clock menu more-arrow no yes
Certified Angus steak and baked potato at the Hickory House in Pulaski, TN
Delia Jo Ramsey/Eater Nashville

18 Restaurants Worth a Drive Out of Nashville

The best food-focused stops within a short drive of Music City

View as Map
Certified Angus steak and baked potato at the Hickory House in Pulaski, TN
| Delia Jo Ramsey/Eater Nashville

Cue the choir: it’s road trip season. And after a long season of sheltering at home, that means it's finally time to explore the vast Tennessee expanse outside these Nashville city limits. And while there are not any major destination cities within an hour or two drive of Music City, there are a handful of restaurants worth the round-trip visit or a stop if you are headed out on the road this summer.

Looking for recommendations in Chattanooga — we’ve got that too.

Otherwise, here’s where to eat within a short drive of Music City.

Did we miss your favorite spot? Show it some love in the comments or send us an email.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Helen’s Bar-B-Q

Copy Link
1016 N Washington Ave
Brownsville, TN 38012
(731) 779-3255
Visit Website

Owner Helen Turner, one of only a few female pit-cooks in the country, took over this Brownsville barbecue establishment in 1996, turning out flavorful pulled pork sandwiches, smoked bologna sandwiches, and potato salad worth a detour.

2. Blake’s BBQ

Copy Link
312 N Lindell St
Martin, TN 38237
(731) 819-4364

Folks flock to the Texas-style BBQ food trailer in Martin, TN for oak-smoked meats aplenty, alongside daily specials (like Chick-fil-A Polynesian-glazed smoked ham), vinegar slaw, baked beans, and homemade desserts.

Blake’s BBQ/Facebook

3. the freight house

Copy Link
330 S 3rd St # 102
Paducah, KY 42003
(270) 908-0006
Visit Website

The historic railroad depot-turned-restaurant in Paducah Kentucky serves up bourbon flights alongside a rotating menu of New American cuisine featuring local farmers and partners from chef Sara Bradley. Shrimp and pimento cheese grits, Brussels sprouts salad, and the griddled burger are all popular picks here.

4. Scott’s-Parker’s Barbeque

Copy Link
10880 US-412
Lexington, TN 38351
(731) 968-0420

One of only a handful of barbecue spots continuing to uphold the tradition of whole hog barbecue, Scott's-Parker's was first started by B.E. Scott in 1962, and is worth the round-trip to support a way of barbecue life that is quickly fading.

5. Odette

Copy Link
120 N Court St
Florence, AL 35630
(256) 349-5219
Visit Website

Located in historic downtown Florence, Alabama, owner Celeste Pillow’s Odette is inspired by her time spent working in Manhattan restaurants and her love of art, designed to be the type of neighborhood restaurant she wants to frequent. The restaurant is named after her paternal great-grandmother, with a farm-focused menu of deviled eggs, crispy pork belly, blackened catfish, and grilled Manchester Farms quail from chef Josh Quick. Save room for peanut butter-pretzel cheesecake with garam masala peanut brittle, hot fudge, and whipped cream.

6. House of Como

Copy Link
2700 S Kentucky Ave
Evansville, IN 47714
(812) 422-0572
Visit Website

Since 1969, this cash-or-check-only kitschy Indiana standby is known for its Christmas decor and far-reaching menu of Lebanese fare alongside Italian dishes, steak, and seafood.

7. Country Kitchen

Copy Link
9628 TN-46
Bon Aqua, TN 37025
(931) 670-4823

Breakfast all day and comfort food are the name of the game at the downhome Bon Aqua restaurant. Nothing on the menu is above $11 (including steaks) so a road trip here won’t break the bank. Popular picks here include the catfish, the biscuits, and the hush puppies.

Country Kitchen/Facebook

8. The Beacon Light Tea Room

Copy Link
6276 TN-100
Bon Aqua, TN 37025
(931) 670-3880
Visit Website

Located just about an hour west of Nashville, The Beacon Light Tea Room has been a Middle Tennessee tradition since first opening its doors in 1936. It's had a number of owners over the years (including Loveless Cafe's namesake at one point), but it's still turning out Southern cooking (including all day breakfast) worth the drive.

