Pied Piper Eatery, Nashville TN

I am running a little bit behind in sharing stories from our most recent road trip; we just had so much going on and enjoyed so many small, fun meals that we developed a little backlog of entries. Anyway, the road took us to Owensboro and back, with an overnight stay in one of our favorite cities, Nashville. This town, of course, has no shortage of very, very good restaurants. Since I made some friends here more than a decade ago, I’ve had some really great meals in their company. In the summer of last year, some our friends introduced us to Pied Piper Eatery in the Inglewood neighborhood northeast of downtown. It’s the sister restaurant of the long-running, much-loved Pied Piper Creamery, and is owned by family members, though they try not to cannibalize ice cream sales at the Creamery too much by only offering one or two flavors at a time.

What the Eatery offers instead is one of the most funky, silly and eclectic interiors of any place in town. There are assuredly wilder and weirder out there, but this place, in keeping with the spirit of Music City USA, is like dining in a jukebox, with incredibly goofy music-named entrees and table space decorated with memorabilia from various famous artists. On our third and most recent visit last month, we ate at the Boy George table.

We’ve tried several different things at the Eatery, and I think that they are doing themselves a disservice by not hawking their burgers a little more. All of their sandwiches are good, and I’m quite a fan of their Monty Python Cristo, but if there is a better cheeseburger in Nashville, I have not found it in more than two dozen visits. I’ve had very good burgers in town, but these are my favorite. They also serve up some terrific appetizers, like the amazingly good fried pickles (“Mustang Sally,” for some reason), and wonderful sides like corn salsa and french fries. My burger, served with peppers and salsa, was called La Bamba.

This time out, a very sleepy Marie only wanted a grilled cheese. Here, the sandwich in question is called a Clay Aiken. If you can remember who the heck Clay Aiken is, then it still might take you a second to figure out why he got the name of that dish. Maybe a more timeless name might be “The Barry Manilow.” It was a great sandwich, piled with delicious cheese and tomatoes. Marie and I have a policy against letting children order grilled cheese sandwiches from kids’ menus, thinking them overpriced for something that Marie can make at home. But Pied Piper does such a good job with it that we told our daughter that if she can ever join us for a meal here, then she can have a Clay Aiken.

Getting over being sick and worn out from all the road tripping, this was just what Marie needed to ensure an eleven-hour food coma back at our hotel. Myself, I didn’t sleep so well, but I’ll tell you more about that next time.

Anyway, it’s possible that some of the names on the menu might get rotated or upgraded in the near future. Our server told us that they’re going to be making some changes to the menu in the coming weeks. Whatever is planned, the great meals I’ve had here make me confident that under the watchful eyes of black velvet paintings of country music greats – and you should see the Elvis in the gents’ – I hope guests will be enjoying terrific, fun food here for a long time to come.

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