By: Isabel Storolis
It goes without saying that Nashville is growing and growing fast. It’s a beautiful thing to see the city blossoming before our eyes. There’s never a shortage of new places to shop and new restaurants to try. The beautiful thing about Nashville is even though we’re growing, some of the best spots from years ago are still thriving. I find myself trying new places, but always being drawn to the places I’ve always gone. If you’re feeling nostalgic or want to get a taste of old Nashville, here’s a list of some of my favorite Nashville spots that have been around for years, but haven’t lost their magic!
Fido is in Hillsboro Village which, in my opinion, is the original hip area of Nashville. Fido has been in the same spot serving the same great coffee for as long as I can remember. Throughout the years, Fido has kept up with demand and morphed from a small corner coffee shop into a monster hangout that takes up nearly a whole block. Sit down and have a delicious meal with your cup of coffee or if your’e on the run stop by Fetch, their new quick stop sister store, that’s right next door. I’m perfectly happy with black coffee but I love seeing the creativity that goes into creating their selection of seasonal drinks. Fall and winter specials have recently been released and they’re all delicious!
While you’re in the area pop on over to Pangea. My absolute favorite place to shop. It’s a cozy little store right across from Fido filled with colorful clothes, beautiful jewelry, and household goods. As you squeeze through the shelves you’ll find treasures from all over the world that will add a splash of color and excitement to your life. Don’t forget to go in the back next to the dressing rooms where you’ll find adorable gifts and clothes for little kiddos. Pangea is the best Christmas shopping spot because you’re sure to snag one of a kind gifts for everyone on your list. Just try to avoid keeping everything for yourself.
In my opinion, McDougals it’s better than any Nashville Hot Chicken spot. Gasp! I know...I said it. McDougals has been making the best chicken tenders for years and years and even though they changed management recently, you can still feel the love in every bit. You can choose to get your tenders or wings tossed in an assortment of house-made sauces with a side of some of my favorite fries on earth! Other than the food, you’re sure to be charmed by the decor. Everything from t-shirts to license plates, to toys adorn the walls to the point where you can’t even see the wall itself! Even though you’re going to be full to bursting after your chicken basket, don’t forget your free ice cream! Tip- If you’re gluten-free they have a gluten-free menu posted by the registrar.
Photos: @izzycooksinsta + @mcodugalschickennashville
Sylvan Park/The Nations
Great Escape Record Store
Great escape used to be in Midtown a long long time ago (I can still remember...), but it’s now on the ever-changing Charlotte Ave. One of my favorite things to do is go eat dinner then spend some time flipping through records. As you flip through records you might get lucky enough to find a hidden treasure, but half the fun is laughing at the cheesy cover art. The old location used to be more quaint, but the new location has more room and is still packed with awesome finds. Whether you're into records, video games, or comic books, you’ll find something to occupy your time. Dinner and an hour at the record store sounds like the perfect date to me!
Photos: @izzycooksinsta + @thegreatescapemadison
Coco’s Italian Market
Coco’s Italian Market is one of those spots that you would never think to go into unless someone told you to. Well, consider this someone tell you to! Right when you walk in you’ll know why it’s been around for so long. The smell of authentic Italian food will instantly make your mouth water and your tummy growl. Coco’s has been around for almost 50 years and for good reason. You won’t find Italian food like this anywhere else in Nashville. While you’re waiting for your table you can browse through their market for anything from imported olive oil to pasta makers or play bocce ball. One more plus, they have gluten free pasta that’s so good it’ll make you question if they accidentally brought you the real stuff!
Photos: @izzycooksinsta + @cocositalianmarket
Bobbies Dairy Dip
When you think about the classic burger and milkshake joint from back in the day, Bobbies is what you should envision. Since 1951 they’ve been serving perfectly delicious, greasy, not healthy at all, burgers with a side of fries and a milkshake. I’m all about a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes after a hot summer day at the pool, you just need a good old fashion burger!
Photos: @izzycooksinsta + @abbydemmer
This is another one of those hole in the wall spots that you might drive by every day and never notice. But, if you’re a true Nashvillian and someone asks you where they can get the best sushi in town, this should be your answer. Nestled in a tiny building on Elliston Pl, the environment and service are no frills, but what they lack in fanciness they make up for with the sushi. You can choose from many classic rolls or get wild and try some of their signature rolls such as the Choo Choo roll filled with salmon, crab, eel, avocado, cream cheese, and topped with nut and eel sauce and strawberries. Sounds like it couldn’t possibly be good, but you’re just going to have to trust me and try it for yourself.
Exit Inn has been a Music City staple since 1971. Any given night you can hear music of all different genres from Reggae to Screamo. You’ll love this venue because it’s small and you’ll feel more connected with the musicians. Whether you're in the mood for a chill indie band or you want to party in a mosh pit, you’ll find what you’re looking for on their event calendar.
Photos: @izzycooksinsta + @exit_in
Wonders on Woodland
If you’re into antique shopping, this is absolutely the best curated shop in Nashville. The owners have a knack for picking out the best of the best and keeping new things coming through the door all the time. They have the perfect assortment of furniture, home decor, and jewelry from centuries past. My favorite finds include our beautiful mid-century modern credenza, a matching silver necklace and bracelet, and a psychedelic poster from the 60’s. The hours aren’t very consistent and they’re usually only open on the weekends. If you have a long drive to get there, be sure to call before you make the trip. Happy hunting!
The Five Spot
This little bar and dance club will satiate anyone's nostalgic side. Their event calendar has everything from 80’s nights, to classic country shows, to (my personal favorite) swing dancing. Every Monday night at 8 pm you can go take advantage of their awesome Monday night drink specials while watching or participating in the exciting art of swing dancing. It doesn’t matter if you a swing dancing expert or if you have two left feet. You’ll have a blast!
Photos: @izzycooksinsta + @the5spotnashville
We can’t talk about old school Nashville without putting Dino’s on the list! Even though it’s had a bit of an overhaul in recent years, it’s Nashville's oldest surviving dive bar, and despite the facelift, it still feels the same. The food is delicious, the drinks are refreshing, and there’re board games. I mean, it really doesn’t get any better than that.
Isabel Storolis is a nurse by day and a passionate home cook and blogger by night. If you can’t find her in the kitchen she’s out and about exploring Nashville! Follow her love for creating healthy comfort foods and her Nashville adventures on Instagram @izzycooksinsta or visit izzycooks.com.
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