10 Best Mom and Pop Restaurants in Tennessee

There’s no cookin’ like Tennessee home cookin’! Mom and pop restaurants are the best places to go for a hearty meal that tastes like it came from your family’s own kitchen. Plus, the service is usually fast and friendly, too! Grab a great home-cooked meal at one of these 10 best mom and pop restaurants in Tennessee. 

The Silver Caboose, Collierville, TN

Step inside this family-owned soda shop and it’s like a journey back in time. Upscale and refined, this old-fashioned lunch stop has all the symbols of hometown vintage: desserts on the counter, handspun milkshakes, made from scratch sweet tea, and downhome cookin’ that’ll keep you coming back. They use tried and true family recipes that have been passed down for years, making all their meals from scratch and to order—you’ll appreciate the difference.

Elliston’s Place Soda Shop, Nashville, TN

Reminiscent of the old-school style soda shops of decades past, this family-owned business has been going strong for over nearly 80 years and counting. Still serving up milkshakes and homemade eats, the soda shop has retained much of its original retro vibe. It’s a hot spot for celebrities, tv shows, and other happenings that have made it one of the most iconic restaurants in Nashville.

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Pop’s Restaurant, Kingsport, TN

Locally owned and operated, this place is considered a hidden gem in Kingsport. Service is quick and friendly, food is cooked to order, and every visit feels like a trip home. It’s a great little stop if you’re craving southern comfort food and don’t want to spend a fortune.

Rotier’s Restaurant, Nashville, TN

Dishing out the best burgers in town since 1945, this former carriage house-turned-family tradition is a must-visit. Alongside their French Bread burgers, they’re also popular for their meat-and-three plates that let you choose whatever you’re craving for a single low price. And no meal is complete without one of their super-thick shakes that taste just like they made them in the good ol’ days.

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Bea’s Restaurant, Chattanooga, TN

This homestyle eatery looks modest on the outside, but rest assured the food within is some of the best in town. Food is served up family-style, with heaping dishes of all kinds at every table so you can take your pick of whatever you’re craving. A long-standing tradition in Chattanooga, you can expect amazing fried chicken, barbecue, and all the fixins to leave you full and satisfied. 

Arnold’s Country Kitchen, Nashville, TN

Designated by a bright red-painted brick exterior, this hometown favorite is country cooking at its finest. Small and cozy, every bite will be well worth whatever time you spend in line. The cafeteria-style dessert line ensures you won’t skip over the best part. 

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Little Diner on First, Cleveland, TN

Run and operated by family, this place is the kind of restaurant you’ll want to bring your own family to. Rustic and charming, the small diner lives up to its name in terms of size but exceeds in terms of food quality and taste. You can get a complete breakfast or lunch here for less than most other places in the area.

Smalls Drive In, Athens, TN

This cozy roadside drive in is a favorite place for locals and travelers alike. They’re dishing out all the classic diner favorites, from burgers to chicken strips to fish and beyond. It’s a small-town eatery steeped in history—they just don’t make them like this anymore.

Gracie’s, Maryville, TN

It’s not fancy by any means, but they sure do know how to do home cookin’ right! They’re the go-to place for locals to grab inexpensive meals that are also delicious and filling. And make sure you save room for one of their house-made desserts—it’s always worth it!

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Hillbilly’s Cabin Restaurant, Morristown, TN

Locals agree this place is the best kept secret in town—and now the secret’s out! This Smoky Mountain pitstop offers fine, southern-fried favorites for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, along with an extensive list of veggies to suit every appetite. Their menu’s chock full of options, and it’s hard to choose just one meal!

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