Marisa Goldstein and Ari Richman were freshmen at Vanderbilt University in 2014. Growing up in two known foodie towns (New York and Chicago, respectively), the pair bonded over their mutual love for food, and soon became ingrained in Nashville’s food scene which was just on the cusp of a boom.
“We were at Fido for dinner in Hillsboro Village and we were like, ‘We should start a food Instagram,” Ari shares. “We didn’t know where else to find food suggestions, and we decided we wanted to be able to provide that for others.”
That account was @Nashville_Eats on Instagram, and what may have started as two friends with an idea in a cafe has grown to a massive following surpassing 174,000.
As Nashville and the surrounding area has continued to experience an influx of both tourists and transplants, the hospitality scene has risen to the occasion to meet the demand. The city has welcomed renowned chefs with impressive accolades, opened innovative restaurants that have quickly racked up national awards, and maintained an excellent collection of locally-owned mom and pops.
“I credit us with starting our account at the right time,” Ari adds. “As Nashville has continued to grow, we’ve been able to be that source for people looking for suggestions for food, bars, hotels and activities.”
While the city of Nashville may be their primary focus, the pair have found their favorites in Franklin as well. Among them is Culaccino, an Italian eatery in the Franklin Square development. Chef Frank Pullara has created a space for gathering among friends or celebrating a special occasion over fine wines and craft cocktails, house-made pastas and wood-fired mains.
Franklin offers a plethora of excellent dining options across the city, but Ari and Marisa have you covered if you’re interested in venturing into Nashville for a meal. Ari’s favorite restaurant (and mine, coincidentally) is Noko, an East Nashville newcomer serving up wood-fired Japanese fare. Reservations can be tough to come by, so it’s best to book early. For seafood lovers, Marisa’s favorite spot is Henrietta Red in Germantown, which offers a robust raw menu with oysters and crudo and seafood-forward mains.
If you’re looking for a spot to grab a drink instead of a meal, Ari recommends Rosemary and Beauty Queen, a vibrant spot in East Nashville that offers fun touches like cabana rentals, swings, and DJs at night. Marisa’s favorite is an elegant alternative – The Patterson House is a swanky haunt off Division Street that serves innovative (and photo worthy) cocktails and small bites.
“I think what’s unique about us is that we love showcasing places that are hidden gems,” Ari adds. “It’s not just photogenic food, we like showing off the places our followers might not necessarily know about from looking at Top 10 lists. We share food we enjoy, and where we have the best experiences.”
You won’t only find food on the @Nashville_Eats page, however, as the duo also shares information on Nashville’s hotels and experiences, and occasionally spotlights things to do in other cities. As you explore Nashville and Franklin’s food scenes on your own, be sure to tag the account for a chance to be featured, and use #NashvilleEats.
“Sometimes we learn about things from people who tag us,” Ari shares. “We love our followers’ suggestions and we repost others a lot.”
Ari and Marisa keep Q&As with details on all their favorite spots in their highlights, and regularly respond to direct messages and comments to engage with their community of followers. Be sure to follow along for the latest and greatest, tried and true, and all the secrets behind Middle Tennessee’s best eats. Instagram.com/nashville_eats