If you’re visiting Williamson County, you’d better come hungry! From tiny locally-owned cafés tucked in historic buildings to exceptional globally-influenced fare, there are plenty of dining options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner all around town.
Stroll down Main Street to satisfy cravings beginning with morning pastries and ending at nightcaps, drive through Cool Springs for a plethora of special occasion spots, impress your guests over a lunch meeting in Brentwood, or opt for takeout at any of the county’s culinary hotspots.
Whatever you’re craving for your next meal, we’ve rounded up five dishes that will keep you coming back time and again.
Curb your Italian craving at downtown Franklin staple Culaccino, a swanky restaurant and cocktail bar from chef Frank Pullara that’s become a locally-loved favorite. While any of the salads, pastas, pizzas, and mains are excellent, the traditional cacio e pepe dish, Tonnarelli, is a menu standout. Pair with a burrata topped with heirloom tomatoes and strawberries for a perfectly cheesy meal.
Have a hankering for sushi? Head to Wild Ginger in Cool Springs for an impressive menu of maki, nigiri, and sashimi options. While you can’t go wrong with any roll on the menu, two stand out as musts. For a more traditional option, the Lollipop roll is PACKED with spicy tuna, crab, regular tuna, salmon, yellowtail, jalapeño, mango, avocado, cilantro, masago and nori wrapped up in a thin-sliced cucumber and served with sambal mustard ponzu. If you’re feeling more adventurous, the Crazy Cow is a best-seller filled with tempura shrimp, spicy cream cheese, basil and pineapple, then topped with filet mignon and other accoutrements.
Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint
The Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint chain has grown to cities all across Middle Tennessee (and now into Kentucky, Alabama, and South Carolina), but it actually originated in the small Williamson County town of Nolensville. While Martin’s may have outgrown its OG location, the bigger and better building still serves the original West Tennessee-style whole hog BBQ and all the best sides. Your best bet is to get a BBQ tray, choosing between pulled pork shoulder, beef brisket, smoked turkey, and more, then pair it with mac and cheese, baked beans, broccoli salad, or potato salad (and a sweet tea, of course).
For an extra special occasion, head to Sperry’s in Cool Springs. While the fine dining restaurant may be tucked inside an unassuming strip mall, the interior matches its famous Belle Meade counterpart, complete with dim lighting, a fireplace, and a cozy bar area that offers an excellent happy hour Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. While it may hold a spot on the appetizer menu, the seared filet mignon tips served over Byrd’s Mill stone ground grits is a Southern steakhouse delicacy—and don’t forget to add on a trip to the salad bar and a glass of red!
An elegant option for both lunch and dinner, Brentwood’s Mere Bulles is set inside a 7,500-square-foot mansion that was built in the 1940s. The converted home now offers dishes like steaks, salads, shrimp and grits, and swordfish, perfect for celebrating a special occasion or holding a lunch meeting. No matter what you choose as your main, don’t skip a cup of the Charleston-inspired she-crab bisque to kick off your meal. The Southern delicacy is tough to find in Tennessee, and Mere Bulles serves up some of the best!
What’s your can’t-miss dish in Williamson County?