Franklin, Tennessee, is a charming hamlet approximately 20 miles south of Nashville, offers much of the same that draws travelers to Music City, just on a way more intimate level. Franklin boasts an award-winning historic Main Street, layers of Civil War history, and top-notch music venues.
All are compelling reasons to visit Franklin. And, once there, visitors will no doubt become hungry and thirsty, right? Good thing Franklin (and its neighbor, Leiper’s Fork) features incredible dining options and finely-crafted spirits to suit just about every taste and budget. Below are top recommendations for where to eat and drink in Franklin, Tennessee.
Voted Best Bakery in Williamson County, Tennessee, Merridee’s Breadbasket is all about tradition and doing things “the old-fashioned way”. Everything at Merridee’s is made from scratch, starting with mouthwatering pastries and breads to accompany breakfast.
Open Monday through Saturday at 7:00 AM, Merridee’s also serves lunch each day and dinner on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. Feel like just having a beverage and listening to live music? That’s possible at Merridee’s, too. Stop in the beer garden featuring local craft beers and stay for a live set by local musicians.
What started as an Airstream food truck, Biscuit Love has become an iconic all-day brunch spot in Franklin. These days, the operation is housed in an historic mansion off of Franklin’s Main Square. It’s where owners Karl and Sarah Worley create locally-sourced, scratch-made Southern staples with a fun twist.
Diners can choose from “with a biscuit” items like the Wash Park (Buttermilk Biscuit, 2 Beef Burger Patties, Grandmommy’s Pimento Cheese, Bacon, Jam, 1 Fried Egg) or “without a biscuit” options such as the Colfax (Cheese Grits, Topped with Tomatillo Braised Beef, Red Salsa, and 2 Eggs). As the Worleys say, they at Biscuit Love nourish not only stomachs, but also souls.
Brought to Franklin by the owners of the Ruby Slipper cafes in New Orleans, Ruby Sunshine is an all-day brunch spot on the Main Street square in downtown Franklin. Ruby Sunshine features fresh and local ingredients and dishes are made-to-order in the scratch kitchen. The menu is a feast on its own making it nearly impossible to choose just one dish.
Diners can go with one of the Ruby Sunshine specialties like catfish & grits, or opt for something a bit more decadent like bacon praline pancakes. There are lighter-fare options as well as “eye-opening” cocktails.
This taco shop “with a Tennessee twist” is named after a co-ower’s pet bull. That’s correct, a 2,000-pound PET bull. (Just a fun fact.) Back at Mojo’s, handmade corn and flour tortillas are filled with slow-smoked meats and seafood, and sauces made daily from scratch. The menu is always evolving and, along with tacos, features favorites like nachos and quesadillas. An example of a type of taco with a Tennessee twist is the Hot Chicken: hand-breaded chicken tender with chipotle slaw and poblano sauce.
The bar menu is just as impressive and inventive as the food menu, with cocktails like a Tequila Old Fashioned and Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita. It’s worth noting that Mojo’s Tacos is “a fast-casual, quick-serve restaurant” that does not take reservations. The tacos and the experience are well worth the wait, though.
Leiper’s Fork Distillery
Situated on 27 acres, Leiper’s Fork Distillery is the culmination of a life-long dream of owner Lee Kennedy. It’s also a tribute to the time-honored traditions of Tennessee whiskey. Within those 27 scenic acres is a 200-year-old cabin which was built by one of the area’s earliest settlers. Kennedy had it moved to its current location and now it serves as the focal point of the distillery.
The property has expanded to include a 5,000-square foot, timber-frame still house. It is where Leiper’s Fork Distillery’s premium whiskeys are made with local grains and pure limestone-filtered water. Stop by for a tour and tasting and try to plan a visit to coincide with one of the distillery’s live-music events known as The Still House Sessions.
For a completely intimate dining experience, look no further than 1892 Restaurant in Leiper’s Fork. The restaurant occupies a home built in 1892; hence, the name. The interior maintains the charm and décor one might expect of that time. The dining room is low-lit, the tables are a comfortable distance apart but not so spread out, and the dark green wallpaper and period photographs can make diners feel as if they’ve gone back in time.
The seasonal farm-to-table fare even pays homage to the culinary traditions of that era. 1892 Restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner (reservations recommended for dinner service). The menu features salads & openers; sandwiches; small plates; and entrees. Guests are encouraged to bring their preferred wine and spirits to accompany meals, while 1892 Restaurant does offer some local beers.
Don’t Miss Visiting Franklin
It is easy for neighboring towns to be lost in the shadows of Music City, but Franklin has forged its way to the forefront. Do not skip the chance to visit Franklin when traveling through Middle Tennessee!
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Article written by Francesca Mazurkiewicz of The Working Moms Travels.
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