9. Hickory House Restaurant

Copy Link
330 S Patterson St
Pulaski, TN 38478
(931) 363-0231
Visit Website

A long-standing essential in Pulaski, Tennessee, Hickory House breathed new life when owners Jonathan and Jackie Perry took over in 2014 and upped the ante for quality by offering fall-off-the-bone beef ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and some of the best Certified Angus Beef steaks in Tennessee. Weathering a pandemic by shifting the model from its former buffet heyday and adding a full bar, the Perry family shows the staying power of a tried-and-true local favorite by pivoting in the toughest of times for the restaurant industry. 

Hickory House/Facebook

10. The Southern Table

Copy Link
227 N 1st St
Pulaski, TN 38478
(931) 292-6333
Visit Website

Chef Ryan Yokley, a Pulaski native, spent seven years working in fine dining establishments across Franklin and Nashville before returning home to Pulaski to open his own place, and its another one worth the drive for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The menu offers little of everything from barbecue poutine with smoked queso to strawberry salad, cauliflower steaks, and yes, even Nashville hot chicken.

11. 1892 Restaurant

Copy Link
4150 Old Hillsboro Rd
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 614-3964
Visit Website

This dining destination in Leiper’s Fork (the adorable unincorporated rural village in Williamson County) is a BYOB establishment oozing with old-school vibes, Southern charm, and a standout menu from chef Dylan Morrison. Named after the year the house it occupies was built, Morrison honors time-old culinary traditions with highlight dishes like a spicy-whipped pimento cheese, Waldorf salad, a Bear Creek Farms burger, and fig ravioli with blue cheese fonduta.

1892/@johnwylie_photography

12. Huffs Market

Copy Link
5452 Carters Creek Pike
Thompson's Station, TN 37179
(615) 794-1035
Visit Website

Huffs was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, and is one of the last general stores still operating in Middle Tennessee. They’re known today for great sandwiches, honey, and wide selection of Case knives.

Huffs/Facebook

13. The Local Cafe

Copy Link
113 Main Ave S
Fayetteville, TN 37334
(931) 297-2739
Visit Website

Head South on 65 to Exit 14 and you can easily venture over to Lynchburg for a Jack Daniels Distillery tour. You can also pop into quaint downtown Fayetteville for a solid Philly cheesesteak (yep). Owned by Fayetteville natives and husband-and-wife duo Chanse and Catherine Bartlett, the Local Cafe boasts a solid lineup of cheesesteaks from traditional to the chicken “Fedvilly”, all served on Amoroso rolls and ready to be loaded up with cheese, peppers, and onions. 

The Local Cafe/Facebook

14. India Oven Fine Indian Restaurant

Copy Link
1755 Scottsville Rd #2
Bowling Green, KY 42104
(270) 843-9939
Visit Website

The lunch buffet is open daily at the Bowling Green Indian food destination. At dinner, order off the a la carte menu for vegetable or lamb-filled samosas, Mulligatawny soup, Karahi tandoori chicken saag, and plenty of naan.

India Oven/Facebook

15. Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House

Copy Link
297 Main St
Lynchburg, TN 37352
(931) 759-7394

If you plan on making the pilgrimage down to Lynchburg to visit the Jack Daniel's Distillery, plan a stop at Miss Mary Bobo's for some traditional Southern cooking. Yes, it can be overrun by tourists, but it's been in business since 1908, making it worth a visit.

16. Readyville Mill

Copy Link
5418 Murfreesboro Rd
Readyville, TN 37149
(615) 563-6455
Visit Website

Take a weekend drive south of town to this working gristmill, which dates back to the early 1800s. The onsite restaurant serves up hearty, traditional dishes for breakfast, lunch, and brunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

17. Jiffy Burger

Copy Link
1001 Hillsboro Blvd
Manchester, TN 37355
(931) 728-4452
Visit Website

Head to Bonaroo’s hometown for cheeseburgers and crisp tater tots served in a 1950’s-style diner with checkerboard floors, and walls decked out in collectibles.

Jiffy Burger/Facebook

18. High Point Restaurant

Copy Link
224 Main St
Monteagle, TN 37356
(931) 924-4600
Visit Website

Lots of people make the journey to Monteagle for this destination restaurant, located inside a historic 1929 mansion with a storied Al Capone history. The 1929 mansion with original hardwood flooring and authentic light fixtures, presumably financed by Al Capone, was put on the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1997. The three-story compound once had escape hatches on the roof and underground tunnels in the basement used by Capone for the transferring of liquor in the twenties and early thirties. Local legend reveals tales of Capone and John Dillinger lounging outside on the mountain stone patio having drinks and playing numerous hands of cards.

