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This is the place to stay if you are looking for a unique, authentic experience. The East Park Inn is a gorgeous, lovingly restored Victorian era mansion located in the middle of a neighborhood in East Nashville that is filled with such beautiful houses. You could kill a day just walking around looking at gardens and architecture, but it's also located within walking distance of the great bars and restaurants in the 5 Points area.
The house itself is run by Brooks Parker and his two friendly dogs. It has two guest rooms--one with a double bed and one suite that has a queen-sized bed and two adjoining rooms with pairs of single beds that would be perfect for a family. The rooms are crammed full of antique furniture, one-of-a-kid works of art, and a classy, casual charm. There's also a private patio with a cottage-style garden, two beautiful sitting rooms, and a kitchen that is open for guests to use at their convenience.
Most of the guests of the East Park Inn come as referrals or because they painstakingly researched to find a unique Bed & Breakfast style experience. Don't expect to be waited on hand and foot or to receive the cold courtesy of a chain hotel. Being a guest at East Park Inn is more like staying with a hospitable, cultured, distant relation when you're visiting Nashville from out of town. If you stay here, make sure to pack your manners, a love of dogs, and your best dinner conversation.
Whether you call it soul food or a Meat n' Three, Cafe Monell's will leave you with a full belly and a smile on your face- and that's all that really matters, isn't it? An offshoot of Monell's Catering, Cafe Monell's serves a limited menu of main dish specials that rotate daily, but they ALWAYS have fried chicken. And they know what they're doing with a bird. The breast I got was so fat and juicy that I ended up with a line of red lipstick on my chin from where I had to fold my mouth open like boa constrictor swallowing a goat in order to fit my lips around all the crispy, juicy goodness. The mac n' cheese was good enough to make a resigned old noodle hater repent of his sinful ways. The fruit tea is SERIOUS BUSINESS but in an oh-so-good way.
A seriously filling meal will run you about $12, so it's not the cheapest meat n' three, but you get the quality you pay for, and I promise, you will NOT go hungry.
TIP: Don't wear red lipstick if you're gonna get the fried chicken.
Also, it's always super busy during lunch time, so if you circle the block and can't find parking, you can always park in the Applebee's shopping center on Nolensville Rd and walk through the back of the parking lot.
If you're making a tour of bbq places in TN, Martin's needs to be on your list. Worth driving 30 minutes for on a Saturday, Martins offers some of the best smoked meat in Middle Tennessee. Their meats are juicy and flavorful with just the right amout of smokiness, and their sauces walk the line perfectly between tangy, spicy, and sweet. My only gripe is with their coleslaw, which isn't terrible, but is a fairly mediocre mayonnaise blend with a one note sweetness. Other than that, all their side dishes are great- especially the baked beans, which are some of the best I've ever eaten. They also know how to make a mean glass of sweet tea.
They've moved into a new building that looks rather like a chain restaurant--what with all the kitsch in the walls--but it's still the same delicious smoked meats they've been serving for years.
This restaurant features locally-sourced farm-to-table cuisine with a menu that varies weekly. The service was great. The wait wasn't too bad, even in the middle of Sunday brunch, and our waitress was friendly and on top of things. The food was also very fresh- you could tell that everything was made from scratch. Although most of the dishes were great, the flavors weren't always well balanced.
I had smoked salmon crepes with Bechamel sauce and my boyfriend dined on scrambled egg hash with a side of bacon. The crepes were perfectly cooked- thin and light with just the right balance of eggy toothiness and crisp. I was underwhelmed by the hash and thought it had too much corn in it, but the bacon was fatty, crispy, chewy, and amazing.
By far the best thing we had was the peaches with ricotta and honey toast appetizer. The peaches were super fresh and sweet with just a hint of tartness, the bread wash fresh and crusty and slightly nutty, and I don't know what kind of honey they used but I was literally licking the plate to get every last bit. They sell local varieties of honey in the store, so I bought some.
Overall, it was a decent dining experience and the price was reasonable.They offer a good alternative to the heavy brunch fare that most places offer. I'll probably come again.
Some luxury hotels can be so stuffy that you can't relax- but not the Loews Vanderbilt. Friendly elegance is the way I would describe it. The staff are so friendly and nice that you feel very relaxed, even in such elegant surroundings. For instance, in the middle of the marble and granite lobby with soaring ceilings there is a jukebox- filled only with the songs of artists who have stayed at the hotel- that is free for guests to pick out a few songs and pipe them through the lobby. It's those kinds of fun touches that really set the Loews apart.
They are pet and kid friendly- I saw a happy family heading to their room with their shih tzu while I was there- and even have room service menus for your furry friends!
The rooms have thoughtful touches like comfy robes, a safe that is actually big enough to fit your laptop in, and a full coffee bar.
I've got to say, I was really impressed with the Loews Vanderbilt. They've got more than just the luxurious decor of a world class hotel- they've got the warm, courteous service that really makes for a pleasant stay.
TIP: There's no pool, but you can get a guest pass to the Centennial Sportsplex which is right around the corner if you want to go swimming.
The moment you walk in the door the aroma of spices and savory dishes will have your mouth watering. The Smiling Elephant offers a wide variety of pork, chicken, seafood, and vegan dishes with gluten free options for most menu items. The service is fast and super friendly-- you'll have trouble getting out the door without everyone thanking you and telling you goodbye.
TIP: Their dining area is notoriously tiny, so unless you're there during off hours, most people order it to go and eat somewhere else- maybe in Sevier Park a few blocks away on 12th Ave.
Open 24-hours, this little gem has the BEST bread pudding in the country, and this is coming from a bread pudding connoisseur who has sampled the best the country has to offer from New Orleans, Louisiana to Birmingham, Alabama! They also have amazingly delicious diner-style breakfasts with pancakes that float off the plate and smack you in your stomach, euphoria-inducing freshly baked pies, and one of the best shrimp cocktails on Freemont Street. And all for a low price that makes the smallest dent possible in your gambling budget.
If you're looking for a break from the typical Freemont food that oscillates between wallet-worrying fancy fare and stomach murdering deep-fried junk, Du-Par's can't be beat, especially if you're trying to cure a hangover. I eat here as often as possible when I'm on Freemont Street.