The 11 Best Nashville Restaurants Featured On Diners, Drive-Ins And Dives

A popular show on the Food Network, "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" features original dishes from across the country. Hosted by "The Next Food Network Star" season two winner Guy Fieri, DDD (as it's commonly referred to) takes viewers into otherwise unknown restaurants and introduces them to unique and flavorful dishes. First airing in 2007, "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" is still serving up fresh episodes 37 seasons later with Fieri driving up in a bright red 1968 Chevy convertible (fun fact: Fieri doesn't really drive the red Camaro to every "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" spot.) The show is so popular, it has a spin-off called "Triple D Nation" where Fieri revisits his favorite locations.

Most thought of for its southern barbecue, Nashville is home to an eclectic melting pot of authentic cuisine from Italian to Greek to Jamaican. All the flavors are what keep Fieri coming back to Music City and featuring an array of diners and dives. From food trucks bursting with popularity that they need their own permanent shop, to Korean-style Nashville hot chicken, and a bacon burger with a special ingredient, Fieri shines a culinary spotlight on the Nashville food scene. Here are 11 of the best Nashville-area restaurants featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives."

1. The Grilled Cheeserie

The classic grilled cheese gets a sophisticated upgrade at The Grilled Cheeserie. Create your own or pick from one of the six specialty melts, including the Pimento Mac & Chee made with Tennessee cheddar cheese, homemade mayo, and roasted red peppers. "You just want a little bit of noodle," explains owner Crystal De Luna-Bogan on Season 18 Episode 12 of "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives." "It's just for some texture, but it's mostly about the cheese."

Fieri particularly enjoyed the pimento mac & cheese sandwich, which is topped with bacon bits, tomatoes, and more cheese, before being grilled to brown perfection. He describes the sandwich as "having a kick to it," but enjoys it most dipped in the homemade roasted red pepper tomato soup. "It takes me back to childhood," Fieri raves.

Le Cordon Blue-trained Chef De Luna-Bogan and her husband Joseph started the cheesy shop as a roaming food truck in 2010. The fact that only local, never-processed ingredients are used made The Grilled Cheeserie a popular spot. It even made our list of the best food and drink in Tennessee in 2019. 

2. Pie Town Tacos

Located in the Pie Town area of downtown Nashville is a small house serving up big Mexican flavors in the form of street tacos and homemade nachos. But Pie Town Tacos still pays homage to its southern roots with its Nashville Hot Chicken Nachos. Fried chicken is dredged in a curated blend of spices that's been "bloomed" in hot oil. "It brings out all that flavor in all those spices," explains Owner Jason Crockarell.

Fieri describes the chicken and made-from-scratch green chile queso nachos as "legit." In Episode 16 of Season 35, he jokes, "When you tell people in Nashville that they're getting Nashville hot chicken nachos, you gotta deliver." And the diners agree: "It's the best you can get... with all those spices."

Pie Town Tacos began during the pandemic when husband and wife owners Jason and Lea Crockarell's catering company took a massive hit. The pair quickly changed course and turned their love of food into a casual taco shop with the intention of keeping their beloved employees working. Since opening in 2020, Pie Town Tacos remains a friendly and flavorful local favorite.

3. East Side Bahn Mi

Traditional Vietnamese food comes to Nashville with one of the only places to get Vietnamese sandwiches (known as bhan mi) in the city. East Side Bahn Mi in East Nashville wows Guy Fieri with its take on the original bahn mi, aptly named "No. 1" which resembles a cold cut sandwich.

At the center of the sandwich is the homemade baguette, which takes three days to make and is lighter than a typical French baguette. On that goes ham hock smoked in-house, homemade spreadable pate, bologna, homemade mayo butter, spices, and seasoning sauce. Fieri says he got goosebumps when eating the sandwich, calling it "legendary," on Episode 15 of Season 35. He describes the pate as "lights out — so rich, velvety, silky."

Chefs Gracie Nguyen and Chad Newton moved from San Francisco to Nashville to open East Side Bahn Mi, which they describe as fine casual. The menu stays true to its Vietnamese roots using Nguyen's grandmother's recipes.

