Essential Eateries in Germantown, Nashville
Did someone say they wanted to explore the cutest neighborhood in Nashville? Germantown is home to many of my favorite places, but the greatest part of any trip to this side of town is just checking out the area. Rent one of the pay-per-minute bikes and ride around the neighborhood before stopping your silver bicycle at Red Bicycle. The red brick sidewalks and cozy homes in this area always remind me of New England or Boston. Small streets, filled with cute, brick houses close together with porch swings and impeccably landscaped lawns. Here are some of my favorite spots to grab a snack in Germantown!
No trip to Germantown is complete without a stop at Red Bicycle for a cup of coffee or crepe. I have never had a bad experience, although it can be a tad crowded at times. Normally, I may not have the patience for the lines but there’s always cute pups around that make the wait enjoyable. Last week I wrote about the best coffee shops in Nashville and I was so tempted to include Red Bicycle. They make an amazing Macaroon latte, blended with white chocolate, coconut, and hazelnuts, I never know if my energy comes from the caffeine or the sugar. I am often wary of sweet drinks, never the fan of a caramel macchiato or any of Starbucks’ signature sips, but Red Bicycle has mastered the art of balancing the sweet with the bitter coffee flavor.
Vui’s Kitchen Germantown:
Vui’s kitchen is the perfect balance of fast-casual grab and go, mixed with the classic Nashville aesthetic. The food is served in large white bowls and perfectly presented every time. Martha Stewart always says to serve on white plates to make the colors pop and keep the food looking as good at it tastes. And after all, in the age of Instagram, it seems we eat with our eyes (or cameras) more than our mouths. Overall the white plates add to the overall look of the restaurant and make it seem classy while matching the white chairs and red bricks that seem to define Nashville in 2019.
Interestingly, while serving Vietnamese cuisine, there are few signs of Asian influence. The only hints are paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling and a few red and gold wall hangings. Without these accents, you’d be sure it is another Southern restaurant embracing Nashville’s restaurant scene’s increasingly cohesive look. Behind the wooden bar (with its signs for happy hour 4-7) sits a black accent wall with Vui’s logo. Each other wall is made of red brick, matching the upscale rustic atmosphere the city is known for. Continuing this trend, the main bar where you order has steel metal across the front that matches the serving trays.
If the atmosphere isn’t enough to entice you to visit, the food will. Nothing is fried and there is no MSG so you can feel good about eating at Vui’s Kitchen. They are certified by Eat Real Tennessee as a mark of excellence for their commitment to holistic nutrition and environmental stewardship.
Cosmic Creamery balances the building’s healthy offerings like Vui’s Kitchen and Juice Bar. Offering soft-serve and freak-shakes in a futuristic atmosphere, it is the perfect treat. The shop is small, just large enough to contain excitement as you wait for your treat. The futuristic black light glow coming off the 1980s neon sign mixes with hanging chairs to create a zero-gravity effect. A chrome bar and white walls add to the feeling that you’re on a top-secret mission, traveling through the cosmos. The shop even has a trendy selfie station with a mural wall and swing seat for you to pose on.
You’ll be over the moon when you see the ice cream cones. Served in a black cone and topped with candy, pop tarts, and cereal, this dessert is out of this world.
Tempered Cafe and Chocolate:
The sweet scent of chocolate greets you at the entrance. A glass case sits in the doorway, filled with small batch truffles made in house. Following the chocolate trail, you’ll find that Tempered serves decadent homemade hot chocolate and drinking chocolates. Drinking chocolate, also called Italian Hot Chocolate, is much thicker and richer than your average cup. Tempered makes them with the same filling they use in the truffles so it is sinfully decadent. They are so thick that on cold days I almost fear that the chocolate will harden if I don’t drink it quick enough.
From the gold chairs to the chandelier in the window, every inch of the restaurant breathes elegance. Even the ceiling tiles refuse to settle for ordinary, instead opting for stamped aluminum stained brown. The longer you sit there, the more you notice and the more spectacular it becomes. The shop reminds me of the 1920s and I would not be surprised if you told me there was a hidden speakeasy below the café.
After 8 pm, the shop is transformed into an absinthe bar. ‘The Green Hour,’ the time Tempered spends as a bar, is identifiable by the green light in the window. The same expertise and craftsmanship that will make your perfectly crafted espresso are also applied to your cocktails. They follow the antique recipes to remind you of the Belle Epoque era of Paris. The Green Hour is an indulgent experience where bartenders follow traditional absinthe rituals. The primary ritual, La Louche, is the process of adding iced water to absinthe to dilute the drink and transform the color. Tempered performs the traditional ritual exactly as it was over 100 years ago. The experience becomes as elaborate and elegant as the atmosphere.
A trip to Tempered is much more affordable than a trip to Europe but will inspire you all the same. Be sure to try their brunches and lunches featuring baguettes and imported meats and cheeses. This is the perfect place to indulge in the finer things in life, without breaking the bank.
By far the most casual restaurant on the list, Jack Brown’s serves the essentials: beer and burgers. The regional chain has twelve locations across the southeast but still feels like your neighborhood bar. Offering a twist on the American classic, Jack Brown’s has mastered the burger. They offer interesting combinations like The Elvis, a burger topped with Peanut Butter, Mayo, and bacon. Don’t knock it ’til you try it, the burger is incredible. My other favorite is the Greg Brady, the best cheeseburger you’ll ever eat. It offers Mac N’ Cheese and BBQ potato chips on a burger and tastes like heaven.
Expand your palate with creative burgers and craft beers. After tasting enough beers, you’re sure to become an expert in craft brews, ready to impress your friends with a complex understanding of what makes a perfect beer. Join the Notch Club, an elite group of drinkers that have finished 100 different brews. Along with increased knowledge and culture, a “Notcher” earns a picture on the wall, a shirt, and access to exclusive events and tasting trips. This is the only award worth striving for and the restaurant will hold onto your list to ensure its safekeeping.
For other places to visit in Nashville, be sure to check out my other posts and follow me on social media! You can find me @Oldsoulfreespiritblog on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Or if you want more content delivered straight to you, sign up for my mailing list here! If you just want to talk, message me here!