Best Nashville Takeout Dishes, And Other Ways to Support the Service Industry
We get it. You’re stuck at home (and good for you, by the way!), and your attempts to become a professional bread baker have been thwarted by roving packs of yeast hoarders. Exploring the bottom layer of your freezer feels like playing anthropologist searching for a frozen wooly mammoth, but with more freezer burn. Buck up, campers, because there are all sorts of Nashville restaurants waiting to fulfill your carryout meal needs, and they need your help now more than ever.
If you miss your favorite restaurants, and you want them to still be in operation on the far side of this, whatever this is, they truly need your support and dining dollars right now. You can buy gift cards for future use, order food for delivery through the usual services, or pull up to the curb and say “howdy” while they safely deposit a meal in your passenger seat. Some restaurants are even offering produce and pantry items supplied by their own purveyors, so shopping for groceries while you pick up dinner can actually help support multiple local businesses at the same time. Here’s your guide to some of the best Nashville dining options from under the CoronaDome.
This pizzeria spin-off from the genius minds behind Biscuit Love makes so much sense when you realize that the inspiration behind the business food that people always seem to be happy while they’re eating it: breakfast and pizza. Plus, they are masters when it comes to dough, and the multi-day fermented pizza crust is remarkably complex. The Yell Talker pizza features onions on top of onions, pureed onions, caramelized onions, scallions, and chives topped with salty pecorino cheese. You’re not going out on a date tonight anyway, so order one and have a stinkin’ good time at home.
Cost: $14; order online or through Grubhub
One of the positive developments during this period was the gracious move of Arnold’s adding its prototypical Southern fried chicken to the menu every day instead of just Mondays. Choose a dark meat quarter (unless you’re a dull white meat eater) along with your selections from its voluminous offering of side dishes for a meal that is objectively better than anything your grandma ever cooked. We’re sorry to slam your granny, but the truth is hard sometimes.
Cost: $13; order online or for delivery through Doordash, Uber Eats, or Postmates
This East Nashville favorite is known for its margaritas (which you can now order to-go with a food order), but its brand of Sonoran cuisine is admirable as well. Rosepepper’s Burrito asada is overstuffed with chunks of marinated and grilled sirloin, along with onions and tomatoes plus their just-hot-enough chili rojo sauce.
Cost: $9.95; order online or for delivery through Postmates
One of the best ways to determine whether a restaurant is any good is by the number of construction trucks parked outside. At Big Al’s, the crews responsible for erecting Nashville’s constant stream of new buildings have been known to set up sawhorses and planks outdoors as makeshift tables when the dining room is full. Smart move by those guys, because a Big Al’s Big Breakfast of two eggs, hash browns, and your choice of two slices of toast or one biscuit, two bacon strips or one sausage patty is the perfect fuel to get through a hard day’s work.
Cost: $6.95; call 615.242.8118 for carryout or delivery via Grubhub or Seamless
Famed chef Sean Brock’s latest project is his homage to fast food, with a simple menu of burgers, biscuits, and fried chicken. His take on the classic Mississippi gas station snack of fried chicken on a skewer is elevated in the best way by the addition of either Momofuku spicy seasoning on the Joystick or a glaze of sorghum/Texas Pete sauce on the Dipstick.
Cost: $4-5; call 615-922-4934 or 612-922-4994 to order
Mother’s Ruin had just gotten their feet under them as a critical neighborhood hang when a tornado rolled through like a freight train and then an invisible virus forced them to pivot to carryout-only. The good news is that they're a resilient bunch who still wants to serve in this time of crisis. So indulge in a decadent dessert of battered-and-fried Oreos dipped in a cream cheese glaze and sprinkled with bitter cocoa to console yourself until the day you can walk through Mother’s welcoming doors again.
Cost: $8; place your order via Instagram DM or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The sushi at Nomzilla is pretty damn good for a landlocked state, but it’s the “et cetera” that really makes them stand out. They have a particular talent for Korean cuisine that’s demonstrated by this noodles and black bean sauce dish that you can dress up with proteins ranging from bulgogi to calamari or vegetarian options like tofu or seitan.
Cost: $12.75; order online or for delivery through Uber Eats and Postmates
Neighbors certainly miss out on hanging at this convivial cantina while we’re all socially distancing, but you can still enjoy a family meal courtesy of Nectar with a tray of chicken enchiladas made using locally sourced ingredients. The deal comes with a dozen enchiladas topped with salsa verde, salsa roja, and queso plus sides of verde rice and black beans, chips with fire-roasted salsa, and a colorful house salad dressed with your choice of agave vinaigrette or poblano ranch.
Cost: $40; order online for carryout or for delivery through Grubhub, Uber Eats or Postmates
East Nashville and Antioch
Everybody knows about Nashville hot chicken, but in these times of sketchy toilet paper availability, let’s just say that particular meal choice might not be wise. Instead, order up another Music City classic, the Hot Fish Sandwich from Bolton’s. A huge plank of perfectly fried whiting is perched atop spongy white bread and topped with hot sauce, yellow mustard, and raw onions the same way it has been served at church picnics for decades. It’s truly a bite of history.
Cost: $7; order ahead for carryout by calling 615.254.8015 or order online through Postmates, Grubhub, DoorDash
If there’s any restaurant that might have pulled off staying open while allowing patrons to sit six feet apart, it would have been massive beer hall Von Elrod’s. But that was not meant to be, so you’ll have to carry it out or let someone bring it to your door. Try the proprietary Angry Bird spicy chicken sausage served on a split roll with toppings of avocado, buttermilk dill ranch, and corn relish.
Cost: $15.79; order online for carryout or for Grubhub delivery
The wok masters at TKO have plenty of experience with carryout and delivery services because that was a big part of their business model for years. So they’re already experts at delivering piping hot bowls of flavorful Asian dishes like the Chili Noodles with cabbage, carrots, scallions, crispy soy beans, and cilantro. As a bonus, the chefs also offer some fantastic Italian pasta plates as well.
Cost: $14; order online or for delivery through Postmates
Some days you just need to knock off a little early for sanity’s sake, and Edley’s is there for you with the perfect excuse. Their Tuck Special sandwich is the ultimate productivity killer with slices of appropriately fatty smoked brisket topped with house-made pimento cheese, a nice runny fried egg, and both tomato-based and Alabama white bbq sauces. Order one with a boozy chocolate milkshake called the Bushwacker (or the smaller Halfwacker) and plop down on the couch for a serious nap.
Cost: $13; order carryout online or for delivery through Postmates
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