The dog days aren’t over yet! Here is our checklist of places you’ll want to hit before pumpkin spice mania begins.
1. FORT LOUISE: Located in a charming Inglewood bungalow that literally prides itself on being “Cozy AF”, Fort Louise is the perfect spot to enjoy your favorite American classics—with a modern touch. Take a seat on the expansive back porch under the twinkling lights, and you’ll feel like you’re in your very own rom-com.
What to Try: The Double Fort Burger; Curry Fried Chicken Bucket; the Frozen Defiance cocktail
2. MILK & HONEY: What would a summer checklist be without a killer brunch option? If you can avoid the tourist rush (a prime time is about 2pm mid-week), a visit to this venture in the heart of the Gulch is absolutely worth your while. Don't forget to snap a photo in front of the neon “Lard have mercy” sign before you dash.
What to Try: The Avocado Toast; Hodgepodge Hash; Lavender Honey Latte
3. 5TH & TAYLOR: This Germantown staple set in a stunning renovated warehouse is almost like eating in a high museum of art. You can enjoy an intimate candlelit dinner surrounded by gorgeous paintings and sculptures; or, you can have a drink out on the sophisticated tree-lined patio. If you are feeling fancy, this is the place to be.
What to Try: Sausage-Cheddar Biscuits; the Duck'am; Ryes N'Shine Cocktail
4.ROSEPEPPER CANTINA: Everyone knows Taco Tuesday is better in the summer. This eclectic East Nashville favorite has been around since 2001, and after your first visit it's not hard to see why. If you like award-winning, authentic Mexican cuisine, you'll be a fan of Rosepepper. And if you like tequila, you'll be an even bigger fan. Take your friends during happy hour (M-F, 4-6pm) and enjoy a pitcher of Margs...or two. Vamonos!
What to Try: Buffalo White Cheese Dip; Fiesta Bowl; Margaritas (...yes, they are worth mentioning twice).
5. NICKY'S COAL FIRED: A new addition in the Nations, this Italian eatery doesn't disappoint. You'll come here for the unique oven-baked pizza offerings, but you'll leave craving their dessert creations. Plus, the bartender makes a killer Moscow Mule (and he will make you another one even if you drop and break the glass all over the floor. Don't ask me how I know).
What to Try: Orecchiette Verde; Rosemary Focaccia; literally any of the daily deserts or gelato
6. HENRIETTA RED: The relaxed, airy atmosphere of Henrietta Red will have you feeling MAJOR Miami vibes. Located right off 4th Avenue in Germantown, it boasts a gorgeous, expansive marble raw bar that adds to the coastal chic ambiance. Start there for a Green Curry Oyster or two during happy hour to "tide" you over while you peruse the diverse menu offerings. The good news is, you don't have to decide on just one thing. You and your table can order several small plates and taste a little bit of everything, before you're "three sheets to the wind"from downing their inventive cocktails (try The Crocodile). They have an AMAZING weekend brunch as well---you'll be in for "smooth sailing" with the Monkey Bread. (Ok, I promise I'm done now).
What to Try: Red Snapper Crudo (raw bar); Seared Sea Scallops; Peach Cobbler
7. THE BAND BOX: If you haven't been to a Nashville Sounds game yet, you're missing out on one of the best ways to enjoy the summer in Nashville. Located over in right field at First Tennessee Park in Germantown, you can sip on a whiskey-and -coke slushie while you play a game of cornhole, try your hand at ping-pong, or just relax on the swanky couches. The food is inspired by typical baseball concessions, but with an upscale twist. Indulge in a fancy hot-dog while you heckle the opposing team. (Pro-tip: if you get there early, you can make bets with the bartenders on whether or not the National Anthem singer will forget the words...)
What to Try: Band Box Dog; Chicken Totchos; Field of Dreamsicle Icee