Also known as the Music City, Nashville is one of the hottest cities to visit in the country and it gets more popular with each passing year.
All throughout the city, you will find endless ways to pass the time whether it be dancing the night away at a music venue, shopping in an old automobile factory, walking along its historic streets, or indulging in some of its world-famous cuisines.
You will find places boasting live music around every corner but that is not the only thing in abundance here.
The food scene in Nashville is a sight to behold and trendy restaurants line the streets making it nearly impossible to decide where to go for dinner.
Even if you were to narrow down your search to a specific type of food, like the city’s famous fried chicken or barbecue, the endless array of restaurant choices can be overwhelming.
So, why not go to a local chain restaurant where you know for certain the food will be great because its fanbase has expanded it to multiple locations?
With that being said, you have to check out this list of the eight best chain restaurants in Nashville so you can spend less time worrying about where to eat and more time enjoying your meal.
Table of Contents
1. Martin’s BBQ Joint
With multiple locations scattered all throughout the city and the surrounding area, Martin’s BBQ Joint is definitely one of the best chain restaurants in Nashville.
This humble joint first opened its doors back in 2006 with just a dozen tables and a single waiter but once people got a taste of Martin’s mouthwatering barbecue, they just couldn’t get enough.
Over the last fifteen years, more and more Martin’s Joint BBQ restaurants began popping up all over the city and now the franchise can be found at ten different locations.
Everything that you see on the menu is made fresh each and every morning, so you are guaranteed a great meal regardless of the day.
But with that being said, there is only so much barbecue that can be cooked each morning, so it is typical for menu items to sell out before the end of the day.
So, if you want to get a taste of some of the restaurant’s best-selling items like the pulled pork shoulder and sliced beef brisket, then it is better to get here early.
Plus, there are plenty of sides to choose from that perfectly complete every meal like classic mac and cheese, cornbread hoecakes, and hush puppies.
Get a combo platter in order to get a little taste of it all, but don’t forget to order a pecan or fudge pie for dessert.
2. J. Alexander’s
When most people think of chain restaurants their mind goes right to fast food, but J. Alexander’s gives the term a whole new meaning with its impressive contemporary style.
The focus of this pristine restaurant is wood fire, so you can bet that most of their menu items are cooked using this method.
The restaurant prides itself on its ability to dish out high-quality meals with options like steak, seafood, chicken, salads, sandwiches, and much more.
Although this is not a local chain restaurant that is specific to Nashville, you will only find this American restaurant in a handful of different states.
But no two experiences at this chain restaurant are alike as the menu is constantly changing to accommodate new specials and transition through the flavors of each season.
Everybody raves about the slow-roasted prime rib but don’t forget to check out some of the other tasty menu items like Raffaele’s Old World Lasagna and the Carolina Crab Cakes.
And you know dessert is going to be amazing when there isn’t a designated menu but rather a table side choice of freshly baked goods.
Not to mention the fact that you can get a french press of coffee to go along with it for the perfect way to end your evening.
Famous for its charming southern hospitality, Monell’s is not your average chain restaurant – and that’s part of what makes it one of the best in the city.
Everything about this place is big. Big meals. Big tables. Big personalities.
You’ll get to enjoy a family-style meal with a set price tag so you can enjoy everything on the menu without having to worry about paying anything extra.
The restaurant itself is set up like a school cafeteria with long tables that are meant to bring people together and allow for nearby patrons to get to know each other a little better.
Plus, everything is served up on giant plates that you will pass from one family to another, so it’s hard not to mingle with the group sitting next to you.
The menu is constantly changing, so you’ll get to enjoy the meat of the day, some variation of southern vegetables, their famous fried chicken, salad, biscuits, dessert, and a drink all for one fair price.
To make things even better, they are open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even do a midnight breakfast special for folks who like to party it up on the weekends.
There are three of these amazing restaurants scattered throughout Nashville, so you’ll never be too far away from a big plate of southern comfort.
4. Hattie B’s
Even if you aren’t really familiar with chain restaurants in Nashville, there is a good chance you have heard of the name Hattie B’s as it is one of the most talked-about fried chicken destinations in the city.
It didn’t take long for this family-run business to become a hit sensation, and people from all over the country will stop here for fried chicken before they do anything else in Nashville.
Lunch at Hattie B’s has become a traditional part of visiting Nashville, so it is no wonder that they needed to open up various locations to please the masses.
Everything here is made from scratch, and you can taste it with every bite. Get a box of white and dark meat or opt for something a little different like whole wings and chicken tenders.
