Undoubtably one of the most stylish spots in Nashville, the Melrose/12 South area presents a smorgasbord for foodies, fashion mavens and architecture lovers (if you’re the latter, a stroll through 12 South’s historic homes is well worth it). All of the usual hits are here: cafes, boutiques selling carefully curated and handmade items, and more brunch options than you can eat in a week. Nearby Belmont University adds to the youthful vibe of the neighborhoods, though the stately and historic bungalows and nearby Sevier Park (home to an excellent Farmers Market) create a more residential, old-school feel. For downtown’s lights and activity, drive just three miles—about 10 minutes.
Where to Eat in Melrose/12 South
Best for Breakfast (and Brunch):
Fenwick’s 300. We’ll get to brunch in a bit! But for a good, traditional breakfast, Fenwick’s 300 is an excellent option. Family-friendly and open from 7AM – 2PM daily.
Frothy Monkey. Frothy Monkey leans more to the “cafe” side; they’re known for their coffees and creative espresso drinks. But they also have a full kitchen and some delicious hot breakfast options ordered at the counter.
Five Daughters. A donut lover’s delight, with an adorable aesthetic to boot. Super-convenient for picking up a few (or a dozen) of everyone’s favorite breakfast-dessert.
The Sutler. Now for the brunch options! Definitely try Sutler’s on weekends for their Blue Grass Brunch, featuring bottomless mimosas and live music. An authentically Nashvillian delight.
The Flipside. If you like retro-inspired restaurants and making meals out of Bloody Marys, this is the spot for you. The “Big Fix” Bloody Mary features a crab claw, chicken tenders, and other extras. (They have non-alcoholic food, too.)
Josephine. Gourmet comfort food at its best. Don’t miss the biscuits and the chicken and waffles. Service can be a bit slow, so save it for when you’re not in a rush.
Lovely for Lunch:
ML Rose. A runner-up for the brunch list, with two-for-one drinks, ML Rose in Melrose (get it?!) is great for lunch, too. Burgers and beers are their specialities.
Hattie B’s Chicken. Nashville’s reputation as a full-fledged foodie city is thanks in part to its signature dish—hot chicken. Hattie B’s in Melrose is the place to go for it. Bonus: it tends to be less-crowded than the original Hattie B’s in Midtown.
Bartaco. The pork belly tacos are a must-try, but there are plenty of vegetarian options, too, like the portobello taco. Wait times can be a bit long, but Bartaco is known for their excellent service.
Delicious for Dinner:
Sinema. Great for date nights, Sinema in Melrose offers top-notch food and cocktails in a former theater with a lovely art deco design.
Urban Grub. They do meat and cheese right—most people who try it rave about the quality of the food. Try the shrimp and grits, too.
Mafioza’s Pizza. Come for the excellent two-for-one happy hour, stay for the tasty pizza.
Smiling Elephant. Authentic Thai cuisine in a laidback setting. Try the The Pad Kra Pao (pork stir fry) and a varied selection of health-conscious fare.
If you just want to sip something delicious, we recommend Craft Brewed for, well, craft brews, The Sutler for great cocktails and 12 South Taproom for a little bit of everything (but definitely try the craft brews).
What to Do in Melrose/12 South
Shopping: In 12 South, the boutiques are as numerous as its brunches. If you’re visiting with your girlfriends, make an afternoon of strolling the shops featuring timeless Southern pieces, like Draper James (owned by Southern belle and Nashville native Reese Witherspoon). Or find your next favorite pair of jeans at imogene + willie.
Music: The well-known epicenter of Nashville’s music scene (Broadway/downtown) is an easy 10-minute drive or Uber ride away from the Melrose and 12 South area, but you should also pop into local, low-key favorites likeDouglas Corner Cafe, The Sutler (home of the Blue Grass Brunch we mentioned earlier) and The Basement.
Outdoors: Trade the bluegrass music for grassy lawns at one of Nashville’s many public parks. Sevier Park in 12 South is a particularly good one, with lots of space for kids, dogs and family picnics. If you’re in Nashville on a Tuesday evening in May through October, don’t miss the Farmers Market, with your pick of food trucks and vendors from 3:30PM – 6:30 PM.
Head over to our Trip Ideas page for more ideas for how to spend your time in East Nashville—depending on the type of trip you plan to take: Girls Getaway, Couples Weekend, Family Trip, Nashville First Timers.
And if you’re looking for a delightful home base in the Melrose/12 South area, we offer a collection of design-forward studios to sleep 2-8 people. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about our properties or the area!