High Point/Facebook

1. Helen’s Bar-B-Q

1016 N Washington Ave, Brownsville, TN 38012

Owner Helen Turner, one of only a few female pit-cooks in the country, took over this Brownsville barbecue establishment in 1996, turning out flavorful pulled pork sandwiches, smoked bologna sandwiches, and potato salad worth a detour.

1016 N Washington Ave
Brownsville, TN 38012

2. Blake’s BBQ

312 N Lindell St, Martin, TN 38237
Blake’s BBQ/Facebook

Folks flock to the Texas-style BBQ food trailer in Martin, TN for oak-smoked meats aplenty, alongside daily specials (like Chick-fil-A Polynesian-glazed smoked ham), vinegar slaw, baked beans, and homemade desserts.

312 N Lindell St
Martin, TN 38237

3. the freight house

330 S 3rd St # 102, Paducah, KY 42003

The historic railroad depot-turned-restaurant in Paducah Kentucky serves up bourbon flights alongside a rotating menu of New American cuisine featuring local farmers and partners from chef Sara Bradley. Shrimp and pimento cheese grits, Brussels sprouts salad, and the griddled burger are all popular picks here.

330 S 3rd St # 102
Paducah, KY 42003

4. Scott’s-Parker’s Barbeque

10880 US-412, Lexington, TN 38351

One of only a handful of barbecue spots continuing to uphold the tradition of whole hog barbecue, Scott's-Parker's was first started by B.E. Scott in 1962, and is worth the round-trip to support a way of barbecue life that is quickly fading.

10880 US-412
Lexington, TN 38351

5. Odette

120 N Court St, Florence, AL 35630

Located in historic downtown Florence, Alabama, owner Celeste Pillow’s Odette is inspired by her time spent working in Manhattan restaurants and her love of art, designed to be the type of neighborhood restaurant she wants to frequent. The restaurant is named after her paternal great-grandmother, with a farm-focused menu of deviled eggs, crispy pork belly, blackened catfish, and grilled Manchester Farms quail from chef Josh Quick. Save room for peanut butter-pretzel cheesecake with garam masala peanut brittle, hot fudge, and whipped cream.

120 N Court St
Florence, AL 35630

6. House of Como

2700 S Kentucky Ave, Evansville, IN 47714

Since 1969, this cash-or-check-only kitschy Indiana standby is known for its Christmas decor and far-reaching menu of Lebanese fare alongside Italian dishes, steak, and seafood.

2700 S Kentucky Ave
Evansville, IN 47714

7. Country Kitchen

9628 TN-46, Bon Aqua, TN 37025
Country Kitchen/Facebook

Breakfast all day and comfort food are the name of the game at the downhome Bon Aqua restaurant. Nothing on the menu is above $11 (including steaks) so a road trip here won’t break the bank. Popular picks here include the catfish, the biscuits, and the hush puppies.

9628 TN-46
Bon Aqua, TN 37025

8. The Beacon Light Tea Room

6276 TN-100, Bon Aqua, TN 37025

Located just about an hour west of Nashville, The Beacon Light Tea Room has been a Middle Tennessee tradition since first opening its doors in 1936. It's had a number of owners over the years (including Loveless Cafe's namesake at one point), but it's still turning out Southern cooking (including all day breakfast) worth the drive.

6276 TN-100
Bon Aqua, TN 37025

9. Hickory House Restaurant

330 S Patterson St, Pulaski, TN 38478
Hickory House/Facebook

A long-standing essential in Pulaski, Tennessee, Hickory House breathed new life when owners Jonathan and Jackie Perry took over in 2014 and upped the ante for quality by offering fall-off-the-bone beef ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and some of the best Certified Angus Beef steaks in Tennessee. Weathering a pandemic by shifting the model from its former buffet heyday and adding a full bar, the Perry family shows the staying power of a tried-and-true local favorite by pivoting in the toughest of times for the restaurant industry. 

