We have come to the end of our "Home Turf" series, and we're finishing things up in Nashville, Tenn.
Past turfs we visited:
Unlike Chris, I can't say that I've been to the Music City. I know, it's embarrassing. But my day is coming very, very soon, so I was pretty excited to read about all the hot spots in town from the Vanderbilt faithful. Like James Franklin's first year in the SEC, you guys didn't disappoint:
Craig in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., writes: I grew up in Nashville, going to Vandy football, baseball, and basketball games. There are more than a few must see places while visiting Nashville. Some of the best restaurants include Rotiers, which is right across the street from Vandy. Best burgers in Nashville. Ellington Place Soda Shop is right down the road and has the best root beer floats and milk shakes. There is a small walk up BBQ place on the West side of Centennial Park, which is directly across West End Ave. from Vandy, called Hog Heaven......best pulled pork around. Always good to hit up Logans Happy hour before a basketball game, lots of VU fans there. For Football taking a walk thru Vandyville prior to the game is a must. This is the Tailgate area for true Vandy fans. Live music, and other Vandy teams tailgating next to you. They have a big screen for everyone to watch the early games prior to following the band to the Star Walk. For after game festivities hit up downtown....2nd avenue and Broadway. Or take a short trip over to music row. Lots to do in Nashville, so it will take multiple trips to take it all in.
My thoughts: Reading barbecue and milk shakes right next to each other literally made my mouth water. I thank you.
Kelly in Nashville writes: Tips for a road trip to Nashville (Vandy): Nashville is great because it has districts, not necessarily destinations. Below is a quick guide of districts and what you will find. The first will be closest to Vandy and the distance is further as the list continues. You can Google these to find the locations. The only rule is DO NOT go to a chain restaurant or bar. There are too many other better options: 1. West End - College kid dives, family friendly, the best independent restaurants in town. 2. Midtown - 20 somethings dives and restaurants. Best place to barhop. Few covers, so walk in them all. 3. Downtown - Tourists, country music, bars, best people watching. Have to drop in Tootsie's after 10:00 pm if your first time in town.4. The Gulch - Chic, higher end bars and restaurants. Try Whiskey Kitchen. 5. Five Points - Center of East Nashville. Hipsters. Good bars and casual eating. Try Jenni's Ice Cream. 6. Hillsboro Village - Hipster academia crowd. Fido's has great food and coffee. McDougal's is best chicken fingers in town. 7. Green Hills - If you have a woman in her 30's to 80's, this is where she wants to go shopping. Guys, hang out at Crow's Nest. 8. Franklin - If you have time, this is a good place to hang out for a day. Historic, good eats, very family friendly. Very pretty town.
My thoughts: You should be a travel agent.
Vlad in Asheville, N.C., writes: Regarding Nashville...Go to Rotier's, a hole-in-the-wall joint just a half-block from campus. It's been a Vandy favorite for decades. The beer is cold and the cheeseburger on French bread is awesome. For dessert, order the vanilla milkshake--it's off the menu. San Antonio Taco Co. next to campus has been around since the '80s and has excellent Tex-Mex. Another Nashville institution is Pancake Pantry in Hillsboro Village, adjacent to campus. The lines are long, but the portions are plentiful. If you want an away-from-campus adventure, go to Loveless Cafe (out Hwy 100 west of town) for breakfast or fried chicken. Or, Prince's Hot Chicken north of downtown. So hot, but so good. Top off your evening with a trip to the Station Inn, America's best bluegrass emporium, near downtown in the Gulch.
Connie in Nashville writes: Nashville is an amazing food destination! If all you do is eat at chain restaurants while you're there, you will be missing out. If you want to stay near Vandy, you can start your day at the Pancake Pantry in Hillsboro Village. If the line (and there will be a line) freaks you out, there are lots of other great breakfast options in the neighborhood, including Provence and Fido. For lunch, a fun thing to do is head over to Centennial Park and get picnic food from Hog Heaven. I recommend the chicken with the white sauce. For dinner, you can either go highfalutin (Tin Angel on West End Ave.) or casual (Calypso Cafe on Elliston Place). If you want to venture farther afield, take a trip across the river to East Nashville. There are too many great restaurants there to mention, but if you go to Five Points, there are several great sports bar type places--Beyond the Edge, Battered and Fried--as well as several other amazing restaurants--Margot is my favorite, though pricey.
