On a recent trip down south, my (other) brother, his son, and I managed to hit a couple of fine and famous eateries on a road trip to Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, ending up in Huntsville, Alabama. Although we only went to each place once, we tried to go for variety in what we ordered.
We all agreed that the Loveless Cafe in Nashville was, hands down, the best meal we had. Down-home-style food, friendly waiter, and an endless supply of homemade buscuits. I had the country ham plate, with a side of collards and carrots. My brother, Tom, had their pit-smoked turkey breast with cranberry barbecue sauce. My nephew, TJ had the fried chicken. (TJ, 16, born in Richmond, but raised on Cape Cod, claimed it was the best fried chicken and the best biscuits he’d ever eaten in his life.) I have a feeling, if I were a local, I’d be a fixture at this place. So, so very good, and definitely worth revisiting. (Open 7 AM – 9 PM, 7 days a week. 8400 Hwy 100, Nashville, Tenn. 615-646-9700.) Review @ Roadfood.com / Loveless Cafe Menu
I’d intended to make this trip all about southern barbeque, but neglected to confirm this with my traveling companions, who only had a very limited appetite for the delicacy. Internet searches claimed that the best bbq in Nashville was in the touristy part of town. Called Jack’s, the ribs were pretty smokey, almost too smokey for my taste, and they were served dry, though there were several options of sauce to choose from. Tom had a pulled pork sandwich, and my nephew had the pulled chicken. They both thought it was pretty good.
The other bbq restaurant we tried was called Interstate, in Memphis, the city of bbq. I’d gotten several recommendations about this being the best place in the best city for bbq. I ordered the combination platter, so I could try everything they had to offer. It came with a couple beef and pork ribs, some pulled pork, and pulled beef, and some smoked sausage. It was all covered in a thin bbq sauce, so the plate looked bloody. The spicy sausage was the best, I think, while the pork ribs and the pulled beef were close runners up. It also came with a side order of bbq’d spaghetti, which I was told to specifically look out for. I wasn’t too impressed, unfortunately. Regular spaghetti coated in more of the sauce and bits of pulled pork, I think. I guess I was hoping for a transcendental experience, being in the best of the best bbq restaurants, so maybe I was expecting too much. I almost think I’ve had better bbq here in Virginia than the stuff I got that day. I’ve since read that some locals think the place has gone downhill in recent years.
I really should have sampled more places while I had the chance. The other places we ate were unmentionable — chosen for convenience rather than quality food — a necessity on a road trip. I do hope to get back to the Loveless Cafe again, though.