Nashville. Music City. The Athens of the South. This Tennessee town may have built its reputation based on the simple stereotypes that tourists seek out on TV, but in our Nashville, we follow the trends while honoring the traditions that built this spot into the legacy it’s created. Each week, we focus on the latest gallivant around the streets we’ve come to call home for a new adventure and give readers an inside look on what makes this city special. Join us as we chronicle the hilarious and wild experiences with KB in the City.
The way to anyone’s heart is definitely through their stomach…it goes something like that, right?
Regardless of the yummy cliché, when visitors from around the world find themselves traveling to Nashville, they’re about to embark on not only a music mecca but also a food capital on the rise. Celebrity chefs and top-star restaurants constantly pop up throughout the boroughs of Music City, making it one of the places to gain about five pounds in a matter of days thanks to every delectable plate.
Walk Eat Nashville, a culinary walking tour of the city, provides the fast-forward look on the Music City food industry, as created by Karen-Lee Ryan just a handful of years ago. Her mission, just as that of Nashville, is to combine the three big C’s for an experience unique to the town itself:
Creation. Collaboration. Celebrity.
Taking those notions into account, Ryan led the intimate group of visitors to five notable locations in the vibrant SoBro area of downtown. With each tasting came a different food oasis separating itself from its competitors while still embracing the local community with its Southern spices and trendy tastes.
The first stop led the tour to none other than the bright lights of Broadway, but the honkytonk in mind landed us at Acme Feed and Seed. While the historic building hosts live music and greasy bar food galore, its second floor transforms into a sushi bar surprisingly enough and rolls with the freshest fish flown in from the coast. A sushi boat floated its way onto the long-lined coffee table, filled with sailors known as tuna, ahi, salmon and the rest of the familiar Japanese crew. Edamame, salted and cooked to crispness, countered the Asian-infused flavors, providing an unexpected kick of color in a predominantly fried neighborhood.
From one international cuisine to the next, we walked a few blocks off the main strip for some tacos and tequila at Bakersfield. Swearing by their authentic recipes made fresh daily, the chef whipped up the pairing of a short rib taco with a shot of the house margarita. The juiciness from the tender meat found myself reminiscent of California street tacos from home while the margarita zing of lime elevated the Mexican food experience to a muy delicioso level.
One quality Nashville embraces lies within its support of locally-sourced products. The closer to home everything is, the more the community accepts what is being made. Enter The Farm House, tucked away from the chaos of downtown in a homey, quaint space on Almond Street. Boasting their mission upon their resources coming mostly from Nashville and in rare cases, from the U.S., chef Trey Cioccia specialized in creating art with his plates.
Every day, the menu changes due to what ingredients are in season and readily available to create culinary masterpieces; our tour experienced a small plate of andouille sausage with a seasoned potato and a brush of housemade mustard. Not only did the flavors of spicy and hearty pair together as a colorful arrangement upon each bite, but the dish itself looked beautiful with its painting of mustard yellow edging the hand-crafted bowl.
It’s no surprise that one stop on the Walk Eat Nashville tour embodied Southern tradition, and that restaurant happened to be Husk. Located in an old historic house near where Captain Ryman lived, the food haven offered guests a nibble of pimento cheese and Cayenne-dusted deviled eggs. A grand tour was given by a manager on hand, showing off the “ham closet” aging the hanging meats before refreshing ourselves with a ‘Before the Storm’ mocktail similar to that of a New Orleans mint julep.
The best stop was saved for last as the tour got a sweet, sweet taste of Nashville’s finest tradition: the Goo Goo Cluster. Dubbed as the original Southern treat, a glob of caramel, peanuts and marshmallow nougat covered in a hardened chocolate coating takes tasters to candy paradise. Known as the first combination candy bar and made on the outskirts of Nashville, the nutty-meets-chewy quality just tastes like home for all those chocolate lovers out there.
The Goo Goo store also hosts its own dessert bar, where fans of the rich confection can try out delectable desserts infused with Goo Goo love. A top pick comes in tune with their blondie bar, which gives more of a buttery and light delight compared to its chocolate counterpart.
Although squeezing in all the gourmet and homestyle food from Nashville may seem unrealistic, Walk Eat Nashville provides the creation, collaboration and celebrity many visitors and townies love about the developing metropolis. Because a happy belly is a happy heart, or so it goes.
Walk Eat Nashville offers tours many days of the week throughout the entire year. Visitors interested in eating their way through the city can choose between the SoBro Food Tour, East Nashville Food Tour, Midtown/Vanderbilt Food Tour and the specialty Nashville Eats Tour. Ticket prices start at $58 per person and average about five to six tastings throughout a three-hour walk around the neighborhood. Tours sell out fast, so be sure to check out the Walk Eat Nashville official website to book a spot or learn more information about the tour.