Merchants Restaurant

Row 1

401 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 254-1892
New American, Bar
$ $
Mon–Sun: 11:00 AM–Midnight

The menu at Merchants, a lively two-part restaurant — a cool contemporary dining room upstairs, a casual place at street level — on an intensely touristy stretch of Broadway in Nashville, Tenn., says "Est. 1892." That's stretching things a bit. The Merchant's Hotel was constructed on the site that year, and went on to host such country music luminaries as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton before the neighborhood went to hell in the mid-20th century and the place declined into a flophouse and possibly a brothel. An optimistic entrepreneur reopened it as a restaurant in 1988. Since then it has had several owners, with the most recent bunch taking over last year.

They seem to have found a winning formula. While the upstairs offers olive oil-poached halibut and filet of beef with crushed fingerling potatoes and pickled onion rings, the bar-and-grillish (and cheaper) downstairs specializes in salads and sandwiches, plus main dishes like fish tacos and smoked brisket with homemade cornbread. The fried green tomato appetizer, served with rather spicy homemade pimento cheese, is particularly popular.

But even better (especially if you can talk them into giving you some pimento cheese on the side) is the fried green tomato sandwich. This might be called a BAT, consisting of leafy arugula, smoky country bacon (nice and crisp), and the green tomatoes, plump, acidic, and crisp-fried, on multi-grain bread. Little wisps of raw red onion add texture and a dressing of malt vinegar-spiked mayo etches a fine sharp line around the other elements. It's a great mouthful of southern flavors. — Colman Andrews, 6/13/2011

Foursquare Tips

  • Some of the best cocktails in downtown Nashville - these bartenders are amazing!
  • Really bright with lots of windows. Ask for Daniel to be your server. He's the best
  • The fish tacos are amazing!! The pimento grits are even better!
  • Also the staff is very very very friendly....great customer service!
  • Whiskey Disco every Sunday at 10pm. $2 beers and good times
  • Duck fat fried tater tots. Bacon, you have a challenger.
  • We ate at the bar. Best popcorn ever. Free while you wait for your meal. It has a ranch powder coating. Delicious!
  • Nice bourbon selection, but they were out of the Pappy when I stopped in... Fun and casual in the downstairs dining room, great bartenders and cocktails
  • Ask for Annette Dupont to be your server!
  • Service was awful. Ended up leaving because we sat for 10 minutes without acknowledgment.
  • If you're vegan they offer a portabello mushroom burger!
  • Pro service, great fish tacos.
  • There are two bartenders named Josh. Ask either one for a Vieux Carre. Amazing drink! Those guys are the best bartenders in Nashville.
  • Classic Nashville Landmark has gotten a fresh update. Best Downtown business lunchspot.
  • A must if downtown, for food OR drinks! Beautiful space, people-watching out the windows, & excellent bartenders crafting quality cocktails. Try the Amaretto Sour! And the duck fat tots, of course.
  • Great cocktails and chicken fried chicken. Tater tots are the best ever. For a more quiet dinner, sit outside or in the room adjacent to the bar
  • Chicken fried chicken.
  • Food is solid southern cuisine. Only issue is no air conditioning....Nashville, 91 degrees, humid.....
  • Macaroni and cheese with blackened chicken. Excellent!
  • The blackened tilapia is to die for! Get the duck fat tater tots too.