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.
This legendary spot has been serving locally raised, whole-hog BBQ since 1960. Its most recent honor was being voted in the top 10 "Country's Best BBQ Joints" by Vanity Fair magazine. ...more
Set in upscale, relaxed pace sophistication, Seasons offers innovative, American bistro-style cuisine. The menu is influenced by classical cooking techniques and seasonal offerings with an emphasis on freshness. ...more
Shelby Forest General Store
Stop by this charming market for fresh-made biscuits and world-famous cheeseburgers, live music on weekends and an authentic general store experience. This is the kind of place where locals gather for coffee on the front porch, and it’s also a favorite hangout of Millington’s famous son, musician/actor Justin Timberlake. ...more
A coffee house with full coffee and tea bar, sandwiches, soups, quesadillas and salads, along with bakery goodies and desserts. Add live entertainment, free computer use, comfortable chairs and widescreen televisions for a great way to spend an afternoon or evening. ...more
Silver Caboose Restaurant & Soda Fountain
The Silver Caboose is about good, traditional Southern cooking, using tried and true recipes from our mothers and grandmothers. Everything is made from scratch with heartfelt attention and loving care by three generations of the Smith family. ...more
Sitar Indian Cuisine
This popular establishment was formerly a fast-food restaurant, and still serves a fantastic lunch buffet. The selections at Sitar Indian Cuisine change daily, but guests can always expect a great variety. ...more
Soda Pop Junction
An old-fashioned soda shop, established in 1860, at the site of the Lynnville Railroad Museum. Home of award-winning burgers and shakes, as well as steaks, sandwiches, and old-fashioned ice cream. ...more
South Street Original Smokehouse, Crab Shack and Authentic Dive Bar
Southern urban cuisine, lively atmosphere with open-air dining, tree house oyster bar, Saturday and Sunday brunch, dinner and late-night menus. Seafood specialties, salads with house-made dressings, great sandwiches and old-fashioned sides. ...more
The Southern Star in downtown Chattanooga's southside pairs tasteful, fresh-daily southern dishes with welcoming hospitality to match. Rick and Nancy Adam's goal remains unchanged: Great food and service in a fun atmosphere. ...more
At Spindini, It's all about the fire. We specialize in Italian food prepared "antico e nuovo," or ancient and new fire-cooked dishes in a dining area centered around our wood-fired oven. ...more
Standard Candy Company
Legendary for its creation of the world's first combination candy bar, Standard Candy Company created Goo Goo Clusters in 1912 from caramel, marshmallows and peanuts surrounded by milk chocolate. Initially, Goo Goos were sold unwrapped at candy counters. ...more