John in Nashville writes: Nashville is a totally different scale of adventure from the other SEC home cities. Everything is squared in scope. Go for more than the weekend if you can. Around the campus I would suggest Bricktops for a nice dinner, the grilled cheeseburger at Rotier's, Elliston Place Soda Shop, and San Antonio Taco Co- but there is so much stuff in the area you can suit any whim or food style. As Chris says a walk from the Peabody Commons Area through the main campus to the stadium with the leaves changing in the Fall is not to be missed. The Campus is designated as a National Arboretum for its trees. One thing not to miss is a "killer" breakfast. The Pancake Pantry is crowded on the weekends but great. If you get away to Monell's near the Capital or Loveless Motel a ways out of town on Hwy 100 you may expire of overkill Southern breakfast but die happy.
Remy in Atlanta writes: I no longer live there, and am a die hard Bama fan, but I previously lived in Nashville and loved it there. The greatest thing about the city is the sheer number of options for quality free music. There are free open mic nights all over town (one of the best happens at the various locations of Puckett's Groceries). If that isn't your thing, you can go walk down Broadway to The Stage, Tootsies Lounge, Whiskey Bent, the Orchid Lounge and many, many others for a great night of listening. Also, the Blue Bird Cafe is an absolutely magical place where you can see amazing live music and get a great meal for a good price. Finally, if you like southern cooking and family style dining, Monell's is a cant miss!!
Christian in Nashville writes: Welcome to Nashville!! There's much more here than country music and the downtown bars. For a great meal, try Tin Angel on West End. It's within walking distance of the stadium and all of campus--a little pricey, but still casual and worth every penny! For an upscale bar, check out Patterson House in the Midtown area--also walkable from campus. Modeled after a NYC speakeasy, the drinks will set you back $11 each, but they're worth it! Where else can you watch a bartender in old-fashioned garb crack a raw egg over a drink mixed with house-made elixirs? Be sure to walk through the main part of campus before the game--it feels more historic and I think is just as pretty as the Commons! While we haven't quite caught up with the rest of the SEC in terms of the number of tailgaters, Vandyville (the pre-game activities outside the stadium) is getting better and better each year and is very family-friendly!
My thoughts: Raw egg in spirits? Whoa ...
Christopher in Birmingham, Ala., writes: I was a freshman at Vanderbilt in 1994 and Nashville has changed quite a bit. I would have to say two of the best things about Nashville [other than Vanderbilt athletics] are the Nashville Arcade and the "I Dream of Weenie" hot dog stand in east Nashville.
My thoughts: Sounds like two good combinations to me.
David in Philadelphia writes: I come from a Philadelphia, where the sports bar is an art form. But the best sports bar I have ever been to is Sam's Sports Grill, right off of Vanderbilt's campus. Cheap beer, great food, and an awesome vibe to take in any game. For both Saturday's and Sunday's in the fall, get there early because the place will be packed.
Alex in Nashville writes: Other than the delicious Monell's (family style gorge yourself southern food), San Antonio Taco Co. (otherwise known as Satco), and Rotier's (old diner close to campus with a tasty burger on french bread) I would suggest sampling a specialty known to few outside of Nashville: hot chicken. Prince's, 400 Degrees, Pepperfire, all the above are delicious choices that will have your mouth on fire. You may think you like hot food, but think twice before ordering "hot" at one of these joints. I can assure you that medium will suffice. As always, the bars on Broadway are a must the night after the game. Rippy's, The Stage, and Paradise Park are my favorites, but you can't go wrong with all the bars and great live music around. Have fun, but don't be surprised if your night downtown is bittersweet because of the devastating loss earlier that day at Vanderbilt stadium.