Every community has a local favorite: a one-of-a-kind place where locals gather for a special dish, a certain atmosphere, or a chance to catch up with friends and neighbors over good food.
Like the folks on that television classic "Cheers," we all like to stop at a place "where everybody knows your name." Those local favorites have become more than restaurants. They are extensions of home, where someone is always glad you stopped by. That's just how Tennessee's own Cracker Barrel got started.
The interstate system was young, in the late 1960s, when Dan Evins cogitated on how to keep the real flavor of America available to folks on the road. To Evins, mealtime was that connection between the comfort of made-from-scratch food and time to enjoy catching up--with family, with friends or just with your own thoughts. That first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store opened in 1969 on the outskirts of Lebanon. Standards were firm: cornbread came from cornmeal, not a mix; prices could not "break" people; and, fortunately, the people who worked there made sure a trip to Cracker Barrel was like a friendly visit to a neighbor's home. Soon, people were lined up for turnip greens, biscuits and gravy and the good things served at Cracker Barrel.
Local favorites keep people coming back. Ruby Tuesday was founded on the campus of the University of Tennessee by Sandy Beall, who had a vision of food and drinks handcrafted, made fresh with quality ingredients and full of flavor, served by friendly people.
Not all local favorites have grown to cover the state. Many remain what they have always been: a neighborhood eatery with a reputation for good food and friendly service.
Capture vintage classic at Memphis' Arcade Restaurant, located in the middle of the historic district. Charming Fountain City, in North Knoxville, sees Litton's Market, Restaurant & Bakery spin platters of mouth-watering burgers, chili dogs, key lime pie, red velvet cake and more, while locals gather in a back room to discuss "the truth according to Litton's." An institution in Nashville, Monell's family-style hospitality serves up the finest fried chicken, cornbread, green beans, sweet tea, catfish--and the desserts are something else.
Hagy's Catfish Hotel
This restaurant, on the banks of the beautiful Tennessee River, has been run by generations of the Hagy family and is one of the oldest family- owned restaurants in the country. Step inside to learn more about Mr. ...more
Hard Rock Cafe Memphis
Located on historic Beale Street in the heart of the downtown entertainment district in Memphis, home of the blues and the birthplace of rock 'n roll. Sunday-Thursday 11 am-10 pm; Friday-Saturday 11 am-1 am. ...more
Inspired by yesterday’s diners… soda fountains, good food and memories of simpler times. You will feel at home while savoring a great meal – at a reasonable price – in a clean, warm and inviting atmosphere. ...more
Owner Helen Turner is one of only a few female pit cooks in the country; she smokes pork shoulders on site and serves them with her famous sauce. Unexpected live music performances have occurred here throughout the years, including a now-famous jam session with bluesman and Brownsville native Yank Rachell in 1996, just months before his death. ...more
Henpeck Village Market
Featured in Southern Living Magazine, Henpeck Market was described as "It's that good. " With the motto, "Simply Live Life," Henpeck Market is a gas station, a grocery store, a live bluegrass venue, and a cafe, serving the finest possible versions of classic mid-south albeit gourmet fare. ...more
Hillbilly Willys Bar-B-Q
The best in fall-off-the bone, Memphis-style barbeque, with hand-pulled pork, beef, chicken, ribs, burgers, and made-from-scratch desserts like derby pie, hillbilly pie, Coke cake, and banana puddin' that's the real deal. ...more
Hilton's Jacks Creek Bar-B-Q
Traditional Chester County BBQ has been served on this corner as far back as locals can remember. This unassuming spot has even been featured in Southern Living magazine. ...more
Historic Thomas Drugs
Old-fashioned 1915 drugstore with operating soda fountain offers a variety of medicinal and prescription goods, arts, crafts and gifts. Stop by the old-fashioned soda fountain and have a lunch of homemade sandwiches, salads, floats, sodas and desserts. ...more