This Franklin Food Guide will Satisfy Every Kind of Eater

Franklin is a city rooted in history – but one of the best parts of its dining scene is the convergence of new and old. Throughout the area, you’ll find storied restaurants serving up the same recipes loved for generations with a brand new, chef-driven spot right next door. Whichever category of foodie you fall into, be it a sophisticated palate or a soul food aficionado, Franklin has a bite sure to wow you. 

We’ve taken the guesswork out of your vacation planning and rounded up the perfect breakfast, lunch, and dinner spots for every occasion. 

For the Love of Leiper’s Fork 

This growing destination is known for its sweeping farmlands, impressive antiques and art scene, and, of course, its cuisine. You’ll find some of Franklin’s most beloved restaurants here that may lovingly be called a hole-in-the-wall, but are seriously delicious. 

For breakfast, look no further than The Country Boy Restaurant. Enjoy morning favorites like buttermilk pancakes, crispy bacon, and biscuits and gravy every day from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., best accompanied by a hot cup of coffee in a branded mug. For more of a grab-and-go breakfast option, visit the Redbyrd Coffee Shop for a caffeine kick and a fresh-baked pastry. 

When it’s lunchtime in Leiper’s Fork, head out to Southall Farm & Inn, a stunning luxury farm resort with an all-day cafe onsite. Sojourner proudly touts its seed-to-fork menu, with many items like salads and sauces made with ingredients grown right on the grounds. Treat yourself to some lunchtime libations–the craft cocktail menu is to die for. 

There’s one spot in town that comes to life when the sun goes down, but planning ahead is key. Fox & Locke is a restaurant and live music venue hybrid with a small wooden stage situated up front. You may be surprised at the names that take the tiny stage, particularly during open mic night on Thursdays (Chris Stapleton just recently made an appearance), but even if you don’t yet recognize the artist, chances are you will some day. It’s a hotspot for up-and-comers, and the meat-and-three menu pairs perfectly with this Leiper’s Fork tradition. 

For Families

Franklin is a perfect destination to bring the little ones, with plenty of things to see and do to delight the whole family. Kick your day off the right way with a breakfast treat from Five Daughters Bakery inside the Factory at Franklin, which is best known for its 100 layer donuts. This is also the perfect place to wander when the weather calls for keeping the kids indoors. For a breakfast more savory than sweet, grab a bagel or breakfast sandwich from the Bakehouse just off Main Street. 

Any time I’m in downtown Franklin during lunch, I crave a dainty cafe sandwich, soup, or salad. That could be because I grew up picnicking at the parks and benches around town, but also because there is no shortage of luncheon-like options in the city. Meridee’s Breadbasket is an obvious choice, serving up fresh deli sandwiches, homemade soups, and some of my favorite chicken salad in town. Franklin Mercantile Deli just down the street is an equally delicious option–there’s an excellent kid’s menu here, too. 

Dinnertime options abound for families in Franklin, with a fan favorite being Mojo’s Tacos inside the Factory. This quick service-style restaurant serves excellent nachos, tacos, and other Mexican favorites, plus a fantastic margarita for mom and dad. A pizza party is always a crowd pleaser for families, and Westhaven’s Coal Town Pizza is a perfect option for both traditional and funky pies. 

For a Special Occasion 

Celebrating something special? Franklin’s elevated options and best-in-class service are poised to help you feel the love. Kick off your celebrations with a boozy breakfast at Ruby Sunshine, a New Orleans-based restaurant with a whole menu section dedicated to innovative eggs benedict (a personal favorite). From experience, these pair well with a flavored mimosa or a savory Bloody Mary. 

Whether toasting to success over a business lunch or gathering with your gang to celebrate togetherness, opt for sushi at Wild Ginger in Cool Springs. The menu of traditional and out-of-the-box rolls (like the filet mignon-topped Crazy Cow) are sure to knock your socks off. If you’re lunching on Main Street, check out 55 South where you can snag everything from grilled oysters to salads, sandwiches, and gumbo. 

There are plenty of special occasion options to choose from in Franklin, but the locally-loved pinnacle is Cork & Cow off Main Street. The menu includes all the best cuts from land and sea with decadent sides and accompaniments… It’ll stretch both your pants and your wallet, but we promise every bite will be worth it. Another fan favorite is Gray’s on Main, tucked beneath a can’t-miss illuminated marquee. The cocktail program here is equally as impressive as the menu, perfect for a nightcap or a celebratory toast. 

Last but not least, the Harpeth Hotel in Downtown Franklin has everything you need to feel celebrated, starting with its onsite coffee shop and market and ending with its signature restaurant, 1799 Kitchen & Cocktails. The restaurant and its lobby bar are the perfect place to begin or end your evening in Franklin, or enjoy an excellent meal. To round out the festivities, book a room and stay for a while.