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Maddie Teren/Bare Bones Butcher

Where to Eat in The Nations

Head to the west side of town and find yourself in the Nations — a neighborhood exploding with newness. 

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It’s hard to imagine a time when The Nations wasn’t bursting with eateries, bars, breweries, and coffee shops. As more folks have moved in, restaurants have quickly followed. These days, you can’t walk a block down 51st Avenue without stumbling upon somewhere to eat. Despite its small size, the growing neighborhood boasts a culinary lineup that rivals other pockets of town — without the heavy tourist traffic. Locals make up the majority of the clientele at these neighborhood haunts, but out-of-towners won’t feel out of place. Everyone is invited to enjoy a bite or a beer in the Nations.

Most of these eateries err on the side of casual, so come as you are.

*Map is not ranked; it is listed alphabetically

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51 North Taproom

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Much like its sister restaurant, 12 South Taproom and Grill, this neighborhood taproom focuses on craft beer and elevates taproom-style eats with fresh ingredients. Beer-lovers enjoy the 100+ beers available, and wine and craft cocktails mean there is something for everyone. Snag a seat on the patio when the weather is warm.

51st Deli

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51st Deli flies under the radar and those who have experienced all it has to offer would prefer to keep it that way. Housed in the space formerly home to Savemore Super Market, the deli specializes in hot and cold sandwiches and also serves a well-rounded menu of all-day breakfast, salads (from chicken salad to ceviche), tacos, and burgers. Good luck trying to keep this well-kept secret to yourself. 

Bare Bones Butcher

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First and foremost a butcher shop, Bare Bones Butcher focuses on dry-aged beef, heritage breed pork, and local eggs and dairy. The old-school-style butcher sells quality cuts alongside cheeses and pantry products to take home; there is also a small menu of meaty dishes to enjoy on the spot. Cheeseburgers, sausages, beef-fat fried potatoes, and a messy meatball sub are a few of the tempting choices.

Maddie Teren/Bare Bones Butcher

Big Bad Breakfast-Nashville

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Breakfast just got better (and bigger and badder). From James Beard Award-winning chef John Currence, Big Bad Breakfast is an Oxford, Mississippi-born restaurant that recently made its debut in the Nation’s with a menu full of breakfast staples served throughout lunchtime. Don’t be surprised if eating pancakes for lunch becomes a habit.

Sam Angel / Eater Nashville

Coco's Italian Market

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Much-loved for its simplicity and grab-and-go pizzas, Coco’s is part restaurant and part market with Italian roots and a casual atmosphere. Here, family recipes are used to make a range of dishes and they are particularly proud of homemade meatballs. Try them on the meatball pizza, served on a sub, or tossed with fettuccine and marinara sauce. On Wednesday, bottles of wine are half-priced.   

Daddy's Dogs

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Daddy’s Dogs is an eatery fully committed to gourmet hot dogs and gourmet hot dogs only (unless you count the four available sides). Traditionalists will likely gravitate towards the dog topped with ketchup, mustard, and relish — but the topping options don’t stop there. The hometown favorite comes topped with bacon, cheddar, cheese, onion, and barbecue sauce.

Frothy Monkey

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Frothy Monkey is best known for its lunchtime eats and all-day breakfast, but it delights day and night. Tables can be hard to come by in the mornings and afternoons, as diners set up with their laptops and tend to stay awhile. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. (when the crowd begins to wane) with a nighttime-only menu. Burgers and shrimp and grits replace biscuits and gravy and omelets as top offerings. The restaurant itself is beautiful — with high ceilings, wood floors, and nods to the building’s industrial bones. 

Eater Nashville

La Juquilita

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A local favorite and repeat mention on the Essential 38 list, this unassuming taqueria is terrific. Expect homemade dishes with simple flavors and ingredients, and fill up on tacos, tortas, empanadas, and burritos for less than ten bucks. It is no surprise that the no-frills family establishment only takes cash and doesn’t serve booze. Plan accordingly.

Nicky's Coal Fired

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In the case of this Nation’s favorite, it is both the food and the atmosphere that contribute to its popularity. The menu is primarily pasta and coal-fired pizza, plus snacks and a daily catch and a daily cut. Pizzas are coated in a red or white sauce before being topped with surprising combinations of meat, seasonal veggies, and cheese. Brunch is also served on Nicky’s on the weekends. 

Danielle Atkins/Nicky’s

The Café at Thistle Farms

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If you’ve heard of Thistle Farms, you are familiar with their mission to heal, empower, and employ women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. At The Café, teacups hang from the ceiling and the menu showcases familiar favorites — a breakfast biscuit, chicken salad, turkey sandwich, and pot pie. The space is sweet, and the food is comforting. 

