Dining Out

Nashville’s Hot New Restaurants this Spring

By: Erin Byers Murray

As always, Nashville’s restaurant scene is booming. This spring sees the long-awaited arrival of a resort dining room, all-American fare and James Beard Award-worthy barbecue downtown, and even more to come. These are Nashville’s hot new restaurants to keep an eye on in Nashville right now.

spaghetti vongole salmon pork chop scarpariello chicken parm spicy broccoli rabe fresh pappardelle with spicy tomato sauce at Ellas, a hot new restaurant in Nashville
A spread at Ella’s, Image courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

Where to Make a Nashville Res Right Now


Southall Farm & Inn, Franklin

I’ve been reporting on the Southall property for years in anticipation of the opening of January, the property’s upscale restaurant. When I finally sat down in the modern farmhouse-chic dining room in March, I was pleased to find it was worth the wait. Chefs Andrew Klamar and Nate Leonard lead the charge here, pulling products from the greenhouses, fields, preservation room, orchard, and beehives that populate the property. The menu changes with the days, but hopefully you, too, can slather honey butter over Parker House or dig into the earthy, ethereal Parisienne gnocchi and oysters served “chowder style” with a housemade oyster cracker on top. The wine list is insanely deep so be prepared—or lean on the excellent service staff to guide you through the list. Get the full scoop here.

A duck dish at the January Opening, a hot new restaurant in Nashville

The Finch

Remember the Flying Saucer tucked into the Union Station building? Well, The Finch, which has taken over the space, is nothing like you remember. A gorgeous redesign means it’s now light, airy, and channeling a modern tavern vibe. The menu is full-on American classics like chicken fried steak, cajun chicken, and french onion soup. I’ll go back to sit at the bar for happy hour snacks like the szechuan chili chicken, oysters on the half shell, and a smoky Midnight in Vermont cocktail.

An olive makes a splash in a martini at The Finch, a hot new restaurant in Nashville
Image courtesy of Hall Strategies

Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ at Chief’s


I spend a fair amount of time in Charleston where I am lucky enough to eat Rodney Scott’s whole hog barbecue frequently—I’ve also gotten to know Scott through my reporting over the years so I’m completely willing to fight the downtown crowds just for a bite of his whole hog “king of the menu” sandwich slathered in vinegar pepper sauce, or the whole hog plate. His pork rind nachos and burnt end skewers can only be found at this location so grab an order of each, then head up to the rooftop to grab front-row seats to the smoking action—that’s where the team smokes several hogs each week.

Rodney Scott's at chiefs, a hot new restaurant in Nashville

Ella’s by Christian Petroni


I find Nashville’s hotel dining options to be hit or miss but Ella’s inside the Hyatt Centric in SoBro has recently gone through a menu revamp and is turning into one of the hits. Now spearheaded by New York-based chef Christian Petroni, the menu leans into classics like chicken parm, meatballs (his are fried for an extra crunchy effect), shrimp scampi (a light-but-decadent starter), and budino for dessert. The Neopolitan-style eggplant parmesan is my pick, with its seven, golden-fried layers of eggplant dressed in a rich tomato sauce, alongside an Amalfi spritz (gin, limoncello, lillet, prosecco, and grapefruit). There’s also a patio out front for al fresco dining and a strong selection of negronis.

oil poured over spaghetti vongole at Ellas, a hot new restaurant in Nashville
Image courtesy of Andrew Thomas Lee

The Sun Room at Drift  

East Nashville

Drift Nashville is the most buzzed-about hotel right now, complete with a sexy pool scene and 70s-lounge-like throwback vibes. (Think: wood-paneled ceiling and low-slung velvet couches). Its stylish terrazzo lobby bar, The Sun Room, will likely become a hot spot for locals, thanks to first-class cocktails and an excellent menu, pulled together by Alexis Soler, the mastermind behind bars like Old Glory and Flamingo Cocktail Club. Cocktails like the tequila-and-yuzu fueled Joyride and House Party, with rum, matcha, mint, and orgeat, are excellent starters while the menu explores tapas, including a robust selection of conservas (tinned seafood) and charcuterie boards as well as pan con tomate and marinated olives. Make your way there for Sunset Hour—30 minutes before and after the sun goes down—for $2 oysters and $11 cocktails.

Olives, bread and wine at the Sun Room, a hot new restaurant in Nashville
Image courtesy of Mario Kristian

More good news: I’ve missed Bar Otaku ever since it closed up shop in the Gulch—and now it’s back, plugging seamlessly into the Otaku Ramen space in East Nashville to become Otaku Ramen Izakaya, dishing out okonomiyaki, sesame green beans, and more alongside high balls and sake bombs. Down in Franklin, The Factory is heating up with the openings of etch from chef Deb Paquette, who brings her love of international flavors to every dish, as well as an outpost of Daddy’s Dogs. There’s a new chef helming the kitchen at Mimo, bringing a new energy to the Four Seasons dining space. And coming soon, keep an eye out for more openings, including The Coral Club from a dream team of hospitality and bar pros, opening soon.

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Located at Southall Farm & Inn, January offers a premier fine-dining experience with a daily rotating menu that won’t disappoint.

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