4. Caffe Nonna

Rooted in more than 100 years of tradition, Caffe Nonna in west Nashville is rustic Italian food that has all the comforts of home. No wonder it was featured on the "Family Time" episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" (Season 18, Episode 12). At the center of the homemade menu is the Lasagna Nonna, a whopping eight-layer lasagna that's a worthy namesake of this beloved restaurant. Nonna's own marinara sauce, spinach, butternut squash, whipped ricotta with herbs, mozzarella, and parmesan are layered between thick lasagna noodles to make this classic Italian dish a vegetable-packed comfort food. "You've put a lot of time and work into this," says Fieri. "And it tastes like it."

Caffe Nonna's recipes originate from Italy's Abruzzi region, where Esther Carapella (aka: Nonna) learned to cook in the 20s. Her family brought the recipes to the United States where her grandson, Chef Daniel Maggipinto, opened Caffe Nonna in her honor. Diners say they come to Nonna's for its family feel. "Homestyle preparation feels like you are sitting at Grandma's house."

5. Bottle Cap

Upscale bar food is the cornerstone of Bottle Cap, a popular sports bar in the trendy 12 South neighborhood of Nashville. When Guy Fieri visited in Episode 1 of Season 36, two menu items stole his taste buds: the carne asada fries, made with braised short rib, salsa, and crema; and the Titan Burger, a signature dish of the neighborhood restaurant.

The Titan Burger is monstrous, with one manager telling the Belmont Vision, the local student newspaper, it has "one of everything we have." The burger has two beef patties, a chicken tender, fried egg, bacon, cheese, tomato, pickle, and special sauce. But, there's more. It's then topped with an onion ring, jalapeno popper, mozzarella sticks, and pepperoncinis. It's served with your choice of french fries, chips, or salad.

With more than a dozen televisions, Bottle Cap aims to be a sports hangout worthy of a date night. On nice days, the restaurant opens its garage doors to allow for indoor/outdoor dining. Guy Fieri also recommends the happy hour for its low drink prices. 

6. Redheaded Stranger

Located in hip East Nashville, Redheaded Stranger is a local's taco joint featured in Season 36, Episode 2. Homemade flour tortillas are the base of these delicious tacos, with the "No. 8" being one of Guy Fieri's favorites. It's stuffed with whipped feta, rice, roasted poblano pepper, and hot sauce. Other Fieri favorites include the totchos (think nachos but with tater tots instead of tortilla chips), and the hatch chili cheeseburger. This place is popular so if there's a line, Fieri urges you to wait promising the food is worth it!

Executive Chef Bryan Lee Weaver's love of food began as a teenager while working as a dishwasher at a small Mexican restaurant. He went on to run kitchens in both California and Tennessee before opening Redheaded Stranger in 2019. Named after a Willie Nelson album, Weaver strives to serve authentic tastes in a laid back atmosphere. Redheaded Stranger's patio is often busy on nice Nashville days and evenings.

7. Chaatable

Indian street food in the heart of Nashville — that's the premise behind Chaatable. With a vast menu, carnivores and vegetarians will each find an array of tasty dishes, but the lamb sliders is what brought Guy Fieri to Chaatable. The owners describe the sliders as "a kabob on a bun," incorporating numerous Indian spices into its ground lamb to make the perfect patty. The homemade mint and jalapeno chutney adds even more flavor, as does the homemade Indian slaw. One bite and Fieri was blown away. "There's so much flavor going on inside this patty," he raves. "It's big and ferocious and flavorful and that is a dynamite dish."

Partners Maneet Chauhan and Vivek Deora met in college in India and have shared a love of food since then. In Hindu "chaat" literally means "lick" and is a common word used to describe handheld bites. And the name does not lie. Customer rave about Chaatable saying, "This tastes like 15 things, every bite you're taking." Currently, Chaatable is looking for a new spot to move into, but the owners promise the restaurant is coming back.

