Hungry? 10 Best Hidden Gem Eateries in Franklin and Williamson County

Franklin has plenty of popular restaurant options, but we really love discovering the area’s hidden gems – the new, lesser-known, or out-of-the-way places with fresh takes on culinary favorites. Here are 10 of our favorite spots for a fantastic Franklin meal.

With locations in Franklin and Cool Springs, Ground is earning lots of five-star reviews from locals. Ground uses only the freshest ingredients in its burgers, salads, and baked potatoes – and it shows! Locals particularly love the Sweet & Smokey BBQ Burger, which is topped with Benton’s Bacon, cheddar cheese, onion straws, and Ground’s homemade BBQ sauce, and the Four Alarm Fire Burger, a spicy burger stuffed with pepper jack cheese and jalapeños. Added bonus: Kids 10 and under eat free on Saturday nights!

For tasty food with a healthy twist, check out Oh My Chives Natural Market in Nolensville. In this co-op space, you’ll find Cornell Brothers Coffee, which is a small batch roaster, espresso bar, and bakery; Lokale Juice, where you’ll find organic and raw juices, smoothies, and açai bowls’ and Oh My Chives, which serves up delicious sandwiches and breakfast items in addition to offering a range of healthy and organic grocery products. 

Herban Market is the brainchild of Matt and Ashlea Hogancamp – parents who cared so much about the quality of the food they were feeding their family that they quit their jobs, sold their furniture, and opened a grocery/health food/real food restaurant in Brentwood. The result has been a smashing success! Have lunch at Herban Market one afternoon, and you’ll totally get its appeal. Everything is made with high quality ingredients and prepared with obvious care. I go for the food and for the CBD lattes, which you can pick up at the market’s coffee bar. Before you leave, you’ll also want to check out the produce section for local fruits and vegetables, eggs, meats, and more.  

For classic diner-style burgers, shakes, and fries, head to Hwy 55 in Spring Hill, where you’ll find everything from perfectly cooked and seasoned burgers to cheesesteaks to onion rings to frozen custard. Rest assured that no matter what you order, it’s going to be good! Your kids will especially love the Hwy 55 experience, since kids meals comes nestled in cardboard convertible cars.  

Looking for a quick bite to eat in Leiper’s Fork? Head over to the charming Leiper’s Fork Market, a convenience store that offers far more than you’d expect from a gas station market, including sandwiches and pizza, boiled peanuts (that’s enough to lure me inside), and basic grocery items. In a tiny house just outside, you’ll find the popular The RedByrd Coffee Shop, where you can get your caffeine fix without leaving the village.

One of my favorite restaurant secrets can be found in the heart of Williamson County’s Grassland Community. Barbara’s Home Cooking serves up delicious and wildly popular heat-and-eat meals, including Barbara’s famous poppyseed chicken, potato salad, yeast rolls, and what’s possibly the best chicken salad I’ve ever eaten. Eat your meal at one of Barbara’s outdoor picnic tables or bring it home and pretend you made this fabulous meal yourself. Either way, you won’t regret it!  

You’ll find authentic New York pizza in Spring Hill at Nelly’s Italian Café as well as Italian classics like eggplant parmesan, Stromboli pizza rolls, garlic knots, and cannolis, and I’m telling you, this place is fantastic. Everything we’ve tried here has been excellent – and we’ve tried most of the items on the menu by now! The line’s usually long here, but it moves fast and the wait is absolutely worth it. Nelly’s is so good, we make the 45 minute drive to eat there — that should tell you all you need to know. 

Waldo’s Chicken is a new addition to Middle Tennessee and Franklin has two locations, which is a good thing because this “elevated fast food” restaurant is ah-maz-ing. Waldo’s staff makes everything from scratch each morning, from the sauces and sides to the lemonade. The fried chicken for their sandwiches marinates overnight in pickle brine, while their fire roasted chicken is brined, coated with a butter, garlic, and parsley mixture, and roasted. Their fries are absolutely incredible – and to top it all off, you can enjoy beer, wine, or a boozy slushie with your meal if you dine inside. What’s not to love?

Fairview is home to a fabulous new date night restaurant called The Thompson’s Kitchen, where you can feast on magnificent menu items like New Zealand Spring Lamb Pops and Gorgonzola Chicken Pasta, not to mention fabulous craft cocktails. As an added bonus, go on a Saturday night for some live jazz to accompany your meal. This restaurant is extremely popular with locals, so you’ll definitely want to make dinner reservations ahead of time. It’s located on Fairview Boulevard and open for lunch and dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays.

After closing its doors in 2019, Franklin’s beloved Halfway Market and Diner reopened on West Main Street this year to the delight of its Franklin fans. Known for the kind of Southern comfort food grandma used to make, the diner still has its original staff and continues to serve up old school biscuits, fried bologna sandwiches, country fried steak, lima beans, and so much more. Patrons love both the delicious food and the diner’s cozy, welcoming feel.