Airport food? By choice? Sounds crazy but you can get legit Nashville-centric grub and local brews from a number of local proprietors.
Break the habit of the chains and get some local chow and beer at one of these homegrown on-site operations that defy the standards of airport restaurants.
400 Degrees near Gate C-14. So you want to try hot chicken on your way in or out of town? Order something cool to drink and have it. I”m kind of a wimpy but the 200-degree version numbed my lips.
Barista Parlor in Concourse C is known locally as one of our finest coffeehouses. Also serves breakfast biscuits, pastries and such.
Gibson Cafe’ near Gate C-20. Not exactly the most indigenous menu but the memorabilia is cool. Open for breakfast. They get points for local-sourcing Kijiji Coffee.
Fat Bottom Brewery near Gate D-3. East Nashville’s first brewery has spread its wings by opening an airport kiosk (and relocating to a larger facility in The Nations). Make your selection from a quartet of standard ales or try something seasonal like their Icebreaker coffee porter. Four-packs of 16 oz. cans are ready to become carry-on luggage.
La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant near Gate A-3. Why settle for a Starbucks muffin for breakfast when you can have huevos rancheros from one of Nashville’s most revered Mexican institutions? Offerings change as the day rolls on. They also offer an eclectic assortment of frozen cocktails.
Neely’s Bar-B-Que near Gate B-4. When my brother-in-law, the New Yorker, visited, he insisted that we include a trip to Neely’s now-closed full-service restaurant in MetroCenter. Now he just chows down at the airport. Hailing from Memphis, these folks offer killer BBQ nachos, mac’n’cheese and other soul-food favorites. Open for breakfast too.
Tennessee Tavern makes the cut by getting its barbecue from Neely’s but other offerings are more generic. I have to deduct a few points from what sounds like a hearty breakfast entree’ because “Tator Tot Hash” should be spelled Tater.
Tennessee Brewworks near the Concourses A/B rotunda. I happened to pass through the day they were celebrating its arrival. Somewhere I still have the souvenir guitar pick. Nice selection of beers and–I might add–their brewery mothership south of downtown at 809 Ewing is a good hang.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge near Gate C-7 functions as a complete eating-and-drinking establishment. Live music almost all the time. Interesting artifacts along the walls.
Check out a few of my other food-centric posts:
And here’s a little friendly advice about our airport.