We’ve told you all about the food trucks in Nashville and how great they are. And we all know about the fast-food grills around town with plenty of cheap eats that you can grab on the go. But what about when you want to go out for dinner because you’re tired of microwaving Hot Pockets and you don’t get paid until Friday? Never fear, we’re here for you with some of Nashville’s best dishes for under $10 (tax, tip & beer not included).
What better place to order a sandwich than from the butcher himself? At Cochon Butcher, you can get the crispy pork belly on white toast dressed with mint, cucumbers, and chili aioli sauce served with one side item for $10. The marinated brussels sprouts and mac & cheese are the two you should be eying.
There aren’t many places to get a home-cooked country meal in the $5-$10 range. Especially when you have your choice of meat and one, two, or three Southern sides. At Arnold’s, your options rotate by the day, so you can eat cheap and well all week long. Try the stick-to-your-ribs roast beef, meatloaf, or sugar-cured ham paired with any of their famous starch and veggie sides. Just be sure to save a spot for the sweet banana pudding.
During these cold winter months, dishes served hot will be at the forefront of your mind. Party Fowl serves a large bowl of gumbo served with New Orleans-style dirty rice on its regular menu for only $9. They also have a great deal on a local brew flight: Four 4oz pours of your choosing for $8.
With more than 50 years experience, chef and owner Boonkheng Xayarath makes every one of her traditional Vietnamese and Laos dishes from scratch. However, her bánh mì sandwiches are the house specialty. There are five options including the double meat version with two layers of red meat pork for $4.81, the roast pork topped with a layer of crispy pork belly for $5.26, and the shu mai is made with ground pork and vegetables with a house sauce for $3.43 (tofu also available). That leaves plenty of change for a side of steamed dumplings, springs rolls, or fried pork skins.
Eating cheap doesn’t mean you have to skimp on the health-conscious options. In addition to the fresh baked bread and French pastries, Dozen provides satisfying lunch and brunch menus. The smoked trout salad is served on toast with Asian pears, fennel fronds, and pickled mustard seeds. Any tartine is $6 and the salads (the farro comes highly recommended) are an additional $3. Or you can choose the combo for $9 and receive half of a tartine or baguette sandwich and salad.
Although its empanadas and coquitos are some of the best in town and both only $3, you can also get a platter of traditional Cuban arepas with choice of chicken, pork, or beef served with rice, beans, and sweet plantains for $9. And try their famously strong Cuban espresso as an after-dinner pick-me-up.
The ultimate cowboy comfort food, The Recession Special includes a fried bologna sandwich, chips, a moon pie for dessert, and a cold PBR for only $5. And as always when dining on Lower Broad, your entertainment comes complimentary.
At Mas Tacos, you can score up to three of its specialty tacos, like the Cuban-style carne molida, the pulled pork topped with spicy onion yogurt, or you can choose one taco plus a hearty bowl of pozole verde (chicken and hominy soup). Each option will run you $9, and for an extra $2, you can add a glass of homemade horchata for dessert.
Whether it’s brunch or lunch, the East Nasty at Biscuit Love will keep you full. All. Day Long. Boneless fried chicken on buttermilk biscuits drowned in sausage gravy and aged cheddar will have you suited for a late afternoon nap real quick, especially if you spring the extra $5 for a pint of local beer.
Spiced at temperatures between mild and “shut the cluck up” hot, Hattie B’s chicken sandwich is then smothered in Hattie’s Nashville Comeback Sauce and served with coleslaw, pickle, and another side of your choice for only $9.
Sign up here for our daily Nashville email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun the Music City has to offer.
1. Cochon Butcher1120, Nashville
2. Arnold's Country Kitchen605 8th Ave S, Nashville
3. Party Fowl719 8th Ave S, Nashville
4. InterAsian Market & Deli2160 Nolensville Pike, Nashville
5. Dozen Bakery516 Hagan St, Nashville
6. Back to Cuba Café4683 Trousdale Dr, Nashville
7. Robert's Western World416 Broadway, Nashville
8. Mas Tacos Por Favor732 McFerrin Ave, Nashville
9. Biscuit Love316 11th Ave S, Nashville
10. Hattie B's Hot Chicken112 19th Ave S, Nashville
Part butcher shop, part sandwich counter, and part bar, Cochon Butcher is a high-quality, pork-focused, hybrid concept from James Beard Award-winning chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski. This Germantown offshoot of the New Orleans original offers up a menu of charcuterie, terrines, and sandwiches -- it's important that you order the muffaletta. For your convenience, there's a slew of house-made sausages, jarred sauces, house spices, and prepared meals for take out, because, let's be honest, your home cooked meal likely won't amount to the from-scratch, flavor-forward boudin-stuffed whole chicken (no offense).
