Sean Brock

The name Sean Brock is synonymous with the food of America’s south. Raised in rural Virginia, Brock made his name in Charleston where he spent more than a decade exploring lowcountry cooking via renowned restaurants McCrady’s and Husk. Now based in Nashville (Tennessee), the James Beard-winning chef and cookbook author continues to contribute to the southern cuisine discussion via his venues Audrey, June, The Continental and Joyland. When he’s off-duty, this is where Brock likes to go.
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An Introduction To Dining Out in Nashville 

The food scene in Nashville is progressing at an extraordinary rate. One of the things I love most about Nashville’s culinary landscape is how diverse it is. When visiting you can experience everything from a meat & three (a Tennessean restaurant with daily choices of meat and a variety of sides) that will blow your mind; hot chicken that will blow your head off, but in the best possible way; multi-course modernist tasting menus; plus everything in between. 

My Favourite Places To Eat Right Now

My favourite places to eat in Nashville right now are Locust, Lou and The Catbird Seat. These are all restaurants that are pretty small and each has a very unique voice. These restaurants aren’t afraid of taking chances because all of us here know that the people who live in Nashville are open-minded and will support the craziest of ideas. Lou serves sharing plates and natural wines, opens only for dinner on weekdays and does brunch on weekends. I always order the crispy rice there. The Catbird Seat is our go to for celebrations. It’s such a unique experience to be seated around the kitchen and to watch the team work. The format is an extended tasting menu full of daring creativity. Locust has such a wild and unique experience. The open kitchen is so fun to watch. The seafood offering changes daily so it’s always exciting to see what they are up to. You get to eat the best quality fish from around the world while listening to heavy metal pretty loud.

Slices of Italy in America’s South 

The place that I have been going to for years is City House. I think it’s one of the best places to eat in America. We are so lucky to have it here in Nashville. Native Tennessean chef Tandy Wilson uses Southern products almost exclusively but integrates them into a cuisine that is essentially Italian. For example, you can eat catfish but it will be cooked using a traditional Italian recipe. Right now I am obsessed with Neapolitan pizza. The famous Roberta’s of Brooklyn opened right down the street from me, and I have to eat there at least once a week.

One Of My Favourite Places on Earth

Robert’s Western World is a honky-tonk that’s located downtown on Broadway. It is one of my favourite places on Earth. It feels like you are going back in time and I just love watching every one dance and have a good time. Plus, it has an incredible bologna sandwich.

Old-Fashioned Nashville Comfort

The first place I take people to when in Nashville is Arnold’s Country Kitchen. It’s an old-fashioned meat & three that’s been around for decades and has always been a gathering spot for locals. The food is insane. It is so flavourful, and the hospitality is as good as it gets. I like sending people to Big Al’s Deli, another old-fashioned place that has a daily changing menu of the best comfort food imaginable: from biscuits ‘n’ gravy to pancakes.

“Always Eat at These Places Before Mine”

Nashville is known for its hot chicken, and for good reason. It’s so good and so addictive. My favourite place to eat hot chicken is right down the street from my restaurant Joyland, at a place called Bolton’s. Don’t sleep on the “hot fish” either. We have to focus on keeping places like Bolton’s, Big Al’s, Arnolds and Prince’s Hot Chicken in business at all costs. These places are the true soul of this city. Always eat at these places before mine.

Pandemic Saviours

Our favourite thing to eat at home during lockdown was BokBox but it has sadly closed. It was a charcoal-grilled chicken concept that was one of my favourite things to eat in Nashville.Some members of my Audrey team started a nonprofit at the beginning of Covid called Patchwork which is a group of Michelin-star-trained chefs who crank out insanely delicious meals for those in need. Each week they cook and provide over 2000 meals. Also, each guest that dines at Audrey helps provide a meal through a donation that is part of the cost of dinner. 

“The Best Tacos You Will Ever Eat”

Alebrije is a mind-blowing pop-up concept and serves the best tacos you will ever eat. You have to follow them on Instagram to see where they are popping up next. They also just completed a food truck so that will be fun to chase around.

The Best Of the Market

We do such a great job with cowpeas here in middle Tennessee. When they are freshly shelled, they are as special as truffles to me. You can find lots of them for sale at the farmers’ markets. They show up all over town and it’s so fun to see what each chef does with them. I love the East Nashville Farmers’ Market. It’s on every Tuesday and is right down the street from Joyland. I always make sure to stock up on bread from the Maritime Bread Co. It’s extraordinary. 

Local Snacks To Bring Home

Everything that Olive & Sinclair creates is so good. I always try to have its chocolate bars on hand, plus some salt and vinegar caramels.

Photography credit: Emily Dorio

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