Nashville Food - Quarantine Edition
By: Ashley Kuk
For 4th of July, I was lucky enough to be able to visit my boyfriend in Music City, USA - Nashville, TN. Known for the countless country musicians who got their start there and for the neon lights of bars and clubs lining the streets of downtown Nashville, the city was lively and bright - despite an ongoing pandemic. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I was desperate to get my hands on a variety of meals from the restaurants that Nashville had to offer. Luckily for me, and my stomach, my boyfriend was more than willing to take me to find 5 great locations that provide top quality food for the socially distancing.
1. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned - a phrase that rings true when it comes to the birth of hot chicken itself. Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack is the OG hot chicken place, created by Thornton Prince after his lover tried punishing him for his womanizing ways with fried chicken loaded with hot pepper. Nearly 100 years later, the same recipe is still used, boasting 7 levels of spice - ranging from plain fried chicken to XXX Hot, depending on your preference. The mild heat level is definitely the way to go if you don’t handle spice that well but are still looking for some of that kick! If you’re coming to Nashville, Prince’s is a must-have.
2. Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Nashville, eat as much hot chicken as possible. Hattie B’s was the next stop on our Quarantine food trip. Founded in 2012, Hattie B’s is still relatively new to the hot chicken game but is already high up in the rankings. The spices are a bit lower in heat than Prince’s but the high quality and juiciness of the chicken makes up for it tenfold. Their fieriest heat level, Shut the Cluck Up!, is not for the faint of heart - but you can wash it down with the beer drafts they have from local brewers or follow it with their banana pudding, a local favorite.
3. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
If you’re looking to nurse a spicy tongue or simply to get your sugar fix, Jeni’s is definitely the way to go. Their ice cream is made from whole ingredients and dairy from grass-pastured cows - no synthetic flavors at all. Jeni’s also is a green company - 95% of everything you can buy in their stores is reusable, recyclable or compostable! The ice cream itself was smooth and creamy; perfect for a warm day in Nashville.
4. First Watch - The Daytime Cafe
We couldn’t eat only hot chicken the entire time so one morning, we decided to check out a brunch place that my boyfriend frequented when he was home in Tennessee. I have two words when it comes to describing First Watch - Yes. Please. I ordered their multigrain chocolate chip pancakes with a side of hashbrowns and their famous Million Dollar Bacon, and it was probably the best brunch I have ever had. The pancakes themselves are as large as a dinner plate and were oozing chocolate from the chocolate chips. The Million Dollar Bacon, on the other hand, was unbelievably delicious. 4 thick slabs of hardwood smoked bacon drizzled with maple syrup, brown sugar, cayenne and black pepper…. Pure bliss. 10/10 would order again.
5. MAFIAoZA’s Pizzeria and Neighborhood Pub
If you know me, you know that I absolutely love Italian food and would eat pasta for every meal if I wouldn’t get tired of it. So obviously, I had to try an Italian restaurant on my Quarantine Meal Trip. MAFIAoZA’s has a very large menu with a large variety of pastas, pizzas, and salads. I ordered the Ol’ Blue Eyes and split a side of garlic bread with the boyfriend. The pasta was fantastic - cooked perfectly and paired with 4 juicy meatballs. The focaccia (which I still struggle to pronounce sometimes) was a great addition to an already great meal.
A global pandemic is an insane thing to be living through right now and it’s completely changed how many of us live our lives. But luckily, restaurants have begun adapting to continue serving phenomenal food and helping people create great memories over their meals. Take a minute and enjoy the little things - especially when you’re in Nashville, and the world is your hot chicken basket!