We Southerners take our comfort food seriously. Picking a meat 'n' three should be done with a clear mind and some extensive research. That's where we enter the scene. We've scoured Nashville, stuffing ourselves with grits, taters, and fried okra, in order to find some eateries that would make mama proud.
Arnold's Country Kitchen
Local country musicians, soccer moms, and business executives all pile into this red cinder block building in the warehouse area just outside of downtown. They grab trays and shuffle along for Jack Arnold's fresh meats and veggies, which are served cafeteria style. Choices often featured include turnip greens, catfish, fried shrimp, whipped potatoes, fried green tomatoes, and the juiciest roast beef in town. 605 Eighth Avenue South; (615) 256-4455. Meat 'n' three: $6.65 and up.
Treat yourself to a Nashville classic with a visit to this 53-year-old restaurant, located about 25 minutes outside of town. Known for its fluffy biscuits, you'll find Loveless better than ever after a recent renovation. The slow-cooked barbecue meats also provide a special treat. Don't forget dessert--they're made from scratch. 8400 State 100; (615) 646-9700 or www.lovelesscafe.com. Meat 'n' two: $7.95-$9.95.
Sylvan Park Restaurant Murphy Road
It's hard to eat all your vegetables when Sylvan Park chocolate pie awaits. If you must eat a sensible meal before dessert, however, then this is the place to go. The offerings feel like Sundays after church: country-fried steak, fried catfish, Tennessee ham, and pork chops. Choose from sliced tomatoes, turnip greens, candied yams, soft-cooked green beans, and whipped potatoes. And don't skip the pies--even if it wrecks your diet for a week. 4502 Murphy Road; (615) 292-9275. Meat 'n' three: $6.45.
The White Trash Café
It's no mystery why this little joint by the fairgrounds received its apt name. The interior decor, which features fuzzy dice, an "I Love Elvis" sticker, strings of Christmas lights, and stuffed animals, is made up of yard sale finds. The place opens at 10:30 a.m., and you may want to show up right about then. Once the featured items of the day (iron-skillet fried chicken and meatloaf on Tuesday and fried catfish on Friday) sell out, you're stuck with the leftovers. 1914 Bransford Avenue; (615) 383-0109. Meat 'n' three: $6.75.
This article is from the November 2004 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.