Family Travel

The Loveless Cafe – Our Favorite Lunch Spot in Nashville

OK, so who am I trying to kid with that headline? The Loveless Cafe is more than our favorite lunch spot in Nashville, it’s one of our favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner places anywhere in North America.

From the very first time I visited there with my girls (on the suggestion of a friend) I was hooked and couldn’t wait to return with hubby on our next trip. I just knew that this down-home cafe would be right up his alley, serving all of those southern dishes he has come to love over the years of our marriage (his mother still does not understand why her son has decided grits are fit to eat but there you have it, this Canadian boy is a fan.)

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Love seeing the neon sign all lit up at night

Situated to the southwest of downtown Nashville (past Belle Meade) the Loveless is actually a collection of buildings on TN-100 that house not only the cafe and its tantalizing menu but also a selection of eclectic shops. We’ve managed to avoid traffic by driving at off hours and sticking to the edge of the city but rush hour traffic can be awful (just like any other big city I suppose.)

I love that the cafe has a history. From the beginning (in 1951) when Lon and Annie Loveless opened their doors to serve delicious fried chicken and biscuits to hungry travelers to today, this Nashville landmark does not disappoint. (I would have loved to stay in one of their little motel rooms back in the day.)

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On our last visit with our grandson, we arrived to find a line-up out the front door of the cafe so wait we put our name on the list and took advantage of our time to wander around the grounds and see what there was to see (did I say see? I should say experience!)

A heady aroma greets you as you near the smokehouse. I applaud the pitmasters working in the sunny heat to bring their guests some of the best BBQ I’ve tasted anywhere (and I used to work for a man that competed at Kansas City!) I’m certain this is the point where hubby began to drool.

The folks at the Loveless Cafe know how to take care of their guests and we were quickly offered a basket of bean bags (corn bags?) to play a game of corn hole on one of the boards located around the grounds. EJ loved outsmarting his papa and winning the game.

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Next, he was off to pose in one of the photo boards (he made us each take turns so his mom could see what fun we were having.)

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This photo is from a visit with our girls

Walking into the different shops we managed to do some shopping for the folks at home. A T-shirt EJ said was perfect for his mom, some T-towels and cookbooks for our girls, and some items that I just knew would be perfect for our kitchen.

And who can resist a visit to “Hams and Jams” where you can stock up on their delicious jams and preserves plus order up some of their amazing pulled pork to go (it’s perfect for a picnic lunch, served up with their cole slaw and baked beans).

EJ was carrying the buzzer and ran off to the cafe as soon as he felt it rumble. This boy was ready for some lunch. Checking out the kids menu his only decision was what to have with his macaroni and cheese (his absolute favorite food in the whole wide world) but we adults had a tougher time.

Country fried steak? Fried chicken? Fried pork chop dinner? Or one of the daily specials (there is a different one for each day of the week). There are so many choices and everything looks delicious!

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I finally decided on the fried pork chop dinner with creamed corn (so good I make their recipe at home!), mashed potatoes and gravy.

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Hubby chose the pork barbecue with creamed corn and mac & cheese.

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And EJ ordered chicken fingers with his mac & cheese.

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I must also share with you a picture of the Loveless Fried Chicken (same recipe since 1951) that we ordered on another visit. It was amazing!

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And of course, every meal is served up with the famous Loveless Cafe biscuits served with their own preserves, so good you’ll want to make them at home. They have a special recipe for these (of course it does involve quite a long drive for some of us!)

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Why am I suddenly feeling hungry?

Sadly, while my photos conjure up delicious memories of meals shared with my family at the Loveless (I can taste them right now) they can’t share the amazing aroma and flavor of this down home southern food. Of course, you can always order some of their tasty treats by mail or, better yet, plan a summer vacation to the area. It’s definitely one of our favorite spots!

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About Kimberley Linkletter

I'm a homeschooling grandma who loves to travel with her family. Road trips are some of our favorite things! I write about our adventures at www.vintagebluesuitcase.ca.
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