Franklin, TN Downtown Restaurants: 15 Dining Spots You’ll Love (2024)

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Franklin, TN is an absolute gem of a small town in central Tennessee. Dining is definitely a highlight in this city, as they are known for their New Southern cuisine, fine dining, and restaurants featuring live music (because of their proximity to Nashville). And these Franklin TN downtown restaurants will not disappoint!

Planning a weekend getaway to Franklin? Here are some fun things you can do in Franklin plus a guide to Franklin’s great shopping scene.

Want to read about Tennessee before your trip? Here are some great books about Tennessee!

Breakfast & Brunch Restaurants in Downtown Franklin

Biscuit Love

Before we even get to the food at Biscuit Love, we have to talk about the location!

Biscuit Love in Franklin is located in the historic Corn House, a Victorian house once owned in the 1920s by one of the richest men in town.

Now it’s a breakfast and brunch restaurant in downtown Franklin where you can dine in historic rooms.

They are, of course, known for their biscuits. And as a self-proclaimed biscuit connoisseur (a title I like to claim thanks to my Southern upbringing), I have to say thay are pretty fantastic.

If you aren’t a fan of biscuits though, they have other offerings like chicken & waffles, omelettes, and shrimp & grits.

Biscuit Love is also known for their “Bonuts,” which are fried biscuit rounds reminiscent of donut holes. I’ll be honest though…while a lot of people love them, they weren’t my favorite. So next time I’ll just stick to one of their flaky biscuits.

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McGavock’s Coffee Bar & Provisions

If you’re staying at The Harpeth in downtown Franklin (which I highly recommend!), McGavock’s Coffee Bar & Provisions is where you can stop in for a quick breakfast. (Or you can totally come here even if you aren’t staying at the hotel!)

It’s a cozy spot with a great menu including items like Lemon Ricotta Toast, Biscuits & Gravy, and Hot Chocolate Pancakes. And if you are more on the brunch side of the morning, they offer lunch items like a Ham & Cheese Croissant (I had this and loved it!), a burger, and other sandwiches.

But perhaps one of the most fun things about McGavock’s is their Christmas Pop Up Bar. It’s called the World’s Best Cup of Coffee and is themed after the movie Elf. You can catch this in the evenings on select days during November and December.

Merridee’s Breadbasket

Merridee’s Breadbasket is a downtown Franklin staple. It’s been there since the 1980s, and I remember my mom talking about going here when she went to Franklin with friends for day trips when I was a kid.

Merridee’s is of course known for their baked goods like pies, breads, and cakes. But they have extensive breakfast and lunch menus too.

Breakfast at Merridee’s includes all kinds of breakfast sandwiches along with items like Quiche, Stuffed French Toast, omelettes and more.

For lunch, they have a variety of chicken and tuna salads, plus sandwiches like a Pimento Cheese Melt, a Patty Melt, or a Spicy Chicken Wrap.

And for both breakfast and lunch there is an option to order off a pretty extensive gluten free menu (thanks to their gluten free bread), making this a great place to go for allergy friendly dining.

Ruby Sunshine

Ruby Sunshine started as a restaurant in New Orleans known as Ruby Slipper Café, and it’s since expanded across the South and has become a popular brunch spot in lots of cities. And Franklin’s Ruby Sunshine is located right on the Square in downtown Franklin.

They are known for their twists on traditional breakfast and brunch dishes, with items on the menu like Sweet Heat Chicken & French Toast Bites, White Chocolate Bread Pudding Pancakes, or a Southern BLT.

Plus they have all kinds of breakfast co*cktails, perfect for a weekend brunch spot.

Frothy Monkey

Frothy Monkey is another restaurant that has locations across the South, especially in Tennessee. Their Franklin location is on 5th Ave, just about a block from Main Street. And it has a big wraparound porch (it’s located in a historic home) that makes it perfect for outdoor brunch dining.

This is a great place to get coffee with all kinds of specialty lattes. But even you, like me, aren’t a fan of coffee they have a great breakfast menu and selection of pastries.

I love the pastries I’ve had from Frothy Monkey, but next time I go I am eying their Vanilla-Cinnamon French Toast. (If you can’t tell, I’m very much a sweets for breakfast kind of person.)

Casual Lunch and Dinner Dining in Downtown Franklin

55 South

55 South is a casual dining restaurant located downtown on Main Street. And oh my goodness. When I visit I think I died and went to cheese grits heaven.

While everything I had there was fantastic (the chicken sandwich was delicious too) those cheese grits really stood out.

The restaurant is named for Interstate 55, which runs from Memphis to New Orleans. Chef Jason McConnell pulls a lot of inspiration from the flavors of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, with menu items like oysters, a Po Boy Remix, Red Beans and Rice, and Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya.

But I’m telling y’all, don’t sleep on those cheese grits either.

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Puckett’s Grocery

Puckett’s Grocery may be one of the most well-known restaurants in Franklin, not just because of their food, but because of their MUSIC.

Puckett’s is one of those places where people in Franklin and Nashville get “discovered” and they have live music almost every night. (You can check the schedule here.)

