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Eat the Street: Five Points

Time to eat the street!

Written by Chris Chamberlain
Eat the Street: Five Points
Courtesy of Five Points Pizza

In a town full of restaurant options, there are a few culinary hotbeds in Nashville where you can take your choice of great bars and eateries without having to hail an Uber or even take a scooter. The Five Points intersection in East Nashville is one of the most prolific of these neighborhoods with a dozen spots worth your attention spread across a two-block radius.

The geography of Five Points can be a little confusing where Woodland St., 10th St., 11th St., Clearview Ave and Main St. all collide in a triangular slice of pavement surrounding Margot Café & Bar, the linchpin of East Nashville dining. When Chef Margot McCormack opened her eponymous French bistro-inspired eatery in an old service station in 2001, there weren’t even many fast food options in the neighborhood. Her cozy restaurant with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients prepared with panache represented a real investment in the neighborhood and what it could become. Both McCormack and East Nashvillians have benefited from her bet, and diners from all over town make the trek across the river to experience her food.

Burger Up; Photo credit: Justin Chesney

Photo credit: Justin Chesney

Burger Up

Boston Commons; Photo credit: Fielder Strain

Photo Credit: Fielder Strain

Boston Commons

Boston Commons; Photo credit: Fielder Strain

Photo Credit: Fielder Strain

Boston Commons

Courtesy of Noble's Kitchen & Beer Hall

Photo Credit: Noble's Kitchen & Beer Hall

Noble's Kitchen & Beer Hall

Ribs; Photo courtesy of Drifters Tennessee BBQ Joint

Photo courtesy of Drifters Tennessee BBQ Joint

Drifters Tennessee BBQ Joint

Tofu Sandwich; Photo courtesy of Drifters Tennessee BBQ Joint

Photo courtesy of Drifters Tennessee BBQ Joint

Drifters Tennessee BBQ Joint

Photo courtesy of Beyond the Edge

Photo courtesy of Beyond the Edge

Beyond the Edge

Photo courtesy of Beyond the Edge

Photo courtesy of BoomBozz Craft Pizza & Taphouse

BoomBozz Craft Pizza & Taphouse

Photo courtesy of Beyond the Edge

Photo courtesy of BoomBozz Craft Pizza & Taphouse

Margot Cafe & Bar

Five Points Pizza Sausage and Ricotta Pizza; Photo credit: Ashley Hylbert

Photo credit: Ashley Hylbert

Five Points Pizza Sausage and Ricotta Pizza

The Treehouse; Photo credit: Mackenzie LaRoe

Photo credit: Ashley Hylbert

Five Points Pizza Sausage and Ricotta Pizza

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McCormack also owns another important eatery just around the corner, Marché Artisan Foods. Particularly popular for weekend brunches when lines stretch out the door for the chance to dine on McCormack’s European-style bistro food. The focus on breakfast and lunch fare means that the kitchen can concentrate on pastries, egg dishes, fresh-baked breads and desserts. It also means they don’t serve dinner, so get there before lunch is over.

Not all the dining options in Five Points are as elevated as McCormack’s restaurants, and neighborhood denizens are fine with that. A slice from Five Points Pizza makes for an ideal lunch or the perfect party fuel before or after a night at the clubs. They offer a convenient walk-up window so you can grab a couple pieces of their NY-style pie to go.

The Treehouse is another of those spots that makes sure that the late night crowd has a place to go when they’re feeling a little peckish. A recent ownership and chef change haven’t diminished the quality of the food at all, and you can still order a few interesting small plates to share around the table or larger dishes if you’re feeling selfish. Either way, The Treehouse is a fun place to play.

Another restaurant that recently went through some changes is Boston Commons, previously known as Batter’d & Fried Boston Seafood House. With the new name came a drastic reduction in the number of menu items so that the kitchen can focus on seafood, pasta, sushi, chowder…OK, that’s still a lot of stuff, but it’s all good! Boston Common’s owner is also the proprietor of two other nearby restaurants. Drifters Tennessee BBQ Joint serves up some pretty decent smoked meats, cooked low and slow over smoldering hickory. Paired with a cold beer or a drink from their impressive bourbon collection, it’s the best `cue in Five Points. The third leg of the small restaurant empire is Beyond the Edge, a homey sports bar that prides itself on being an all-inclusive gathering spot for the neighborhood. This openness extends to smokers, so don’t be surprised if your clothes are a little stinky after an enjoyable evening spent watching games on the 25 televisions while partaking in their excellent food, beer and drink specials. It’s a trade-off that plenty of folks are willing to make.

Another popular destination for sports viewing is Noble’s Kitchen & Beer Hall with its decadent menu of elevated bar food like pork rinds fried to order, “totchos” made by slathering tater tots with queso, bacon, sourcream and salsa or steamed sandwiches. The bar at Noble’s concentrates on local craft beers and inventive cocktails. The slightly “chainier” version of Noble’s is BoomBozz Craft Pizza & Taphouse, where the East Nashville location is one of almost a dozen spread across Tennessee, Kentucky and Indiana. In addition to some admirable award-winning pizzas, BoomBozz offers a wide variety of beers ranging from the most basic light lagers to bougie craft brews.

There’s nothing at all bougie about 3 Crow Bar, a beer-and-a-shot kinda bar right in the middle of the Five Points strip of restaurants. The good news is that the beers can be chosen from a long list of carefully curated craft brews and the shots can also be part of a well-made cocktail if you prefer. The food menu at 3 Crow is designed to go with drinking, filled with upscale bar snacks and sandwiches and some fantastic burgers made with grass-fed beef and dressed up with surprisingly elevated toppings. Another fine upscale burger joint in Five Points is the East Nashville outpost of Burger Up, a popular spot for fancy burgers made using beef sourced from a family ranch in Franklin. A bonus is that they offer 90 minutes of free parking in the lot behind the restaurant, but don’t forget to get your ticket from the machine or you might find yourself with another kind of ticket under your windshield wiper.

Finally, for a quick bite, East Nashvillagers swear by I Dream of Weenie, a neighborhood stalwart serving gourmet hot dogs out of a tiny restaurant built into a vintage VW van. The delicious toppings are available to add zing to either an all-beef or tofu dog. They even serve a special weenie brunch on Sundays if you don’t want to wait in line at Marché. But seriously, go ahead and stand in that queue; you won’t be disappointed!