Food & Drink

The Thrillist Awards: Nashville’s Best New Food, Drink & Everything Else

Published On 12/29/2015 Published On 12/29/2015

So, 2015 happened. You might not have noticed, because you were too busy eating, drinking, and generally cavorting at the dozens of amazing new Nashville spots that've opened in the past 12 months. But now that it's (pretty much) over, we can look back and unequivocally say that these were the places that won the year in Music City:

New upscale restaurant

5th & Taylor

Address and Info

Germantown

Nashville welcomed quite a few new upscale restaurants to the scene in 2015 but 5th & Taylor was easily our favorite. Not only is the food great but the atmosphere is uniquely romantic. Their Beer Can Chicken alone is worth making a trip; it’s roasted, then soaked in one of the most delicious beer gravies you’ll ever eat in your life.

Ascend Amphitheater

Best new music spot

Ascend Amphitheater (address and info)
SoBro
For such a music loving city, it’s a wonder that it took Nashville so long to build an outdoor venue like Ascend Amphitheater. This live music site is located right on the riverfront and has a capacity of 6,800 people. If you haven’t made it to the amphitheater yet, you should definitely look into tickets for the 2016 live shows that start in April with artists ranging from Bryan Adams to Boyz II Men.

FLIP burger boutique

Best new burger place

Flip Burger Boutique

Address and Info

12 South

Flip Burger Boutique brought a new kind of burger experience to Nashville that’s modern, sleek, and damn delicious. Their menu is extensive with burgers ranging from plain Angus beef burgers to bison burgers and even a tuna tartare burger. Don’t forget to order a milkshake as they’re easily some of the best in town.

Dozen Bakery

Best new bakery

Dozen

Address and Info

Wedgewood

What started out as a holiday cookie pop-up turned into a full time bakery this year when Dozen opened up a permanent shop in February. They pride themselves in using only the best ingredients that are locally sourced and organic. Dozen also sources bread and pastries to lots of places in town including Pinewood Social, Crema, and Jackalope Brewery. Besides all of their muffins and scones and amazing bread, Dozen also serves lunch all week and brunch on the weekends.

Best new spot for good beer

Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace

Address and Info

Donelson

Homegrown is Nashville’s newest neighborhood craft beer taproom located in Donelson. They serve wonderfully crafted beers as well as a full lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch menu. If you’re looking for a relaxed spot to grab a good craft beer and maybe a bite to eat, we highly recommend Homegrown Taproom.

Amari 

Best new cocktail bar

Amari

Address and Info

Hillsboro Village

We’ve mentioned our love for Savarino’s Cucina a time or two, so you can imagine how thrilled we were to find out that they are now utilizing the upstairs of the restaurant for a new speakeasy type lounge called Amari. There are no clear signs to get to Amari, which can be confusing (and maybe kind of the point). Just walk into Savarino’s Cucina, ask for Amari, and you’ll be led to the hidden staircase where you’ll inevitably enjoy some wonderfully inventive cocktails upstairs.

Soar Adventure

Best new outdoor activity

Soar Adventure Tower (address and info)
Franklin
Soar Adventure Tower is unlike anything else in the greater Nashville area. It’s quite literally a giant tower with multiple levels for varying degrees of adventure. Each participant is strapped into a safety harness using a belay system which allows you to challenge yourself on all of the various obstacles while staying safe 45ft above the ground. This is a great excuse to get yourself outside and do something adventurous.

Flickr/Shane Raynor

Best new sports venue

First Tennessee Park (address and info)
Downtown
The Sounds aren’t new to Nashville but their fancy First Tennessee Park is. Located right in the heart of downtown, First Tennessee Park is a big upgrade from the previous home of the Sounds. It seats over 10,000 people and has some upgraded food options such as Pepperfire Hot Chicken (in case a plain hot dog and cracker jacks just won’t cut it for you). But don’t worry, the scoreboard is still shaped like a giant guitar.

Avo

Best new healthy food spot

Avo

Address and Info

Sylvan Park

If you’re looking for a healthy, vegan, gluten-free, and completely raw dish, Avo is the spot for you. They take classic dishes such as lasagna and bbq and re-make them in a way that’s light, healthy, and yet still completely delicious. Their lasagna is made with zucchini instead of traditional noodles and the BBQ sliders are made with smoked maitake mushrooms to create dishes that are tasty AND filled with things that are good for you.

Best new Mexican

Bajo Sexto

Address and Info

Downtown

This new Mexican and taco spot opened up earlier this year just inside of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and has a rather limited menu. You can’t go wrong with their tacos, though, and you’re also going to want to order one of their various margaritas to go with that and probably a bowl of guac.

Pioneer Gentlemen's Barber

Best new barbershop

Pioneer Gentlemen’s Barber (address and info)
The Gulch
This “turn of the century”-inspired barbershop opened up earlier this year with the mission of delivering a new and unique standard in men’s grooming. Men can enjoy a cold beverage while getting their shoes shined and their beard freshly trimmed. Best of all: every customer receives a free beverage, a complimentary neck and shoulder massage, as well as a scalp massage.

