If you’ve lived in Nashville for a bit, you’re well aware of our restaurant scene’s growth — it’s gone “boom,” Food & Wine magazine said last year. Which is great, but unless you’re going out to eat every other night, it starts to get a little hard to keep up with all the delicious things.
All the more reason we’re particularly excited to hit an event like Tennessee Flavors, an annual tasting fest that puts a spotlight on local food and drink-makers, while giving local food lovers a chance to sample dozens of those folks’ creations in one night.
This year’s fifth annual Tennessee Flavors — set for 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8 — brings out more than 75 purveyors from just about every corner of the culinary world, and every corner of Nashville (and Franklin, for good measure). In that sense, you’re not only getting to explore the breadth of flavors here, but the micro-food scene all around our area.
If you’re looking for a new place to live and you’re, say, really food obsessed, this event may help you narrow down the right place in Middle Tennessee to set roots. (And once you know where you’re looking, we’re always here to help you find the perfect place — just give us a call or drop us an email.)
To give a sense of what you’ll get to try at Tennessee Flavors, we picked out some of our favorite participants and organized by some of the strongly represented neighborhoods. We think that maybe gives a little insight into some particular areas’ food microcosms.
If all this inspires you to attend, tickets run $53.49–$174.24 (from standard tasting to VIP), and are on sale now. The event is held on the main campus of Nashville State Community College out in West Nashville (which is definitely experiencing a particular food-scene boost of late).
Around Nashville and Franklin at Tennessee Flavors
303 Demonbreun St., Nashville
Longtime Nashvillians were waiting excitedly for this place to open, since it’s led by chef/owner Deb Paquette, of one of the city’s most-missed restaurants, Zola. The menu is globally inspired fine dining (tasty dessert pictured above), and it earns accolades in and well beyond Nashville.
Trattoria Il Mulino
144 Fifth Ave. S., Nashville
Technically chain Italian food (with other locations from New York to Orlando), but definitely not the Olive Garden kind — you can grab grilled octopus, from-scratch black ink fettuccine and wood-fired pizza and the like.
Margot Café & Bar
1017 Woodland St., Nashville
One of the pace-setters for East Nashville’s fine dining scene, Margot leans French and Italian, and remarkably delicious (see photographic evidence above).
Nicoletto’s Pasta Co.
(Coming soon) 2905A Gallatin Pike, Nashville
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Nicoletto’s Pasta Co. are newbies, in a sense — their Nicoletto’s Italian Kitchen isn’t open yet, but should be soon. Meantime they’ve been selling their fresh pasta at farmers markets around the city and earning a devoted fanbase.
408 Main St., Franklin
Respected local chef Jason McConnell’s (above) flagship, serving sophisticated Southern food.
403 Main St., Franklin
Another upscale Southern spot from McConnell, with a focus on bayou flavors.
Cork & Cow
408 Main St., Franklin
Another (newer) McConnell creation, with a focus on steak, seafood and an extensive wine list. (You may be seeing a McConnell trend here — he’s just about Franklin food royalty, at this point.)
Christie Cookie Co.
1205 3rd Ave N., Nashville
A sweets classic and a famous Nashville original (pictured above) — you can snag their delicious treats at the Christie HQ in Germantown or any time you check into a Double Tree hotel. Yup, those warm gifts to a weary traveler are Nashville-born.
1200 Fifth Ave. N., Nashville
A great place to get refined but unfussy classics, from meatloaf to crab cakes.
1222 4th Ave N, Nashville
All-around incredible pizza, pasta, cocktails and more from a kitchen led by James Beard Award-nominated chef Tandy Wilson.
507 12th Ave. S., Nashville
One of the first names in fine dining to join The Gulch (their beautiful work pictured above), and still one of the most consistent choices if you’re looking for seasonal, Southern-inspired food worthy of a celebratory night.
Moto Cucina + Enoteca
120 McGavock Street, Nashville
Moto serves a sophisticatedly modern but still authentically rustic take on Italian cuisine that’s quickly made the place a big hit in the busy Gulch.
1120 McGavock St., Nashville
The spot you might want to beeline to when you’re looking for creative/fresh Mexican food and, especially, tequila and/or mezcal (over 120 labels in the house).
For the full list of Tennessee Flavors participants (and more info), visit TNFlavors.org.