As someone who's come home every day smelling like a mixture of at least six different fryers, this is Zach's 6 Spots Not to Miss at the Nashville Farmers' Market.
Just as I promised in my "One Year Later" post, I'm taking a drizzly Thursday morning to reflect on my favorite places in the Nashville Farmers' Market. For those of you who haven't been there, the Nashville Farmers' Market is a magical place where craft vendors, small eateries, and trolley tours hang out. I often tell people the outdoor half is a traditional farmers' market with local produce grocers and artisans. The inside half, I'm tempted to describe as a "food court"--but that feels a little cheap. It has a wide array of different food options, and of course, the empty husk of what was once Batch Nashville. Here is the ranked list of my favorite places.
I don't know what it means. I don't know how to spell it. It's taken me years to remember its proper name beyond just calling it "that incredible Indian place in the Farmers' Market." But the name isn't what's memorable--it's the experience. The amount of stuff you get at the price point is insane. Two entrees, vegetable or chicken rice, and a small stack of buttery naan, and you can easily get two meals out of it. Plus, the spices are enough to help you forget when you forgot to bring a sweater.
2. Music City Crepes
Mayonnaise, Chicken, Pineapple, and Mozzarella on a crepe? Trust me, you are not the first person to be skeptical. You won't be the last. But it's the kind of thing that once you take the leap of faith, you will be writing blog posts years later about it. Sweet crepes, savory crepes, breakfast crepes--it's a crepe for every occasion. These folks serve it piping hot and wrapped in foil, and every time I try something new there, I have a harder time deciding next time what to get. Beware though, they are closed on Sundays, and so naturally, I'm always craving it on Sundays (also known as the Chick-fil-a curse).
3. Bella Pizzeria
These are some of my favorite folks in the Market. Back in the day, I called them the "Pizza Pirates". They were bitter, tattooed, tough, and once you were in the circle, they took care of you. They've got a real wood-fired pizza oven, so they bust out authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas and make it look effortless. These personal-sized pies are some of the best you can get in Nashville without having to put on fancy clothes or make a reservation. And you can polish one off during a thirty-minute lunch break.
4. Bubble Love
I first ran into Anna while dropping off a deposit at the bank. She was so kind. It wasn't until later that I realized that she wasn't just "supermom Anna from the bank", but also the owner of Bubble Love, an adorable little boba tea shop located just 40 feet away from Batch. The stuff Bubble Love makes is sweet and refreshing. It's inspired from the authentic flavors she tried in her 9+ years living in Southeast China. I'm a sucker for the fragrant milk teas, but everything they do is a hit.
5. El Burrito Mexicano
My coworker Emily raved and raved about a breakfast burrito at El Burrito Mexicano that was allegedly as big as your head, and only like seven bucks. Of course, I was interested. But as I'm ordering this fabled burrito, the chef asks:
As in, do you want to put fries on your burrito? Do you want to combine cheese, egg, peppers, onions, pico de gallo, and fried potatoes in one unforgettable bite? Do you want to experience a spiritual awakening before noon on a Tuesday? I said "yes" and never looked back.
6. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Okay I know this isn't a local place. Jeni's is based out of Columbus (but ssh don't tell Nashville they can't claim it). But their shop is consistently the first one in the Farmers' Market to have a line out the door. The smell of their aromatic waffle cones is intoxicating. Their ice creams are diverse--some are bold and adventurous, others are decadent and comforting. All of them are worth trying. As a scoop shop veteran myself, I could write posts and posts about what they do, but for our purposes you just need to try the Brown Butter Almond Brittle to understand why it would be ridiculous to leave them off of this list.
How was my sales pitch for the Nashville Farmers' Market? They may be down to half-capacity seating, but the experience will leave your hearts and bellies full.
Honorable mentions: Natchez Hills Winery, Jamaicaway, B&C Barbecue, and Farmers Deli & Grill (great veggie burger!).