Nations Bar and Grill

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It’s a laid-back vibe that has made The Nations Bar & Grille a go-to in the neighborhood for weeknight and weekend hangs. Cold beers pair perfectly with easy eats, and both suit the cast of regulars who frequent the local joint. Dishes favored by repeat customers included the soft-baked pretzel, chicken tenders with a side of tots, a simple burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle, and the jerk chicken cobb salad. 

Eater Nashville/Submitted

51 North Taproom

Much like its sister restaurant, 12 South Taproom and Grill, this neighborhood taproom focuses on craft beer and elevates taproom-style eats with fresh ingredients. Beer-lovers enjoy the 100+ beers available, and wine and craft cocktails mean there is something for everyone. Snag a seat on the patio when the weather is warm.

51st Deli

51st Deli flies under the radar and those who have experienced all it has to offer would prefer to keep it that way. Housed in the space formerly home to Savemore Super Market, the deli specializes in hot and cold sandwiches and also serves a well-rounded menu of all-day breakfast, salads (from chicken salad to ceviche), tacos, and burgers. Good luck trying to keep this well-kept secret to yourself. 

Bare Bones Butcher

First and foremost a butcher shop, Bare Bones Butcher focuses on dry-aged beef, heritage breed pork, and local eggs and dairy. The old-school-style butcher sells quality cuts alongside cheeses and pantry products to take home; there is also a small menu of meaty dishes to enjoy on the spot. Cheeseburgers, sausages, beef-fat fried potatoes, and a messy meatball sub are a few of the tempting choices.

Maddie Teren/Bare Bones Butcher

Big Bad Breakfast-Nashville

Breakfast just got better (and bigger and badder). From James Beard Award-winning chef John Currence, Big Bad Breakfast is an Oxford, Mississippi-born restaurant that recently made its debut in the Nation’s with a menu full of breakfast staples served throughout lunchtime. Don’t be surprised if eating pancakes for lunch becomes a habit.

Sam Angel / Eater Nashville

Coco's Italian Market

Much-loved for its simplicity and grab-and-go pizzas, Coco’s is part restaurant and part market with Italian roots and a casual atmosphere. Here, family recipes are used to make a range of dishes and they are particularly proud of homemade meatballs. Try them on the meatball pizza, served on a sub, or tossed with fettuccine and marinara sauce. On Wednesday, bottles of wine are half-priced.   

Daddy's Dogs

Daddy’s Dogs is an eatery fully committed to gourmet hot dogs and gourmet hot dogs only (unless you count the four available sides). Traditionalists will likely gravitate towards the dog topped with ketchup, mustard, and relish — but the topping options don’t stop there. The hometown favorite comes topped with bacon, cheddar, cheese, onion, and barbecue sauce.

Frothy Monkey

Frothy Monkey is best known for its lunchtime eats and all-day breakfast, but it delights day and night. Tables can be hard to come by in the mornings and afternoons, as diners set up with their laptops and tend to stay awhile. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. (when the crowd begins to wane) with a nighttime-only menu. Burgers and shrimp and grits replace biscuits and gravy and omelets as top offerings. The restaurant itself is beautiful — with high ceilings, wood floors, and nods to the building’s industrial bones. 

Eater Nashville

La Juquilita

A local favorite and repeat mention on the Essential 38 list, this unassuming taqueria is terrific. Expect homemade dishes with simple flavors and ingredients, and fill up on tacos, tortas, empanadas, and burritos for less than ten bucks. It is no surprise that the no-frills family establishment only takes cash and doesn’t serve booze. Plan accordingly.

Nicky's Coal Fired

In the case of this Nation’s favorite, it is both the food and the atmosphere that contribute to its popularity. The menu is primarily pasta and coal-fired pizza, plus snacks and a daily catch and a daily cut. Pizzas are coated in a red or white sauce before being topped with surprising combinations of meat, seasonal veggies, and cheese. Brunch is also served on Nicky’s on the weekends. 

Danielle Atkins/Nicky’s

The Café at Thistle Farms

If you’ve heard of Thistle Farms, you are familiar with their mission to heal, empower, and employ women survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. At The Café, teacups hang from the ceiling and the menu showcases familiar favorites — a breakfast biscuit, chicken salad, turkey sandwich, and pot pie. The space is sweet, and the food is comforting. 

Nations Bar and Grill

It’s a laid-back vibe that has made The Nations Bar & Grille a go-to in the neighborhood for weeknight and weekend hangs. Cold beers pair perfectly with easy eats, and both suit the cast of regulars who frequent the local joint. Dishes favored by repeat customers included the soft-baked pretzel, chicken tenders with a side of tots, a simple burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle, and the jerk chicken cobb salad. 

Eater Nashville/Submitted

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