Nearly Native Eats: Myrtle’s Chicken + Beer

Beer and chicken – two words more beautiful have never been uttered together (according to my boyfriend). My southern boy is the epitome of “meat and potatoes”, raised on home cooking, his diet is generally guiltless and you better believe he’s never gone anywhere near the words “gluten-free”.  So when Myrtle’s Chicken + Beer opened it’s doors on Market Square in downtown Knoxville, you better believe it jumped all the way to the front of his new restaurant list. Me on the other hand, I’m pretty basic when it comes to staying healthy, meaning that I try to stay away from all the carby fried goodness, but it’s hard to pass up old-fashioned southern fried chicken, so we quickly made our way to this southern comfort spot.

Offering a convenient Market Square location and a food genre that the good southern people of Knoxville, Tennessee absolutely love, Myrtle’s is a recipe for success. The menu is pretty straightforward, dressing chicken several different ways, whether it be in their starter baskets, sandwiches, or entrées. You can pretty much be sure that if you’re ordering something from Myrtle’s it probably has chicken somewhere in it, save for a few side items, a salad, and in their tomato pie. I’d say if you’re vegan, this probably isn’t the spot for you. But you can bet this was the spot for my boyfriend and an indulgence for me.

Myrtle’s Famous Fried Chicken can be prepared with light or dark meat, in chicken tender form, as wings, and slathered in one of their many sauces. I’m no connoisseur of fried chicken, but whatever Myrtle’s is doing works – the buttermilk taste lingering on every bite of the fried chicken is worthy of any southern home. If that’s not your thing, their classic American sandwiches and wraps will feel familiar. Plus, they’ve got several salads to choose from if you’re simply not ready to dive into something fried. Even if you skip the fried chicken, don’t skimp when it comes to the sides because the tomato pie and grits are not to be missed! And, y’all, they have brunch. The chicken and waffles are calling my name.

Don’t forget to try one of their cocktails, featuring some local spirits, or barrel-aged classic cocktails to wash everything down with. Needless to say, my boyfriend was in heaven – this joint is perfect for a casual date night, especially if you’ve got a fried chicken lover. Belly up to the bar or find yourself a booth, it’s a small space, so it won’t get too loud. Of course, this is a fried chicken, southern comfort restaurant, so don’t expect much of anything as far as calorie redemption goes. Just indulge and enjoy it because a trip to Myrtle’s is totally worth it.

Check out their website on the Eat Like a Native page!

Nearly Native Eats: Gray & Dudley

Ever dined with a penguin? No seriously, a penguin large enough to poke its beak into your Shrimp Noodles right as you twirl the perfect bite on your fork. How about dining with moveable art? One minute you glance at an art piece near the host stand as you walk in, the next its appears at the bar, then suddenly, its right behind you. Sounds like a pretty unique dining experience doesn’t it? If you’re looking for an interactive dining experience just like this, you’re in luck. Gray & Dudley is just the restaurant for you.

Situated comfortably between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in downtown Nashville, Gray & Dudley showcases a balance of bright produce and savory proteins with an American flair. The downtown eatery is open at all hours, standing on its own with an entrance directly from the alleyway to the host stand, but its style is inherited from its parent, the 21c Museum Hotel. Get your fill of flavorful entrees, like the unexpectedly hearty Hearth Roasted Cauliflower (pictured below, half portion), or share a number of snacks from the Bacon & Onion Tart (pictured above) to some steak tartare to get your fill. Whether you need a nice casual night out with your friends, a fun foodie-focused date night, or an impressive business lunch, Gray and Dudley is just the chameleon for you.

Without televisions to detract from the ambiance, you can admire the multiple art installments scattered throughout the bar, lounge, and dining area. These unique art additions include those pesky penguins, poking their nose just over your shoulder as you dig in to your delicious meal. Luckily these penguins aren’t living art, rather quirky moveable pieces that float through the restaurant and hotel as part of the 21c Museum Hotel brand. Each hotel has their very own location-specific colored coded penguins to move about as they please just to keep things interesting. Don’t forget to check out the bathrooms for an interesting surprise too. It may be hidden from the hustle and bustle of Broadway, but Gray and Dudley has its own flavor of entertainment, so make sure you select it for your next new restaurant to try!

Check out their website on the Eat Like a Native page!

Nearly Native Drinks: Urban Cowboy Public House

We all love the Nashville hustle. How could we not? We moved here (or stayed here) to take part in live music any day of the week, late nights on Broadway, and experience the bursting arts and business scene. But sometimes it’s nice to get away and even better when it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to do so. Nestled among the residential streets of East Nashville is a place where you can briefly slip away from the city life and step into a rustic public house ripe for stargazing and drink slinging.

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As an extension of its bed and breakfast roots, Urban Cowboy Public House resides just behind Urban Cowboy B&B, one of the newest boutique hotels to open its doors in Nashville. Created as an outpost to it’s Brooklyn, NY counterpart, Urban Cowboy’s rustic chic, hipster style has hints of Nashville throughout with unique decor from local venders welcoming all walks of human through its doors. While the B&B is for rest and relaxation, the public house lures Nashvillians in with its carousing communal seating around open fire pits and casual conversation across custom-built tables in its garage-doored bar. There’s no reservations or “wait to be seated” signs. There’s no bumping bass to drown out the sound of your own voice. Urban Cowboy Public House puts a drink in your hand, lights you a fire and lets you breathe in a few moments of peace in an otherwise crazy life.

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Yes, Urban Cowboy is an indoor/outdoor venue, but before you shiver in fear at the thought of having to brave the elements to check it out, know that the public house itself has heating, making it quite cozy even on blustery nights. The intricate, yet sturdy details of the woodwork and bricked walls show the time and care that the owners took to craft the rural ambiance that the Public House embodies, separating the watering hole from the bustling urban streets around it. Whether you’re in the mood for a craft cocktail or simply a beer to sip on as you share small plates from their stationary food truck, Urban Cowboy has the makings of a satisfyingly simplistic experience that won’t leave you feeling overwhelmed, but instead rejuvenated.

Whether you’re meeting a friend or making a connection with a date over cocktails, this intimate little oasis is the perfect place to slip away from the distractions of the day. Leave your stress on the East Nashville streets and let the warm glow of the fire draw you in – Urban Cowboy will always be ready to embrace you with a calm and cool attitude that’ll make last call come before you know it.

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Check out their website on the Drink Like a Native page!