Nashville Road Trip: Vegan Eats & More
Normally when its our anniversary, hubby and I usually are on a beach somewhere, but this year, we both loved the idea of a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee. Neither of us had ever visited 'Music City' and I was more than ready to check out some of the vegan eats I had been eying on Instagram.
Nashville is about 7 hours from Chicago and we both split the driving time both ways. With some good conversation and a bumpin' playlist, the ride was not bad at all.
We stayed downtown at the Grand Hyatt Nashville, which we found out was recently opened. This hotel was lovely and featured posh decor, live music, a rooftop lounge with city views, outdoor pool, multiple bars, an on-site coffee shop, restaurants and helpful staff. I didn't eat much at the hotel, so I can not speak to just how vegan-friendly it is, but I did find out that the on-site coffee shop, Hummingbird, offers oat milk, soy milk and some vegan-friendly snacks and light bites. Both me and my husband said whenever we're in Nashville, Grand Hyatt it is!
What we ate (Vegan-Friendly Eats):
Copper Branch: This is a 100% vegan fast-casual spot with multiple locations in Canada, one in Portland and one in downtown Nashville. They were about a ten minute walk/2 minute drive from our hotel. I saw they served Just Egg, so I hit them up for quick breakfast a few mornings. I ordered the Ultimate Breakfast Skillet and the Cinnamon Bun Breakfast Sandwich, which I was REALLY excited about. I enjoyed the skillet, but did not like the Cinnamon Bun Breakfast Sandwich at all. There was a tangy sauce on the sweet cinnamon roll that I could not get down with. Day two, I ordered nachos and the Just Egg Wrap, both were decent. Both days, I enjoyed their salted caramel oat milk latte. Overall, the food was a solid B-, but the super sweet staff made me want to come back. My hubby tried their Just Egg Huevos Rancheros and he really enjoyed it (his first time having Just Egg).
Graze: I had been following Graze for a while, so this was my first dinner stop. This spot is in a cute, bustling shopping and dining center less than minutes from our hotel. We started with the Szechuan Brussels, which were pretty good. I really enjoyed the crunchy texture. For my meal, I ordered the Roasted Veggie Burrito that was just ok, and my husband ordered the spinach Citrus Caesar Salad. I stole a bite per usual and I basically took over his plate because it was so good! Long story short, I ended up finishing his salad.
Assembly Food Hall: A few steps from Honkey Tonk Highway and nestled inside the shopping and dining area, Fifth + Broadway, Assembly Food Hall features multiple restaurants in one area. I had Indian eats from Saffron Kitchen and enjoyed my very first handmade steamed bao from Steam Boys.
Marsh House: For our anniversary night dinner, we hit up the romantic Marsh House, which is not a vegan restaurant, but the staff did an awesome job at accommodating me. I called in advance to find out what type of options they had and they assured me that although the menu does not mention "vegan", that they could make tweaks to several dishes on the menu to "veganize" them. Our server, Katelyn was the absolute sweetest and so attentive. With her guidance, I decided to try the Basil Torchietto pasta appetizer (minus the brown butter and uni) and it was tantalizing! I was honestly shocked because I wasn't expecting this pasta dish (with two ingredients omitted) to pack so much flavor. I also had a side of their Chipotle Sweet Potatoes (grilled, not fried, as they informed me they use the same fryer as the meat) and these were amazing - smoky and sweet!
Butcher & Bee: This was my absolute favorite dining experience during our stay in Nashville. From the adorably quaint outdoor patio, to the tantalizing Mediterranean/Middle-eastern eats, to our super cool server (who also happened to originally be from Illinois AND vegan), everything was perfection. This spot has a bunch of vegan options and I ate SO GOOD! We opted to order the Chef's Choice, which included multiple courses of tapas style tastings of their weekly changing menu. There were about 5 courses and we both left out of there stuffed and happy. I highly recommend the Chef's Choice to get the whole experience and a variety of menu items. This place had the best hummus I have ever had in my life. I told my husband, we had to come back just so I could enjoy it again. FYI this spot also gluten-free friendly.
What We Did:
National Museum of African American Music: If you are in Nashville, do not leave without having this interactive museum experience. I loved learning about our rich history and how much of an impact our music has made on American culture. There is so much to take in from the extensive history, the engaging exhibits and the interactive stations where you can create your own beats, battle rap and much more.
Fisk University: We stopped by the campus of Fisk University to honor the legacy of those that came before us. We both were caught up in the emotion and history walking the grounds. This is Nashville's oldest HBCU and was established in 1865, less than six months of slavery being abolished! This is just another example of just how resilient, driven and unstoppable my people are.
12South: This shopping and dining destination is filled with boutiques, vintage shops and restaurants for a few blocks. This is where I found this super cute floral "Nash" photo backdrop and they had a farmers market stand. This area is definitely worth a visit if you want to shop locally.
Overall, I would rate my Nashville experience an A and would definitely go back to experience more places, especially since I didn't get to hit up everywhere on my wish list. The southern charm of Music City won us over! Have you been to Nashville lately?