10 MORE Rural TN restaurants worth driving

10 MORE Rural TN restaurants worth driving

Whether you are exploring a country in Europe or taking a short road trip near your own hometown, travel allows you to immerse yourself in new experiences. And while it may be easy to find restaurants via a short Google search, there is something particularly charming and authentic about following the locals to see which restaurants they visit, which lends itself to discovering nostalgic comfort food that remains in our memory for many years to come. If you have not yet checked out our article on 10 Rural TN Restaurants Worth the Drive, we encourage you to do so … because here are 10 MORE rural, locally owned restaurants that you should put on your bucket list!

10 MORE Rural TN restaurants worth driving

Blue Bank Fish House and Grill

813 Lake Dr, Hornbeak, TN 38232 • bluebankresort.com

Blue Bank Resort is a fishing and hunting oasis set in the beautiful scenery of Lake Reelfoot, boasting everything from overnight accommodation by the lake to canoeing at sunset and sightings of bald eagles. But it’s Blue Bank Fish House and Grill that will lift your turn – especially if you love stuffed shrimp, which happens to be an appetizer favorite. Dine al fresco and enjoy the scenic views while eating. While shrimp are not your cup of tea, the Fish House menu is filled with fresh local dishes that include meats and produce sourced from local Tennessee farmers as well as vegetables and herbs grown in the property’s gardens. You can find everything from burgers to surf and turf, and the extensive list of wines and local craft beers ensures you will not get thirsty!

The stuffed shrimp appetizer at Blue Bank Resort, with wine pairing.

The stuffed shrimp appetizer at the beautiful Blue Bank Resort by the lake is not to be missed. Photo: Blue Bank Resort

The Grind Mac and Cheese Burger Bar

112 Lovelace Ave, Martin, TN 38237 • thegrindburgerbar.com

Any restaurant with a burger named after Luther Vandross (a burger topped with cheddar cheese fondue and bacon, and smashed between two grilled glazed donuts) is simply too exciting not to visit. Located in Martin, about two and a half hours from both Nashville and Memphis, the beloved burger joint is a haven for both kids and adults. Over-the-top monster shakes with titles like S’more the Merrier and Churro Champion are like something straight out of Candyland, with heaps of whipped cream and gravy, topped with sweets and cookies galore. Plus, you can order from several other classic American dishes with a twist, such as Buffalo chicken mac and cheese or bourbon and candied bacon deviled eggs.

Pink milkshake with candy and a cherry on top.

A thing of beauty! This monster shake from The Grind Mac and Cheese Burger Bar is the best kind of sugar rush. Photo: Tara Wilkey

RELATED: Your Southern BBQ Bible

Shelby Forest General Store

7729 Benjestown Rd, Millington, TN 38053 • shelbyforestgeneralstore.com

This charming (dare we say, rustic) cottage in Millington, Tennessee, which is rumored to be one of Justin Timberlake’s favorite haunts in childhood, is home to the Shelby Forest General Store. The General Store, which has been an old-fashioned favorite with locals for about 18 years, is a down-home place for everything from basic supplies like milk and toilet paper to barbecue dishes like the “world-famous cheeseburger”. And where else can you get a delicious homemade burger for $ 3.99? The General Store has suffered a bit lately as they have navigated the pandemic, reduced hours and placed their wildly popular “Steak Night” on a temporary team that featured live bluegrass music. So even if you can not make it to their cooked burger, you can support their Go Fund Me campaign and look forward to future visits.

Pat’s Café

110 E Court Ave, Selmer, TN 38375 • (731) 645-6671

A subtle little cafe offering breakfast, sandwiches and burgers, Pat’s Café in Selmer, Tennessee, is a gem in a small town. Comfortable with friendly and fast service, you can expect smiles and Slugburgers – and the latter may be what put Pat’s on the map. What is a Slugburger, you ask? While the thought of it may evoke less than stellar thoughts of slimy creatures, Slugburger is anything but. An authentic taste of Mississippi from the Depression era, Slugburger is technically a patty made from beef, flour and soy groats that originated in Corinth, Mississippi, in the early 1900s. We do not claim to know the secret behind owner Pat Knight’s famous Slugburger, but we do do know that people come from far and wide to try it. Are you next?

