Travel · Vegan Eats

A Disappointed Vegan in Nashville

Two important things to note up front about this post:

  1. I had no control over most of this trip as it was planned by someone else. I told them I was vegan and trusted them to find me some options.
  2. I still had a blast. If I’d had more control, the vegan food was the only thing I would have changed because I know there’s great vegan food in Nashville.

Okay, Nashville night one!

The whole trip started with my flight being delayed by a couple hours. By the time I caught up with my group, they were already at dinner. They were kind enough to order me a plate of fries and a large salad. I honestly don’t know if there were other vegan options at Puckett’s because I never saw a menu. I quickly ate what my friends had ordered before we had to head out to the Grand Ole Opry.

I have never been a country music fan, but seeing it live in this setting was pretty cool. I had a good time even though I didn’t walk away liking country any more. We sat up in the balcony, and that was a good place to sit to the point that I wouldn’t pay more for floor seats if I had the option.

The morning dawned on day two cold and windy. Only half the group had gotten up early so we decided to walk around the corner from where we were staying for coffee at Frothy Monkey.

Starving because I hadn’t had much to eat the night before, I was thrilled to see some herbed tofu over quinoa on the menu, so I ordered it. This was easily the best meal I had the whole trip–guys, it was a whole block of tofu. It kept me full for most of the day where pickings were pretty slim.

After breakfast we went back home to get ready for the day. The fire alarm in our building went off halfway through (the building was old and being remodeled, so no real danger). We used the time to chat with some of the permanent residents in the building. Once the fire department had cleared the building, we put on our matching flannels (this was a bachelorette party after all) and headed Ryman Auditorium, the original stage for the Grand Ole Opry.

This was a pretty cool tour, even if it was a bit expensive. It included a photo onstage that you could take home if you’re into that kind of thing. Once again, country music isn’t really my thing, but I enjoyed hearing about the history of the building that started as a tabernacle and became a stronghold for music in the South. If you enjoy country music, you’ll really enjoy the exhibits and memorabilia they have in glass cases all around the place.

We wandered Nashville and the Gulch, eventually stopping to rest our legs at The Public House. Now at this point I’d taken a peek at the menu where we had dinner reservations and knew there wasn’t much for me there. As there wasn’t a ton for me at the pub either, I ordered a plate of fries just to get some food in me.

After some food and a rest, we headed to a store called Two Old Hippies at the behest of one of the group. There were a lot of beautiful things in the store, most of which were overpriced. However, if you like to shop, definitely make this a stop. There’s a stage inside the store and they were playing music while we were there if that’s more your speed.

For dinner we headed to Skull’s Rainbow Room in Historic Printer’s Alley. The place looks and feels like a speakeasy, and they do nightly burlesque shows. But I’m going to tell you now, if you are vegan, skip this place. There was nothing there for me but a salad without the croutons. And it was tiny. I even chatted with our server to see if we could modify anything and it was a no go. I was very happy I’d eaten something before I came. On the plus side, my bill was under $20 for the salad and a cocktail.

We spent the rest of the night bouncing in an out of bars on Broadway (Nashville’s answer to the Las Vegas Strip). Every bar had live music and multiple levels, usually a different band on each level. My favorite stop of the night was The Tin Roof. The band was decent and playing grunge music instead of country, and up on the second level it was less crowded and we could breathe. All in all it was a good night, but once again I was so happy I ate something more than a tiny salad beforehand.

Our flights left the next morning. We ended up at City Fire for brunch. There were some vegan options there, but they were all modifications. Unfortunately, they messed mine up the first time and I had to send it back. When it came back to me though, it was a good piece of avocado toast, though a giant plate of hash browns would have been nice (they weren’t on the menu, and I’m not sure they’re a Nashville thing because I don’t remember seeing them on any menu).

I resorted to a roasted veggie sandwich at an airport cafe for some real sustenance before heading home.

I want to insert here something from my past trips to Nashville; I’ve been twice before, for different reasons. The partying is something you can do no matter what, but I have had some really good vegan food when I had more control over the restaurants we visited. Make sure you stop at the Nashville Farmer’s Market. It’s a great place to shop for more than food but I don’t think I have to tell you that a farmer’s market is going to have a ton of veggie options. Two other notable stops are Milk & Honey in The Gulch–despite their name, they have quite a few vegan options at any time of day–and Husk Nashville–an upscale dining experience you’ll recognize if you ever watched Mind of a Chef; their menu highlights a lot of unique Southern vegetables and if you let them know ahead of time that you’re vegan, they are more than happy to accommodate you and make sure your opinion of Southern food will never be the same.

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