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A Chef's Guide to Eating in Nashville

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We're always on the lookout for a restaurant that captures the spirit and era of a city. Nashville's Rolf and Daughters is one of those places. It's thoughtful but not fussy, delicious but not rich, tucked inside an old factory that's both industrial and warm. So we figured Fathom contributor and chef/owner Philip Krajeck (a James Beard award nominee four times over) would also be the kind of guy who could capture the spirit of a Sunday in Nashville. Here's how he spends his day off.

NASHVILLE – Our Sunday morning tradition is pretty consistent. My family and I head over to either Barista Parlor or Crema, the best coffee shops in town. Barista Parlor is housed in an old transmission shop, and they have a curated selection of the best coffee from across the country. I usually get two coffees, a cortado and then either an Americano or an iced coffee. They have Japanese-style coffee over ice that's just killer. Crema, on the other hand, roasts small-batch coffees in-house. In the summer they make an iced coffee soda that is insanely good. Afterward, we usually swing by Bagel Face for homemade bagels. I go for the everything bagel. If I am with my family, we usually grab a dozen to bring home, but if I am riding solo, I eat at the shop.

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Photo: courtesy of Barista Parlor

Sunday Afternoon Activities

My two daughters are getting into clothes as they get older and love poking around local thrift stores. ThriftSmart, on the south side of town, has a 50 percent off sale one Sunday every month, which we always hit up. I found a set of vintage coupe glasses once and can typically discover some really unique household items. My wife and daughters are always successful with finding great clothes. We also like to spend time at Percy Warner Park, which offers beautiful trails for hiking and cycling and has a big field perfect for tossing around the Frisbee. If my family is out of town, I take advantage of my time alone and go mountain biking at Hamilton Creek for a few hours.

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Hamilton Creek. Photo: courtesy of MTBR

Sunday Evening Habits

For a family dinner, it's usually one of three places. If we want an early dinner, it's always Hattie B's for off-the-chart hot chicken. Their chicken is fried to order and then coated in a spicy cayenne paste. La Hacienda is another Sunday staple. This restaurant serves up classic Mexican-American food with flavorful refried beans, tortas, and tacos. It's really good, super cheap and stress-free. We also frequent Martin's BBQ Joint because, simply, it's the best barbeque in town.

Sunday night usually means a quiet movie night at home with the family, but if my wife and I are kid-free, we like to sneak away to The Stone Fox, which has a stunning garden where they grow fresh herbs and vegetables and is an overall great place to hang out. If I get a night off working at my restaurant, Rolf and Daughters, I like to chill with my buddies at The Patterson House, a cocktail den with creative drinks and a relaxing atmosphere. For a solo night, I venture downtown to Broadway Street for unadulterated Nashville honky-tonks. Robert's has live music every Sunday night and a Recession Special: fried baloney sandwich, bag of chips, and a PBR for $5, although I usually switch the PBR for a Highlife. The bar's unpretentious and soulful spirit embodies the characteristics that make Nashville such an incredible city.

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Photo: courtesy of Rolf and Daughters

Read more on Fathom: Fathom's Nashville Guide, The Best of East Nashville, A Few Days in Nashville

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