The Best of “Taste of Nashville”

With new restaurants rolling into Vanderbilt’s “Taste of Nashville” program, we at Her Campus decided to poll the student population to find out the best (and worst) on the list. I had students around campus rank their top 10 picks, as well choose a restaurant for a very special award I like to call “Never Heard of Her”. Have your own thoughts or opinions about the “Taste of Nashville” rankings? Comment below!

 

#10: Smoothie King

A staple for anyone working out at the rec center (or just anyone who lives on Highland and is sick of Rocket Subs), Smoothie King and their (not-always) healthy selection of smoothies keep Vanderbilt students up and running.

 

#9: I Love Juice Bar

Like Smoothie King got a glow-up, but also not really. Featuring fancy juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, power shots, and a variety of healthy food options, the I Love Juice Bar brings a little bit of the Southern California lifestyle to Nashville. It also happens to be directly next to the Grilled Cheeserie, so you can have lots of gluten to go with your green juice.

 

#8: Sitar Indian Restaurant

On the corner of West End and 21st there is a hidden gem—sketchy-looking on the outside, 1980’s-fine-dining-esque on the inside, but somehow produces pretty good Indian food. For all of my spice-fearing white folk (calling myself out here, too), each dish is made specifically with your preferred spice level in mind. While they don’t deliver to Vandy students, you can call in take-out orders for those nights at home.

 

#7: Chuy’s

I’m slightly shocked that this wasn’t higher on the list, but I guess it is pretty far to walk for anyone not living in Kissam. Truly one of the greatest loves of my life, Chuy’s features above-average Tex-Mex (although my Texan roommate would likely disagree), chips that are gone in 2.5 seconds, and amazing margs. Their portions are larger than life, so there is always a Chuy’s leftover meal to have the following day. Pro-tip: Every Monday-Friday from 4-7 PM you can get unlimited free nachos!! The best happy hour a girl could ask for, IMO.

 

#6: Thai Satay

Noodles, weird salads, and reasonable boba tea—oh my! While I absolutely love their pad thai, NEVER let them give you a “side salad”... always opt for the spring roll, unless you like iceberg lettuce with a single slice of tomato. Over the summer I discovered their thai wings are actually kind of to-die-for, so grab an order next time you pop in for a “drunken noodle”.

 

#5: Mellow Mushroom

In the mood for pizza and want to spend too much money for it? Mellow Mushroom is your place! Don’t get me wrong, I love their pizza flavors—quirky, yet flavorful combinations I never would have thought of myself—but sometimes I just can’t bring myself to spend $20 on a pizza craving I could have spent $10 on at Papa John’s. Their redeeming factor is definitely in the appetizer portion of the menu—their amazing pretzel bites and fun Nashville specials are so good that my friend once drank their liquid cheese with a straw.

 

#4: Biscuit Love

An absolute gem of Nashville…that I’ve never been to. Apparently a family business that serves breakfast, lunch, and brunch, Biscuit Love “want[s] to offer you the best dining experience from the moment you wait in line until you’ve eaten the very last crumb of your biscuit”. I sure hope that’s true, because I’ve heard the lines can be pretty ridiculous (not Shake Shack ridiculous, but pretty bad nonetheless). Since it came in at number 4, I guess I’ll have to suck it up and try this tourist trap at some point.

 

#3: Chili’s Grill & Bar

So, remember earlier when I said Chuy’s is one of my greatest loves? I guess I lied, because Chili’s has my whole heart. Always a little bit dirty and sticky, and with mediocre food that I honestly don’t even like that much, I almost never turn down the opportunity for a visit to this amazingly average restaurant. Another “Taste of Nashville” gem that serves 2 for 1 margs and $5 margaritas of the month during happy hour. Their skillet cookie also may be the best cookie on earth.

 

#2: Nama Sushi Bar

I’ve only ever gotten sushi at Nama, because I’ve only ever gone on half-priced sushi nights (Monday and Thursday!), but whatever is in this photo looks pretty delicious. Good vibes and cheap sushi (on Mondays and Thursdays, of course) make for a nice place to de-stress while feeling semi-fancy. When it’s nice outside, they have a cute outdoor patio for anyone willing to brave the bachelorette passerbys.

 

#1: Hopdoddy Burger Bar

Great food, great beer, spiked (or not) milkshakes—the newest restaurant in Hillsboro Village has everything a Vandy student needs to get through another week of academia. Their signature dishes are shareable fries: huge bowls of interesting fry varieties I never knew I needed in my life (fries covered in queso! fries covered in parmesan! fries covered in honey!). Their burgers aren’t too shabby either; they even carry the Impossible™ burger for all your vegetarian friends who complain when burgers are suggested for dinner. Seriously though, sometimes I think Vandy students think we own our favorite restaurants on the card. On any given night, the population in Hopdoddy is at least 85% Vanderbilt undergrads. While I want all of you to try the #1 “Taste of Nashville” restaurant, I also want all of you to go home while I’m eating there.

 

Never Heard of Her: Grabbagreen

Who? I literally know nothing about this restaurant (or is it a cafe?) but their Instagram looks like a cross between the I Love Juice Bar and a healthy Chipotle/a Rand bowl but oval. Of the students polled, 79% had never heard of Grabbagreen outside of its listing on our dining app. All the way past Chuy’s and Hattie B’s, Grabbagreen seems way out of Vandy students’ typical bubble. Not sure if I would eat here, but I’m definitely not wasting precious meal money to find out.