soulful live music featured over the weekend.

332 Main St
Franklin, TN 37064

8. O' Be Joyful

328 TN-6, Franklin, TN 37064
O’ Be Joyful/Facebook

At O’ Be Joyful, the formula for world peace (or a satisfying Friday night) is quite

simple: whiskey and burgers. The brainchild of the Grays on Main crew, this Main

Street fan favorite has that formula down pat, with pimento burgers, fried pickles, and

one of the largest collections of whiskey around town.

328 TN-6
Franklin, TN 37064

9. Biscuit Love Franklin

132 3rd Ave S, Franklin, TN 37064

Situated in the historic Corn House right off of Downtown Franklin’s Main Street, the third location of this Nashville-food-truck-turned-biscuit-phenomenon doles out Biscuit Love’s classic bonuts with lemon mascarpone, East Nasty biscuit sandwiches, and sweetly-spiced chronic bacon until 3 p.m. every day — minus the unwieldy wait of its Gulch outpost.

132 3rd Ave S
Franklin, TN 37064

10. Red Pony at McConnell House

108 Bridge St, Franklin, TN 37064
Red Pony/Facebook

Executive chef-owner Jason McConnell first made his mark in the Middle Tennessee restaurant scene when he opened Red Pony Restaurant in 2006, serving a menu of seasonally changing dishes reflecting both his Southern roots and his travels. A recent fire may have moved the restaurant from its Main Street location to the historic McConnell House a few blocks away, but the service and deft cooking style remain the same.

108 Bridge St
Franklin, TN 37064

11. 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails

130 2nd Ave N, Franklin, TN 37064

Named for the year Franklin was founded, 1799 is a date-night destination stocked with plenty of bourbon and buttery cuts of beef. From its perch within the Harpeth Hotel, the restaurant doles out a robust Southern-influenced menu that includes dishes like whipped feta, buttermilk fried quail, Australian Wagyu ribeye, and lobster mac and cheese.

130 2nd Ave N
Franklin, TN 37064

12. Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar

104 E Main St, Franklin, TN 37064
Victoria Rosa, Retrospect Nashville

The new-ish kid on the Main Street block, Culaccino brings legit Italian food cred to downtown Franklin with a charming outdoor patio to boot. Helping to whet locals’ appetites: hearty, belly-warming plates of authentic homespun Italian fare from chef Frank Pullara, including the scratch-made veal shoulder-stuffed ravioli marinating in bone marrow, robiola cheese, and butter sauce; a veggie-laden lentil soup; and 72-hour fermented wood-fired pizzas.

104 E Main St
Franklin, TN 37064

13. Sopapilla's

1109 Davenport Blvd, Franklin, TN 37069
Sopapilla’s queso Delia Jo Ramsey / Eater Nashville

The Cool Springs New Mexican restaurant from Southwest transplant Steve Dale is a refreshing turn from the many meat-and-threes, hot chicken, and barbecue options around town. Start with the queso with Hatch chiles or chipotle shrimp quesadillas, then move on to Sopapilla’s take on chicken and waffles — chicken and sopapillas with Hatch gravy and a honey drizzle.

1109 Davenport Blvd
Franklin, TN 37069

14. Pasta & Cream

1203 Murfreesboro Rd, Franklin, TN 37064

This no-frills locals’ secret hides in an unassuming strip mall, and they sure know how to dish up a plate of al dente pasta. Fettuccini, angel’s hair, spaghetti, and even gluten-free penne are made fresh every day and can be paired with a range of homemade sauces, from a classic Bolognese or carbonara to a spicy Cajun cream sauce with asiago cheese.

1203 Murfreesboro Rd
Franklin, TN 37064

15. Perry's Steakhouse & Grille - Cool Springs

5028 Aspen Grove Dr, Franklin, TN 37067

Located in the burgeoning new McEwen Northside complex, this is the first Nashville outpost of the Texas-based Perry’s. Clocking in at a roomy 11,000 square feet, this elegant grill house boasts a loyal local following thanks to its butcher-fresh USDA Aged Prime Beef, signature tableside carvings, and flamed desserts. Don’t miss their famous pork chop — it’s cured and slow-smoked for up to six hours with pecan wood before being glazed, caramelized, and topped with the restaurant’s signature herb-garlic butter.

5028 Aspen Grove Dr
Franklin, TN 37067

Related Maps

16. Bishop's Meat & Three

3065 Mallory Ln, Franklin, TN

A meat-and-three fix is easily satisfied at Bishop’s, which serves up staples like chicken and dumplings, meatloaf, catfish, fried chicken, and more. And since it’s owned and operated by the family behind Hattie B’s, a Nashville hot chicken craving can be quenched there as well.

3065 Mallory Ln
Franklin, TN

17. Yats

2000 Mallory Ln #615, Franklin, TN 37067

There’s no need to book a trip to Louisiana for some Cajun cooking — Yats’ New Orleans-style eats more than fit the bill. The process is simple: step up to the counter and order one of the seven to 10 rotating dishes on the chalkboard menu. Pay $7.75 for a full order or $8.75 for a half and half of plates like jambalaya, chili cheese étoufée with crawfish, or red beans with smoked sausage. Then, grab a table, go to town, and think of how you’ll spend all the money saved by not booking that flight. Pro tip: it’s BYOB.

2000 Mallory Ln #615
Franklin, TN 37067

18. The Honeysuckle

1770 Galleria Blvd, Franklin, TN 37067
The Honeysuckle/Facebook

The Honeysuckle’s been known to welcome a celebrity or two to its dining room — they seem to know a good thing when they taste it. Elevated, chef-driven Southern fare dominates the dining room here, built using reclaimed materials and welcoming diners with tufted leather banquettes. Try the deviled eggs, duck fat fries, and beef and pork meatloaf — but first, request the curtained booth off to the left for a true avoiding-the-paparazzi experience.

1770 Galleria Blvd
Franklin, TN 37067

19. Wild Ginger

101 Market Exchange Ct, Franklin, TN 37067
Wild Ginger/Facebook

Those with a hankering for something a bit beyond the basic California roll need look no further than Wild Ginger. The menu here puts traditional sushi menu items on their head by infusing its massive rolls with ingredients like mango, pineapple, Cajun spice, and filet mignon. For those who prefer their dishes land-based and cooked, the wok menu doesn’t disappoint with standouts like Mongolian beef and umami chicken.

101 Market Exchange Ct
Franklin, TN 37067

Related Maps