Every year, the Nashville Scene
asks for feedback about the best our city has to offer, from hot chicken to high schools to neighborhoods. Once we all throw our two cents into the year’s Best of Nashville competition
, an issue hits the streets honoring talented folks and great businesses and, of course, giving all of us an excuse to talk about who we think was robbed.
While I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone who wanted to toss my name into the Best Real Estate Agent category this year, I’m lost in thought about my own ballot (they’re being accepted through Sept. 5). Working with clients all across Middle Tennessee, I get to see a lot, and love a lot, of what our neighbors are making and doing. So I’m sifting through many, many likes and even-more-likes. Feels like it gets harder to pick every year. Here are a few of the categories that resonate the most with me:
Best Bar That Makes You Feel You're Not in Nashville
With how much the city’s changed in recent years, it’s probably easier to find bars that make you feel like you’re not in Nashville than it is to find ones that make you feel like you are
in Nashville. That said, I love when a new place brings a totally unique vibe to the area. Blue Moon Waterfront Grille
is right on the Cumberland, and the outdoor waterfront atmosphere is outstanding. The Flipside in 12 South
's throwback-Americana look makes you feel like you’re not in 2014, and their comfort food offerings — like tater tot nachos and milkshakes — are crazy comforting.
Best New Restaurant
With the amount of wandering around Davidson and Williamson counties I do, showing clients different neighborhoods, I end up exploring a lot of new restaurants. And the past year in Middle Tennessee restaurant culture has been pretty remarkable, so it’s really hard to pick a “best.” This past year, I particularly fell in love with Etch
— led by chef Deb Paquette of Zola fame — and Sinema
, whose kitchen is helmed by Top Chef runner-up Dale Levitski. What about you?
People around here get really passionate about this one, and I get it: When we find the right home and the right neighborhood, we truly get attached. When you love the place you call home, you want to rep it loud and proud. For me, I’m thinking about neighborhoods that have shown huge positive changes over the past year, like Wedgewood Houston
, East Nashville
and Downtown Franklin
Best Place To Adopt a Pet
I’m a huge animal lover, so local pet rescue and adoption is something I’m really passionate about. Here on the blog, I regularly post about dogs that are in urgent need of rescue
(and I sponsor their foster care or adoption). Many of those dogs are at Metro Nashville Animal Care and Control
, a truly great place to adopt a pet. It’s also one of many great local places to adopt. I hope you’ll visit MACC if you’re looking to bring a pet into your family (and keep an eye on my blog if you’d like to stay clued in about urgent rescues).
Best Concert Series
We have no shortage of great concert series around here, and I love a lot of them. But one that’s really grabbed me recently: Westhaven Porchfest
, which celebrated its third year in June. Musicians (from folk to classical) play on front porches-turned-stages, and festgoers move from house to house through the neighborhood, taking it all in. Porchfest wraps up with a lakeshore concert, and it’s all free. I have lots of other favorites, like the East Side Hootenanny
(which I sponsor) and Live on the Green
, but that might be where I’m leaning this year…
Best Place To Take Out-of-Towners
My picks for this always seem to change, and I’m particular about my choices — I’m often introducing newcomers to a place they’re relocating to, and I want them to get a great picture of all there is to see and do here. A few of my diehard go-tos for this purpose though: the famed Loveless Cafe
, scenic Natchez Trace, Historic Leiper's Fork and any of our area’s fantastic and brain-cleansing parks.
What’s on your mind about this year’s Best of Nashville ballot? What sections are you struggling with, or totally set on? I’d love to hear your thoughts.