While Puckett’s began as a grocery store, it morphed into a restaurant that serves classic Southern dishes like BBQ, Fried Chicken, Fried Catfish, and Shrimp & Grits.

I also really enjoyed their Deep Fried Brownie Sundae, which is topped with Hattie’s vanilla ice cream, a homemade ice cream from a local small batch creamery that was started by a woman who once worked at Puckett’s Grocery.

And reservations here are definitely recommended!

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Culaccino Italian Restaurant + Bar

Culaccino is a casual Italian restaurant located right next to the Harpeth Hotel. It’s perfect for grabbing a glass of wine at the bar, or sitting down for a lunch or dinner.

They have pizzas, homemade pasta dishes, sandwiches, and main dishes like chicken and salmon. Plus they have traditional Italian desserts like cannoli and gelato.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love my pasta dish here. But the pizzas and breads I sampled were great! So if you’re in the mood for some Italian cuisine or just need a glass of wine, add this spot to your list!

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Fine Dining in Downtown Franklin

Gray’s on Main

Gray’s on Main is probably the most well-known fine dining restaurant in Franklin, and it’s 100% worth it. I LOVED my experience here!

Housed in a historic building downtown, Gray’s on Main was once the Gray Drug Company and you’ll find a lot of nods to this pharmacy in the decor of the restaurant.

They are known for their modern Southern food and vintage spirits. I had the filet, which was fantastic, along with a delicious chocolate cake. But some of the other highlights on their menu include Honey Roasted Brussels, Heritage Buttermilk Fried Chicken, and Sweet & Sticky Short Ribs.

They also serve seasonal co*cktails, but can make you classics as well.

Gray’s is truly a can’t miss spot in downtown Franklin. And while I was on a solo trip so sat at the bar and fully enjoyed it, it’s the perfect spot for a date night.

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Cork & Cow

Cork & Cow is a fine dining restaurant from the same chef as 55 South. They offer seasonal menus, but always focused on the best quality beef and wine.

They are especially known for their steaks, which come in multiple cuts and have several different accompaniments you can choose from including Lobster Tail, Black Truffle Butter, and Gorgonzola Horseradish.

But if you aren’t a fan of steak, they do over other entrees like pork, salmon, and scallops. And their sides look amazing too (I have my eye on the Baked Tuffle Gnocchi).

Red Pony Restaurant

Red Pony Restaurant is another restaurant from Chef Jason McConnell (who also owns 55 South and Cork & Cow).

Here, they focus on “sophisticated Southern” food, and some menu items may include Moulard Duck Breast, Portabella Parmesan, Hickory Grilled Bone-In Ribeye, and more. They also have an extensive co*cktail list.

This is another great date night restaurant, with an upscale atmosphere and award-winning food.

1799 Kitchen & co*cktails

1799 Kitchen & co*cktails is located in the Harpeth Hotel, so it’s a perfect spot if you’re staying there. While they are open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, dinner is where they really shine for fine dining.

They source several of their ingredients locally, and offer dishes like Elk Milanese, Broiled Oysters, Fat Cured Bison Strip. They also have a S’mores Cake for dessert that sounds delicious.

They also have a great co*cktail list. This is another good spot for a fancy dinner, especially if you are staying at the Harpeth and just want the convenience of riding the elevator downstairs.

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Sweet Treats in Downtown Franklin

Triple Crown Bakery

Triple Crown Bakery is a small bakery located in a house just off Main Street on 4th Ave. And it is a LOVELY place with delicious sweet treats.

It has warm and cozy vibes and they have a tea service you want a British-style afternoon snack. (Tea Service comes with tea and cookie.) And if you don’t like tea they do the same thing with coffee and hot chocolate.

Their bakes are SO good. I had a double chocolate cookie that was so incredible, and big enough that I took half it back to my hotel room to keep snacking on throughout my Franklin weekend. But they also offer other cookies, cakes, pastries, pie bars and all kinds of other baked goods.

I highly recommend a stop in here!

Sweethaven Ice Cream

Sweethaven is the cutest little ice cream shop on Main Street just northeast of the Public Square. Honestly, it’s perfect if you’re looking for Instagrammable ice cream because they have all kinds of fun and colorful toppings. But it’s also just SO good.

If you’re spending a day strolling around Franklin in the summer (like I was) this is a MUST. It’s the perfect place to cool off on a hot day and enjoy a cold treat.

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Tiny Little Donuts

Tiny Little Donuts is a few blocks from Main Street, but still close enough to downtown that you could walk there.

It’s housed in an airstream in the parking lot of French’s Shoes and Boots and they serve just what they advertise: tiny little donuts. They come in flavors like Simply Plain, Classic Cinnamon Sugar, Fresh Lemon Glaze, Special Dark Chocolate Glaze, and more.

This is definitely a great spot to stop for a quick snack or breakfast, especially if you are heading out of downtown Franklin for other fun adventures around town!

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Franklin, TN Downtown Restaurants: 15 Dining Spots You’ll Love (8)

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Franklin, TN Downtown Restaurants: 15 Dining Spots You’ll Love (2024)
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