Brita Britnell/ Thrillist

Best new coffee shop

Steadfast

Address and Info

Germantown

Steadfast opened up in the heart of Germantown earlier this year and has quickly become one of our all time favorite coffee shops in the whole city. They have a great list of coffee drinks (including coffee soda which is an absolute must-try) and a wonderful breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu.

Best new nightlife spot

The Basement East

Address and Info

East Nashville

The Basement, originally located in Wedgewood, expanded this year to include a second music venue that opened up in East Nashville in April. The Basement East has a laid-back vibe that’s just perfect for live music. So if you’re looking for a new music venue with a relaxed vibe and cold beer, definitely check out The Basement East.

Double Dogs Hillsboro Village

Best new pub

Double Dogs

Address and Info

Hillsboro Village

Double Dogs is a new casual dining spot and pub in Nashville and serves their take on classic American dishes such as buffalo chicken mac 'n’ cheese, hot chicken pot pie, and a nice long list of pizzas, burgers, and hot dogs. They also have a great beer list to go with your wings and burgers.

Biscuit Love

Best new food truck turned brick-and-mortar

Biscuit Love Brunch

Address and Info

The Gulch

Of all the new restaurants that opened in 2015, Biscuit Love Brunch might have made the biggest national splash. This wildly popular biscuit food truck opened doors to a trendy and spacious brick-and-mortar restaurant in early 2015 and hasn’t slowed down a bit since then. If you go at peak hours, the line can stretch well out the door but we’re here to tell you that it’s totally worth the wait for one of their pillowy soft, buttery biscuits.

Brita Britnell/ Thrillist

Best new pop-up

Little Octopus (address and info)
East Nashville
After the huge success of Otaku Ramen (POPs first venture), Little Octopus was a much anticipated new restaurant opening for 2015. They pride themselves in serving cultural cuisine inspired from around the world with options for everyone including vegans and meat lovers alike.

Music City Brisket

Best new food truck

Music City Brisket (address and info)
Various locations
Should you find this food truck parked near you for lunch, make no hesitation in jumping in line and ordering one of their smoked beef brisket sandwiches. Music City Brisket might be new to Nashville’s food truck scene but they’ve quickly become one of our favorites. Their award-winning deep fried avocado fries are also worthy of a mention.

Embers Ski Lodge

Best new brunch

Embers Ski Lodge

Address and Info

12 South

This new 12 South restaurant is the closest thing you’ll find to a ski lodge anywhere in the Nashville area. Designed to look like a scene straight from Aspen Mountain, Embers Ski Lodge is a very cozy place to enjoy brunch with friends by the fire. We recommend the ‘Every Day I’m Trufflin’ cocktail paired with a big plate of their drunken spiced peanut butter and banana stuffed french toast.

Slow Hand Coffee Company

Best new place to camp out with your laptop

Slow Hand Coffee

Address and Info

Cummins Station

If you’re looking for a quiet little place to sit with your laptop and pretend to be getting work done, Slow Hand Coffee is perfect. Located right next to Cummins Station, this new coffee shop not only has great coffee but they also have an abundant supply of house-made pastries. You can find everything from classic scones to re-makes on old favorites, such as snowballs, retro cupcakes, and giant dino cookies. So, grab your laptop and a pastry and pretend to be working hard while really just watching cat videos.

Brita Britnell/ Thrillist

Best re-opening

The Family Wash

Address and Info

East Nashville

The Family Wash has been an East Nashville favorite for well over 10 years, but in February of this year they closed their doors in order to prepare for a few changes and an updated location. Luckily we didn’t have to wait too long. In August, they opened back up, after partnering with the Garage Coffee Co, in a space that is much bigger and a menu that’s somehow even better than before. They easily have one of the best burgers in town, and there’s always good music playing.

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.

Brita Britnell is a Nashville-based food photographer and writer who's on a mission to discover the best burger in Nashville. Follow her at @BBritnell.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. 5th & Taylor 1411 5th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37208 (Germantown)

In addition to some excellent upscale American comfort food coming off the wood-fired grill in the kitchen, the dining room at 5th & Taylor offers one of the most dramatic environments in town. A massive statue of General Francis Nash, the city’s namesake, dominates the space and bold artwork creates an ambience that makes the whole evening a little more exciting, complete with a huge full service bar, large dining area, and minimalistic/industrial decor.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. FLIP burger boutique 4111 Charlotte Ave, Nashville, TN 37209

Flip Burger Boutique, the Atlanta-born, modern burger joint from acclaimed Chef Richard Blais, was one of the city’s first to hone in on boutique burgers, and it ignited a frenzy. Now with locations in Nashville and Birmingham, Flip continues to serve the Southeastern masses over a dozen innovative burgers, sides, and nitro-milkshakes. You can’t go wrong with the Classic, but the Stack is something really special (two specialty-seasoned patties, American cheese, grilled onions, tomato, shredded lettuce, pickles, flip sauce, you’re welcome). If you’re craving adventure, try the raw steak tartare burger, or go poultry with the fried chicken sandwich, or avoid meat all together with the fauxlafel. No matter what you order, it’s important to enjoy it with a side of sweet potato tots, and to wash it down with a milkshake.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Dozen Bakery 516 Hagan St, Nashville, TN