330 S Patterson St
Pulaski, TN 38478

10. The Southern Table

227 N 1st St, Pulaski, TN 38478

Chef Ryan Yokley, a Pulaski native, spent seven years working in fine dining establishments across Franklin and Nashville before returning home to Pulaski to open his own place, and its another one worth the drive for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The menu offers little of everything from barbecue poutine with smoked queso to strawberry salad, cauliflower steaks, and yes, even Nashville hot chicken.

227 N 1st St
Pulaski, TN 38478

11. 1892 Restaurant

4150 Old Hillsboro Rd, Franklin, TN 37064
1892/@johnwylie_photography

This dining destination in Leiper’s Fork (the adorable unincorporated rural village in Williamson County) is a BYOB establishment oozing with old-school vibes, Southern charm, and a standout menu from chef Dylan Morrison. Named after the year the house it occupies was built, Morrison honors time-old culinary traditions with highlight dishes like a spicy-whipped pimento cheese, Waldorf salad, a Bear Creek Farms burger, and fig ravioli with blue cheese fonduta.

4150 Old Hillsboro Rd
Franklin, TN 37064

12. Huffs Market

5452 Carters Creek Pike, Thompson's Station, TN 37179
Huffs/Facebook

Huffs was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, and is one of the last general stores still operating in Middle Tennessee. They’re known today for great sandwiches, honey, and wide selection of Case knives.

5452 Carters Creek Pike
Thompson's Station, TN 37179

13. The Local Cafe

113 Main Ave S, Fayetteville, TN 37334
The Local Cafe/Facebook

Head South on 65 to Exit 14 and you can easily venture over to Lynchburg for a Jack Daniels Distillery tour. You can also pop into quaint downtown Fayetteville for a solid Philly cheesesteak (yep). Owned by Fayetteville natives and husband-and-wife duo Chanse and Catherine Bartlett, the Local Cafe boasts a solid lineup of cheesesteaks from traditional to the chicken “Fedvilly”, all served on Amoroso rolls and ready to be loaded up with cheese, peppers, and onions. 

113 Main Ave S
Fayetteville, TN 37334

14. India Oven Fine Indian Restaurant

1755 Scottsville Rd #2, Bowling Green, KY 42104
India Oven/Facebook

The lunch buffet is open daily at the Bowling Green Indian food destination. At dinner, order off the a la carte menu for vegetable or lamb-filled samosas, Mulligatawny soup, Karahi tandoori chicken saag, and plenty of naan.

1755 Scottsville Rd #2
Bowling Green, KY 42104

15. Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House

297 Main St, Lynchburg, TN 37352

If you plan on making the pilgrimage down to Lynchburg to visit the Jack Daniel's Distillery, plan a stop at Miss Mary Bobo's for some traditional Southern cooking. Yes, it can be overrun by tourists, but it's been in business since 1908, making it worth a visit.

297 Main St
Lynchburg, TN 37352

Related Maps

16. Readyville Mill

5418 Murfreesboro Rd, Readyville, TN 37149

Take a weekend drive south of town to this working gristmill, which dates back to the early 1800s. The onsite restaurant serves up hearty, traditional dishes for breakfast, lunch, and brunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

5418 Murfreesboro Rd
Readyville, TN 37149

17. Jiffy Burger

1001 Hillsboro Blvd, Manchester, TN 37355
Jiffy Burger/Facebook

Head to Bonaroo’s hometown for cheeseburgers and crisp tater tots served in a 1950’s-style diner with checkerboard floors, and walls decked out in collectibles.

1001 Hillsboro Blvd
Manchester, TN 37355

18. High Point Restaurant

224 Main St, Monteagle, TN 37356
High Point/Facebook

Lots of people make the journey to Monteagle for this destination restaurant, located inside a historic 1929 mansion with a storied Al Capone history. The 1929 mansion with original hardwood flooring and authentic light fixtures, presumably financed by Al Capone, was put on the National Register of Historic Places in December of 1997. The three-story compound once had escape hatches on the roof and underground tunnels in the basement used by Capone for the transferring of liquor in the twenties and early thirties. Local legend reveals tales of Capone and John Dillinger lounging outside on the mountain stone patio having drinks and playing numerous hands of cards.

224 Main St
Monteagle, TN 37356

Related Maps