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Dig in at these Nashville meat-and-three restaurants

Meatloaf, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans... the options are endless at these 22 meat-and-threes in the Nashville area.

A brick building painted red with the word "Arnold's" painted in yellow with blue outline.

Pro tip: You can park for free for ~1.5 hours. | Photo by NASHtoday

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Nashville loves meat-and-threes — aka the next best thing to a home-cooked meal.

Legend has it the concept may have its roots in Music City, yet its exact origins are unknown. One of the earliest local examples is the now-closed Hap Townes Restaurant.

Since we first shared our list, Dandgure’s, Katie’s Meat & Three, and MacHenry’s brick-and-mortar location have closed, but the tradition lives on at these long-standing classics and new favorites:

Arnold’s Country Kitchen, 605 8th Ave. S.

Arnold’s 40-year run came to a halt in early 2023, but the restaurant is back in business for the foreseeable future. Choose from four to six meats daily, as well as turnip greens, mashed potatoes, and rotating sides. The serving line moves quickly, and we recommend grabbing a slice of chess or chocolate pie.

Bailey & Cato, 1130 Gallatin Pk. S.

Choose from one of the daily meat entrees and two sides for around $12 a plate.

Barbara’s Home Cooking, 1232 Old Hillsboro Rd.

“You pull up and think you might accidentally be at someone’s house, then you order the poppyseed chicken with field peas from Barbara’s Home Cookin’ and have yourself one of the best home-cooked meals you’ve ever had.” — Paul R.

A plate of fried chicken, sweet potatoes, and collard greens.

Although Barr’s is takeout only, there are a couple outdoor tables. | Photo via Barr’s Music City Soul Food

Barr’s Music City Soul Food, 618 Brentwood Dr.

Barr’s is open for takeout Wednesday-Sunday, and depending on the day, you’ll have your pick from barbecue ribs, ox tails, fried/baked fish, and pork chops. Plus, it’s Jelly Roll’s go-to restaurant for dressing.

Big Al’s Deli, 1828 4th Ave. N.

Located in Salemtown, check the board for daily breakfast and lunch specials. Deb M. recommends the chicken with jalapeno-orange marmalade, but it’s also available with chipotle raspberry, jerk, or adobo.

Osborne’s Bi-Rite Corner Deli, 3116 Belmont Blvd.

Locals know all about the deli tucked inside this neighborhood market. Stop by during lunch hours for a revolving menu of entrees, sides, and desserts.

Swett’s Restaurant, 2725 Clifton Ave.

From the sign out front to the plates inside, Swett’s is known for serving “fine food since 1954.” Mix and match your favorite meat, veggies, bread, and dessert. Flying out of BNA? Swett’s also has an airport location.

The top portion of a building with "Restaurant" illuminated at the top and a neon sign reading "Fine Food" and Wendells"

Look out for the neon sign when driving along Charlotte Avenue. | Photo via Wendell Smith’s Restaurant

Wendell Smith’s Restaurant, 407 53rd Ave. N.

Also a beloved breakfast joint, Wendell Smith’s serves staples such as chicken and dumplings (Tuesdays), fried chicken (Wednesdays and Saturdays), and fried catfish (Fridays).

The Loveless Cafe, 8400 Hwy. 100

“My husband and I live in Madison but make the trek out to Loveless, not only for the food (fried chicken and hashbrown casserole are my go-tos), but to drive the Natchez Trace. For locals, it’s less crowded earlier in the week.” — Whitney L.

More spots to fill up

Check out 13 more restaurants offering meat-and-three-style meals:

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