If you love talking and reading about food, then you already know about Nashville’s thriving food scene. Several upscale restaurants in the area offering diverse menus continue to rack up James Beard nominations, hot chicken has put the city on the map, quickly becoming one of the more popular food items in the country, and Nashville has a growing base of young professionals who really enjoy dining out.
It had been two years since my last visit, so I was looking forward to seeing the different changes in the culinary landscape.
Quite frankly, it was just as I remembered it … an eclectic offering of restaurants and food shops, all full with patrons, and most needing reservations far in advance. Heck, we tried to eat lunch at The Pharmacy at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and was told it would be a 1.5-hour wait. Yes, on a Saturday afternoon.
During our 48 hours in Nashville, we visited Husk (brunch), 5th and Taylor, Pastaria, Five Daughters Bakery, Yeast Bakery, Otaku Ramen, Barista Parlor, Dose, Colt Chocolates, and Yazoo Brewing. And believe me when I say this, there were not many missteps when it came to food.
But besides the great eats, the one thing that stood out was the stellar service. Everywhere.
This was especially the case at Pastaria, a hip, modern Italian restaurant specializing in Neapolitan pizza and house-made pasta. The food was delightful, but the well-oiled machine of service was captivating. The restaurant’s open kitchen concept and unique layout allowed each element of service to be on full display, from the doughman to pasta maker to break slicer to line cook to every single server racing around the restaurant with a calm and controlled, yet fast paced diligence.
And, truth be told, I saw this same thing at many of the other Nashville restaurants this past weekend and from the New Orleans spots from just a few weeks ago.
That’s the thing about a thriving food scene. It’s so competitive and restaurants know that if they don’t bring it each and every night, then they’ll be out of business.
Consistent, quality service is at the heart of it all.