Christie Cookie Co.
2606 12th Ave. S, 12South
For a sweet treat in 12South, this new outpost of Christie Cookie’s offers fresh-baked cookies, brownies, and cakes, as well as ice cream sandwiches. We love the integrity with which their goods are made—they don’t use preservatives and use ingredients like chocolate made from sustainably-farmed cocoa beans.
516 Hagan St., Wedgewood-Houston
This Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood standby is usually full of locals, who feast on crunchy baguettes with butter, mushroom and ricotta toasts, pickled veggies and salads, and authentically French croissants. Grab a box of chocolate chip pecan cookies on your way home for the perfect late-night snack.
High Garden Tea
935A Woodland St., Five Points
Leah and Joel Laravell are longtime herb and tea obsessives and the partners behind High Garden Tea. Leah brews her own tonics and tinctures inspired by old Appalachian remedies, and the rustic, cabin-style shop is the kind of place where you want to linger for hours (something the Laravells heartily encourage). Shelves and counters are stocked with herbs, spices, and whole-leaf teas, and everything is sourced from organic and ethically wildcrafted sources. There are also house-made kombucha and cactus kefir available, and the owners host monthly workshops for those looking to learn about herbalism, tinctures, and the simple beauty of a good cup of tea.
2911 12th Ave. S, 12South
A paleta is a Mexican version of a popsicle—a sweet, frozen pop made with fresh fruit (and sometimes even with vegetables and nuts). This adorable little shop, which was founded by two sisters who grew up in Mexico, makes them fresh daily with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Unsurprisingly, kids go crazy for these.
Five Daughters Bakery
1110 Caruthers Ave., 12South
Between raising a family (they actually do have five daughters) and growing their small business, Five Daughters owners Isaac and Stephanie Meek definitely have their hands full. Isaac comes from a family of bakers—his grandfather baked cakes and his father owned a pizza shop—and he's made this fledgling bakery famous for a 100-layer donut, which tastes like an overly decadent cronut and takes three days to make. Between those magnificent creations and their sister sweets, like paleo donuts (grain, dairy, and sugar-free) and arguably the best cupcakes in town, it's no surprise that they sell out both here and at their Franklin and East Nashville locations, every day.
2011 Belmont Blvd., Belmont
It's generally difficult to get good bagels outside New York City, and Nashville was no exception to this rule until Proper Bagel came along in 2017—the bagels consistently garner out-the-door lines. The crisp, black-and-white, subway-tiled space is filled mostly with several large deli counters, where you can order everything from lox to a bacon-egg-and-cheese to a classic bagel with schmear. Bookmark it for hangover days, which are an all-too-common occurrence in this late-night town.
15 Hermitage Ave., Downtown
These specialty coffee roasters (they roast their own beans in the back of their shop) can be found all over Nashville, but their brick-and-mortar is more than worth a visit. The bright, white-washed cafe is outfitted with free WiFi and the requisite hipster crowd, and there's also a wide front porch that offers an excellent view of the downtown skyline. All of the espresso drinks are excellent, as are the avocado and ricotta toasts. It's a no-brainer if you need a cozy desk to hunker down with your computer for a few hours.
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
5209 Charlotte Ave., Sylvan Park
Hot chicken is a must in Nashville, and even though they have three locations (Melrose, Midtown, and West Nashville), Hattie B's always has a line out the door and around the corner. If you're patient, it's totally worth the wait for Nashville’s famous hot chicken, which comes in several heat levels: mild, medium, hot, damn-hot, and shut-the-cluck-up. Pro tip: place a pickup order online to skip the line.
Arnold’s Country Kitchen
605 8th Ave. S, The Gulch
Opened in 1982 and still family-owned, Arnold's is only open for lunch on weekdays, but we heard so much about the fried chicken and Meat & Three options that we paid a visit—it was well worth it for an all-around authentic experience. Their James Beard award for American Classics is well deserved.
2725 Clifton Ave., Hadley Park
This was one of Tim McGraw’s recommendations: Swett’s serves Meat & Three, which means it's your choice of meat plus three sides, which could include collard greens, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, apple or peach pie, and more. The fried chicken here is superb…crunchy and not oily on the outside and juicy on the inside.