This classic meat-and-three has been keeping the masses fed for more than three decades, with cafeteria-style meals like catfish, chicken, dumplings, fried green tomatoes, cornbread, etc., which will only run you about eight bucks a meal. While the line can get long and sometimes even stretch out the door, it moves quickly and is absolutely worth the wait. Don't miss the banana pudding, though the scratch-made chess or chocolate pies aren't shabby, either. Important note: the small, red restaurant is only open for lunch on weekdays so plan accordingly.
As the name implies, Party Fowl is known for its fowl treatment, namely the classic Nashville hot chicken, served in a variety of dishes with varying heat levels for every palate -- Southern fried, mild, medium, hot, or Poultrygeist (if you think you can handle it). Try the buttermilk-brined delicacy as a po-boy, over Texas toast with beignets, on a deconstructed Cobb salad, or in its classic sandwich form with dill pickles and cole slaw. No matter your preference, the poultry-centric, hometown Gulch eatery has nearly two dozen local brews on draft to wash it down.
A small, family-run international market and specialty deli on Nolensville Pike, InterAsian Market and Deli brings the flavors and products of Southeast Asia to the heart of South Nashville. The market features Asian imports as well as local products, and also houses an authentic deli with house-made ingredients for their specialty sandwiches. The deli offers a smattering of banh mi, as well as spring rolls, banh cuon, and steamed buns, and all for affordable prices. The market is known for its original Banh Mi -- featuring said house-made ingredients, pâté and roast pork belly -- and at just $3.43 per sandwich, there’s really no reason not to buy the hype.
Dozen Bakery, the one-time holiday cookie pop-up, is now home to some of Nashville’s finest baked goods, sweet and savory alike. The Wedgewood-Houston brick and mortar is known for its pastries and breads, and is also a popular destination for brunch and lunch. Enjoy cookies, scones, and croissants, as well as savory tartines, baguette sandwiches, and salads at the storefront, or find their goods at the farmer’s market, as well as in a number of restaurants and bars around town.
In an unassuming storefront just south of the city, Back to Cuba Café is serving up some of Nashville’s most authentic Cuban cuisine, with the eponymous sandwich at the forefront. The menu is an homage to the owner’s Cuban roots, with traditional dishes like ropa vieja, arepas, and empanadas to accompany the sandwich. The platters are served with beans, rice, and fried plantains (both sweet and savory), as you would expect, and the sandwich itself is classically constructed with ham, pork, cheese, pickles, and mustard stacked on buttered bread and pressed until the cheese reaches the optimal-melt.
Robert’s Western World, located in the heart of Lower Broad’s Music City, is one of the originators of country music in the area. Born in the early 90s, Robert’s is still a bustling with locals and visitors craving honky tonk music and a menu to match -- the Recession Special, a fried bologna sandwich served with chips and a PBR for a whopping $5, is a fan favorite. Located just steps from the Ryman Auditorium, Robert’s is your best bet for a cheap, cold beer, moon cakes, and live music to finish a classy evening at the Grand Ole Opry.
Mas Tacos Por Favor is East Nashville’s snug, corner taco shop where the lines are long and the tacos are cheap. The one-time food truck draws diners from across Nashville in search of the best, most authentic meal their 10-spot can buy. The chalkboard menu features food made from scratch, like tamales, tacos (try the quinoa-sweet potato tacos, Guy Fieri said so), pozole verde, and of course, homemade horchata to round out the meal. Be prepared to wait in line, the Mas Tacos secret is out.
The offshoot of a one-time food truck, the beloved Biscuit Love is a fast-casual breakfast mecca in the Gulch. The specialty is all in the name: biscuits are at the forefront of the menu, served just out of the oven with butter and honey, with fried chicken and gravy, as buns for a burger, as “Bonuts” (fried biscuit doughnuts), and more. Enjoy your flaky, buttery biscuit any way you want it, for breakfast or lunch, every day of the week.
Hattie B’s is one of Midtown’s best for hot chicken, in sandwich form or otherwise. The Nashville-born sandwich is served with coleslaw, a kosher pickle, and your choice of side... but we highly recommend the pimento mac & cheese. Waiting in line is inevitable here, but on the bright side, the longer you wait, the more time you have to decide which heat level you can handle. Intensities range from Southern (no heat) to Shut the Cluck Up, a fiery spice combo that'll require a side of that $5 gallon of sweet tea.