Thursday, April 25, 2013

Best Southern Style Food in Music City

   I grew up in a part of the country that considered the meat-n-three a form of elevated cuisine. My tiny hometown prided itself on the fact that every single restaurant in town (including the Tastee Freeze) served up some form of the meat-n-three. However, at the time I did not fully appreciate the rich tradition and fine Southern cooking that these establishments provided.
  Part of the allure of going away to college in the early seventies was my desire to experience a more urban lifestyle. Therefore, I was attracted to a campus that was fully integrated into a burgeoning metropolitan area. Imagine my surprise when as a freshman my newly acquired college friends began raving about a place away from campus where you could get the most unbelievable food. After much conversation accompanied by a growing dislike of dorm food, we finally piled willy nilly into some commandeered automobiles and made the trek out to this much talked about place. I should have known something was up when we soon left the lights of the city and drove for what seemed an interminable length of time. As soon as we pulled in, I immediately recognized the restaurant. My first dining experience out in Nashville, Tennessee, and I am suddenly back in the land of the meat-n-three. Oh, the irony.
   Now all roads happily lead to home. In the intervening years I have enjoyed many a great meal at this establishment and enthusiastically recommend it to all comers to Nashville. It is an iconic eatery and serves some of the best Southern food on the planet. And what is this place? Why, it's none other than the nationally renown Loveless Restaurant.

And no, it's not a motel. It used to be. A long, long time ago. 
The restaurant folks just kept the sign because it was retro before retro was in.
   Don't be fooled by this seemingly small and unassuming exterior. Just roll down your car window when you pull into the parking lot and breathe deeply. The smell of all that fine Southern cooking is your first clue that it's gonna be good. Real good.
   Here are some things you need to know before you go: 1) Call ahead for a reservation, if possible or you are going to have a good long wait. 2) No matter what time you eat, you will not be eating will be eating supper. It's a Southern thing. 3) Biscuits are served with butter, preserves, honey and sorghum. If you don't know what sorghum is, look it up. 4) Loveless actually serves moonshine (it's legal now), but the best thing to aid with your digestion is to finish off your meal with a little Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream. Finally, 5) Forget the diet and go ahead and order the fried chicken. If you don't, you are gonna need to have your head examined. Immediately. It's also probably some kind of sin.
Photos of Loveless Cafe, Nashville
This photo of Loveless Cafe is courtesy of TripAdvisor
 My family always eats family style because that's the only way to go in my book. I am really not a fried chicken aficionado so I spend most of my meal savoring the unbelievable biscuits slathered with butter and peach preserves. I also eat my fill of the sides.
Photos of Loveless Cafe, Nashville
This photo of Loveless Cafe is courtesy of TripAdvisor
My friend Carol Fay was the famous Biscuit Lady of Loveless. We have a family connection with her that runs pretty deep. She helped me raise my children and keep my house. I just didn't know then that she was gonna be so famous or I would have gotten her to teach me how to make those biscuits.
This photo of Loveless Cafe is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This is the wall of fame. Everybody who is anybody has eaten at Loveless', and chances are pretty good that you are sitting next to someone who is famous. But in Nashville, we don't act like we recognize them because a lot of the time we don't. So we pretty much leave everybody alone. 
Even if it's Brad Paisley and his beautiful wife and their cute two little boys.
Photos of Loveless Cafe, Nashville
This photo of Loveless Cafe is courtesy of TripAdvisor

So if you want an authentic version of Southern cooking that hasn't changed much over
the past sixty years you need to pay Loveless' a visit.
As I said before, it's some of the best Southern food on the planet.
Can I get an Amen?!

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