This bakery specializes not only in sweets (cookies, muffins, and croissants), but also savories including manchego tartines, roast lamb baguettes, and artisanal bacon, eggs and cheese sandwiches. Excuse us while we eat everything.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Homegrown Taproom & Marketplace 2720 Old Lebanon Rd, Nashville, TN 37214

This hip, down home taphouse and grub hub offers 24 beers on tap, as well as comfort food faves like twice baked potatoes with bacon and mac 'n cheese. Visit their marketplace where all your favorite brews are available for sale.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
5. Amari 2121 Belcourt Ave, Nashville, TN 37212

There's a secret entrance to this speakeasy style wine bar through neighboring Savarino’s Cucina. Lined with intimate seating and a half-priced happy hour deal, this place is a favorite for a date night out.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
6. AVO 3 City Ave., Nashville, TN 37209 (Sylvan Park)

This restaurant in Midtown has an entirely plant-based menu with local produce, and it's all served raw (nothing is heated over 118 degrees to preserve all the enzymes, vitamins and nutrients in your food). Enjoy some vegetarian pad thai, lasagna or tabbouleh salad in a modern, rustic setting with bare concrete floors and wood paneling. Better yet, pair it with an avocado margarita or any one of AVO's amazing beer or wine options.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
7. Bajo Sexto Taco 216 5th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203 (Downtown)

Country music and tacos-- who would have thought they'd go together in perfect harmony? This Mexican resto located in the Country Music Hall of Fame proves the point with their fresh, spicy eats.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
8. Steadfast Coffee 603 Taylor St, Nashville, TN 37208 (Germantown)

Steadfast is a coffee shop striving for the highest quality coffee drinks-- but they also serve lunch & dinner from 11:30 until close. The menu ranges from a granola bowl to falafel.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. The Basement East 917 Woodland St, Nashville, TN 37206

This lo-fi bar and venue hosts local and national rock 'n rollers at their East Side haunt. There's no better combo than guitar licks and cold brews.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. Double Dogs 1807 21st Ave S, Nashville (& other locations), TN 37212 (Music Row)

This place takes hot dogs, burgers, & wings, and builds an entire menu around them. The casual spot is probably not diet friendly, but when you're ordering buffalo chicken mac n' cheese we promise you won't mind.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
11. Biscuit Love 316 11th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203

This is the brick-and-mortar version of the much beloved Nashville food truck, and it's just as devoted to biscuits and breakfast/brunch as its on-wheels version. Also, it must be noted that the mimosas, made with fresh-squeezed orange juice, are served in a sizable wine glass. No dainty flutes for these serious brunchers.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Little Octopus 604 Gallatin Ave, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

In addition to serving as the flexible kitchen for some really outstanding pop-ups for visiting chefs, Little Octopus in East Nashville is all about eating fresh, healthy food. Chef Daniel Herget relies on South Florida and Latin influences to create cuisine using fresh regional ingredients, including lots of organic items. The resulting menu is a melange of of inventive dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in town. With patio seating and a full bar, there's even a spot for everyone.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
13. Music City Brisket , Nashville, TN

This food truck is entirely dedicated to killer meats and sandwiches. We're talking brisket, baby back ribs, fried shrimp tacos, and a reuben sandwich. Sides include fries, avocado fries, and a summer salad. They even have a menu "For our four legged friends," which offers brisket biscuits that are veterinary approved.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
14. Embers Ski Lodge 2410 12th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37204 (12south)

Aspen meets Nashville at Embers Ski Lodge, where gastropub fare and cocktails reign supreme. Guests can dine in cabin-like environs against a backdrop of Mt. Everest, snacking on everything from burgers, salads, and seafood entrées. The beer and wine offerings are solid, but the massive whiskey list is the true highlight here -- and besides, what better way to start Sunday brunch than with two ounces of rare rye by way of an actual shot-ski?

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
15. Slow Hand Coffee 300A 10th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203 (Sobro)

This gourmet coffee house in SoBro serves musically inspired sandwiches (try a Hey Jude with steak and eggs on honey waffle bread or a James Brown with smoked turkey and parmesan aioli) and, of course, fresh bean brews. Their baked goods are also on point.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
16. The Family Wash 626A Main St, Nashville, TN 37206 (East Nashville)

This popular spot for live music accompanied by a “Pint and Pie” (of the shepherd variety) recently moved to a new space closer to the mainland across the Cumberland River. Even in the shiny new space, The Family Wash has maintained its laid-back vibe with a full schedule of local and regional acts featuring a healthy helping of rootsy music. The new larger kitchen is also pumping out an expanded menu of some great grub to snack on during a show.

Clickbait