Just don’t forget to grab some of their famous sauces to go along with it – ranging from sweet all the way up to “Shut the Cluck Up!” hot.
And if you are feeling adventurous, then you should definitely try the Dirty Bird Fries that are made with crinkle-cut potatoes, mac and cheese, and pieces of juicy dark meat chicken.
5. Two Ten Jack
Although there are only two Two Ten Jack’s in operation as of right now, this trendy chain restaurant has big plans to expand thanks to a fan base that just keeps on growing.
Part of what makes this restaurant so alluring is its interesting take on pub-style fare and the overall Japanese influence that dominates the menu.
This type of Japanese pub is known as an izakaya, and it’s a great hit when you get to sit out under the twinkling lights of the beer garden while slurping on a big bowl of flavorful ramen.
Although reservations are not necessary, they are highly recommended on weekends as you can imagine just how busy this place can get on a Friday or Saturday night.
Feel your mouth start to water as you choose between dishes like spicy crab noodles and abura soba but make sure to save room for some of their iconic skewers.
These Japanese skewers are known as yakitori pro and they can be purchased in one skewer portions so you can try a variety of options like wagyu short rib, pork belly, asparagus with bacon, and so many others.
Plus, the restaurant also specializes in small plates, sashimi, and sushi, so you can really spend an entire day here trying out all of their tasty flavors.
And with a wide variety of cocktails, many of which are on tap and ready to go, there is never a bad time to enjoy a drink with your meal.
Doubling as a grocery store, Puckett’s is a staple to Nashville – and Tennessee in its entirety – with a history dating as far back as the 1950s.
This extraordinary restaurant started out as a simple grocery store in a small town in Tennessee but quickly expanded and now boasts more than five locations across the state.
By 2002, Puckett’s had become one of the hottest restaurants and live music venues in the area while still maintaining its front as a local grocery store.
So not only can you come here to do a bit of food shopping for your trip and enjoy a delicious meal that screams southern comfort, but you can listen to music played by local musicians.
The main location in Nashville has the capacity to hold up to one hundred fifty patrons, and it quickly fills up on weekends when the Music City comes to life.
But the good news is that you can come here at any time of day with tasty options for breakfast like the skillet cinnamon roll and smoked brisket hash.
Lunch and dinner are times to pig out on the barbecue, and you’ll have some hard decisions to make as you choose between items like Puckett’s BBQ Platter, the Redneck Burrito, the Music City Hot Chicken Sandwich, and many more.
Just do yourself a favor and end the night with a deep-fried brownie sundae or Jan’s Chocolate Cobbler.
7. The Pancake Pantry
The Pancake Pantry hasn’t quite made it to chain restaurant status as the opening of its second location isn’t for another month, but with pancakes this good, it is sure to keep on growing.
You know a breakfast joint is going to be good when it has a line out the door first thing in the morning, and the line at the Pancake Pantry often ends up winding around the block.
Hopefully, as the development of new locations helps to spread out the restaurant’s adoring fans, it will become easier to score a seat.
But for now, your best bet is to get here bright and early when the doors open at 6 am to eliminate the chance of a long wait time.
Luckily, these homemade pancakes are worth the wait, so even if you do end up waiting an hour for breakfast, you’ll be treated to one of the best meals in Nashville once you sit down.
And pancakes aren’t the only thing that this cozy restaurant does well. Check out their menu to see some of their other fan-favorite options like the blueberry compote waffles and the large variety of rolled omelets.
However, it may be hard to order anything but pancakes when you have endless variations to choose from, including apple walnut, banana bread, sweet potato, Caribbean, pecan, and so much more.
8. Fat Mo’s
Originally founded by Mo himself back in 1991, Fat Mo’s has quickly become one of the best chain restaurants not only in Nashville but throughout the entire state of Tennessee.
And although this local chain can only be found in the state, it has been recognized nationwide and has even been featured on the trusted Food Network for having some of the best cheeseburgers in the country.
Part of what makes these burgers so delicious is the fact that the restaurant has a strict “no frozen meat” policy, so every burger that is dished out is made using the freshest ingredients.
You won’t find a microwave in this joint because every burger is cooked fresh on the spot to ensure the very best quality possible.
Plus, Fat Mo’s has a wonderful selection of sides that pair perfectly with its juicy burgers like french fries and onion rings.
But unlike most fast-food restaurants, Fat Mo’s offers two different kinds of french fries to satisfy varying taste buds so you can always opt for an order of spicy fries.
Just don’t forget to order a milkshake with your meal because nothing goes better with a burger and fries than a cup of freshly shaken ice cream.