5 Questions for Music City Bites and Sites Food Tours in Nashville, Tennesse

Music City Bites and Cites Food Tour
By Ellen Sevier

Ellen Sevier is the owner of Music City Bites and Sites food tours and a native Nashvillian. She can either be found showing off Music City, U.S.A. to people from around the world, or traveling around the world to see what other interesting foods and cultures she can experience for herself. And, if one is available, you can bet that the food tour is the first thing she does when visiting a new town.

1. What foods is Nashville known for?

There are two things Nashville can claim for its own when it comes to food. The first one is the Goo Goo Cluster, which just so happens to be the world’s first candy bar to combine multiple ingredients. The Original Goo Goo is made of roasted peanuts, milk chocolate, caramel and marshmallow nougat, and was developed in 1912 by the Standard Candy Company. The Supreme Goo Goo uses pecans instead of peanuts.

Strolling for food
Strolling for food

And the Peanut Butter Goo Goo, my personal favorite, is made up of roasted peanuts, milk chocolate and a thick layer of peanut butter. When asked about the name of their candy bar, the Standard Candy Company said that their candy bars are so good, people ask for them from birth (goo-goo, goo-goo). Get it?

In the past few years, Nashville has also become known for starting the “hot chicken” phenomenon, which is crispy fried chicken spiced at various degrees of hotness that will have your tongue wishing it could take up permanent residence in your glass of sweet tea. Some of the most popular places to get hot chicken in town are Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack and 400 Degrees Hot Chicken.

2. What neighborhoods should foodies visit when they come to Nashville?

Nashville has neighborhoods-a-plenty featuring all kinds of wonderful restaurants. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the “most foodie” hotspots and eateries in town, but this is by no means a comprehensive list.

Enjoy a cocktail
Enjoy a cocktail

3. What can people expect on your food tours?

On a Music City Bites & Sites tour, people should expect to get more than just a food tour. In fact, I call it a “food and cultural” tour, because, in addition to the food, I throw in a good bit of history, entertainment, cultural awareness, architecture and other fun trivia.

Dessert anyone?
Dessert anyone?

The tour is three hours long and covers about two miles. There are five tasting locations on the tour and one unforgettable cultural stop, which many people tell me was their favorite part of the tour. This is not a stuffy tour, so everyone should expect to laugh and have a good time.

Although there are some tastings that would be considered more “foodie” than others, all of the cuisine is approachable. The restaurants chosen for the tour are purposely “off the beaten tourist path.”

Each tasting location was chosen for a specific reason, and most of them for more than one – the specialty food, the owners’ backgrounds, the connection to Nashville, the history behind the restaurant buildings, etc., and all of the tastings are, of course, delicious. There are two alcohol tastings on the tour of just a few ounces each, and while many people are full at the end of the tour, some still crave more.

Tours run on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and can be booked online at www.musiccitybitesandsites.com or by calling (800) 979-3370.

4. Where should we eat if we hope to spot some celebrities?

Although I have yet to spot a celebrity while eating (although I have seen a few while shopping around town), I understand that Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman have been seen multiple times at Peter’s Sushi & Thai in the Brentwood area, (just outside of Nashville) and that Taylor Swift likes to go to San Antonio Taco Co. in Hillsboro Village (by Vanderbilt University).

Music City Bites and Cites Food Tour
Music City Bites and Cites Food Tour

I’ve also heard that Vince Vaughn was seen at The Southern (SoBro), and that Reba McEntire and Ronnie Dunn both were seen (though not together) at Tavern (Midtown).

Other than that, there are so many celebrities, especially of the country music variety, in town, that one could probably see one almost anywhere, but you have to be pretty good at spotting them, because they all tend to dress down here, so they look a lot like everyone else.

5. Are there any Nashville chefs that we should keep our eyes on?

The chef that I’ve seen written up and talked about the most lately is Tandy Wilson of City House. He was a finalist for the 2014 James Beard Award for “Best Chef: Southeast.”

Margot McCormack of Margot Café & Bar and Tyler Brown of Capitol Grille were also named as semifinalists in the same category.

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