8. Soy Bistro

Just 10 miles south of Nashville in the suburb of Brentwood lies a small Korean restaurant that prides itself on southern hospitality. And it's Soy Bistro's homage to Nashville hot chicken that caught Guy Fieri's attention in Season 34, Episode 13.

First, the chef brines the chicken for 2 hours before searing it with siracha and chili oil. The chicken is served on a bed of lettuce topped with toasted sesame seeds and green onions with a side of house creamy wasabi coleslaw. "I like the heat [of the chicken] but it's not overwhelming," explains Fieri. In a town known for fried chicken, Fieri describes this Korean spin as a nice alternative because it's not fried, saying "you're getting the fix you want without all the calories that you probably don't need."

Originally founded by Chris and Hannah Lee, the dishes and flavors are inspired by Hannah's mother and grandmother. In 2010, the family sold the business to long-time customer and Chef Kenji Ichikawa who aims to keep the original community-based concept alive. Customers rave about its friendly atmosphere, with one saying, "Ichikawa just makes you feel welcome and it's always fun."

9. Riddim N Spice

After huge success as a food truck, Riddim N Spice is relatively new to the brick-and-mortar scene. Located in North Nashville, the Jamaican spices and aromas draw customers in, as well as Food Network's Guy Fieri. On the "Sandwiches and Spice" episode (Season 34, Episode 14), Fieri tried the vegetarian-friendly BBQ Jerk Jackfruit dish. Starting with a base of Jamaican rice and peas or a choice of rice, the barbecue jackfruit is piled high along with a variety of toppings for a Caribbean bowl built to the customer's liking. For meat eaters, there's a similar version made with oxtail, a staple in Caribbean cuisine.

Chef Kamal Kalokoh built Riddim N Spice after traveling the world perfecting his culinary skills. Kalokoh wanted to bring Jamaican food and flavors to the neighborhood in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere. The fresh offerings landed Riddim N Spice on the top 25 Nashville restaurants in 2022 by The Tennessean.

10. Athens Family Restaurant

In its "Burgers 'N More" episode (Season 9, Episode 11), Guy Fieri traveled to Nashville to try a unique burger from an authentic Greek restaurant. Located near Belmont University, Athens Family Restaurant is putting its own touch on a traditional bacon burger by including lamb, a popular meat in Greek cuisine. Chefs combine ground lamb and beef to make the patty, then wrap it with bacon. The burger is topped with Swiss cheese, 1000 island dressing, and a small amount of crushed red pepper for a hint of spice. Reviewers of the burger say it's gigantic and hard for one person to finish.

Fieri is a fan of several other items on the menu, as well. He loves the crunch of the kotopita, a traditional Greek dish made of dough stuffed with chicken, feta cheese, and vegetables, as well as the meatballs baked in tomato sauce.

Athens Family Restaurant prides itself on serving customers large portions without high prices. The concept is so popular that the owners, Adel and Dina Elostta, opened a second restaurant in Sarasota, Florida in 2019.

11. Nickys Coal Fired

Guy Fieri travels back to Nashville in Season 34. In Episode 15, he visits the popular Italian restaurant Nickys Coal Fired. Located in West Nashville, Nickys is known for its traditional Italian food in a comfortable family setting. In the "Traditional Twists" episode Fieri teams up with Executive Chef Tony Galzin to try two of the restaurant's favorite dishes. 

The "Hey Paisano" pizza has a white sauce base and is loaded with mozzarella cheese, capicola, and red onion. The not-so-secret ingredient to make this pizza stand out is the drizzle of hot honey. All the pizzas at Nickys Coal Fired are cooked in the state's only coal-burning oven. 

And it's not a visit to an Italian restaurant without trying the homemade meatballs. Nickys Coal Fired makes them with a mixture of beef and pork, along with breadcrumbs, milk, Parmigiano cheese, and herbs, and then bakes them until perfectly browned. The giant meatballs can be ordered on their own or on top of a heaping pile of spaghetti.

Chef Galzin started Nickys Coal Fired with his wife, Caroline, in 2016 based on his Italian roots. The pair focus on fresh dishes using seasonal ingredients and traditional recipes.