Helen’s Bar-BQ

1016 N Washington Ave, Brownsville, TN 38012 • Facebook

Helen Turner, who is one of only a few female pitmasters in the country, serves an evil grill. And that is to say the least! Located about a mile from downtown Brownsville (about an hour from Memphis), Helen’s Bar-BQ is a legend in itself, featuring everything from ESPN to the Food Network. That recognition is due, at least in part, to her amazing rib sandwich – perfectly smoked pork stacked high on a bun with homemade coleslaw and her unique hot sauce mix that will make you beg for more. Her menu also offers other oak and hickory smoked meats such as. pork, ribs and bologna, accompanied by traditional sides. Whatever you do, make sure you are hungry!

Helen Turner at Helen's Bar-BQ, lights the fire.

Owner and pitmaster Helen Turner takes care of the fire at her restaurant, Helen’s Bar-BQ. Photo: Southern Foodways Alliance

Cotton’s Café

200 W Eaton St, Trenton, TN 38382 • Facebook

Omelettes and pancakes and cinnamon rolls, oh my! This Trenton eatery offers some serious cooking from the southern home, but it’s the breakfast that gets everyone talking – including Saturday all day breakfast. You can stop by for classics like bacon and eggs or French toast, or opt for more Southern-inspired breakfast dishes such as biscuits and country ham. You can not go wrong in any way. If breakfast is not your bag, you can tap the main menu for daily specials that Mama used to make – from a grill-bologna sandwich with baked beans and coleslaw to butter beans and Salisbury steak smothered in sauce.

Overholts Gårdmarked

14520 TN-13, Hurricane Mills, TN 37078 • overholtssfarmmarket.com

There is plenty of homemade ice cream and delicatessen sandwiches at this wonderful farm market in Hurricane Mills. Plus, you can find pies, pastries, fresh bread, bulk items and a great candy selection! Known for its small-batch ice list complete with seasonal flavors, this family-owned joint may look like a barn, but it’s so much more. Reviewing the shelves makes room for tasty treasures like hot pickled garlic, dandelion jelly, Amish country popcorn and buffalo chicken cheese balls. Custom crafts such as bird houses are also on display, so it really is a one-stop-shopping experience for all things gourmet and gift. In addition, indoor and outdoor seating provides ample space to enjoy your delicious items, regardless of the season.

The outside of Overholt's Farm Market

Small-batch ice cream and gourmet products call our name on Overholt’s Farm Market. Photo: Ernest Lynn Jr.

RELATED: Introducing Juniper Green’s New Nashville Culinary Destination!

Commodore Hotel Musikcafé

114 E Main St, Linden, TN 37096 • commodorehotellinden.com

A self-proclaimed “oasis of southern hospitality”, the Commodore Hotels Music Café is also a hotspot for live tunes and perfectly delicious dishes. Located by the hotel’s main lobby, the mecca for locally produced food is full of life and atmosphere. The menu features Southern-inspired appetizers such as fried buttermilk chicken, hot Nashville chicken and grilled salmon. An easy-style lounge offers a fun place for locals and guests to mingle. Plus, the surrounding area offers plenty of activities, with a focus on fishing in the summer and hunting in the winter. Alternatively, head to Mousetail Landing State Park for picturesque photo ops and views of the Tennessee River.

Exterior of the Commodore Hotel

Commodore Hotel offers a home away from home … and good food too! Photo: Charles Vernier

Charlenes Just Divine Tea Room

2257 TN-88, Halls, TN 38040 • Facebook

More than just your average tea room, Charlene’s Just Divine Tea Room in Halls, Tennessee, is the place to go for comfort food. With an exterior that makes you feel like you are strolling into Grandma’s house, the restaurant is a cozy place with beautiful floral tablecloths and a bit of timeless blue-and-white porcelain. The menu offers everything from bottom-made daily specials like shepherd’s pie and chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl to seasonal desserts like sticky pumpkin pie and limoncello mascarpone cake, and the locals swear by the chicken salad. If you are an animal lover, Tennessee Safari Park is less than 30 minutes away where you can get up close to giraffes, peacocks and even wallabies. Just keep your eyes on the ostriches. They can get a little naughty!

Bell Buckle Café

16 Railroad Sq E, TN-269, Bell Buckle, TN 37020 • bellbucklecafe.com

An hour outside of Nashville, Bell Buckle is a lovely little town that is home to less than 500 residents. Although small, the city is also home to the Bell Buckle Café, which has become a destination for many – whether it’s tired travelers or locals. While the casual restaurant offers a wealth of tasty comfort foods, including country-fried steak, smoked pork chops and catfish, it might just be the fried biscuits with apple butter that stand out the most. Plan to visit the local antique shops, visit the charming center and treat yourself to some homemade Southern fare that will have you checking your calendar and writing pencil on your next trip.

Enjoy even more dining adventures in the small town!


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