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I was so excited when one of my college roommates told me that she had booked a flight to Nashville for work. It had been seven years since I had seen her!

I hauled my 38-week pregnant self up to Nashville to have dinner with my friend, and we decided to try out Monell’s, the top-rated restaurant in the city.

The Germantown location is a short walk away from the famous Bicentennial Park. That side of town carries a lot of history and culture, so it was fun to visit! Monell’s was built in 1905, and it still carries some of the original architectural features. I thought the Victorian-style building, fairy lights on the trees, and adorable side courtyard made the place really charming.

The thing that made the experience at this restaurant really unique was the family-style seating and serving. My friend and I sat at a large table with two families that we had never met before, and we passed the heaping platters of food to each other like we were at a Thanksgiving dinner. It was uncomfortable for me to eat that closely with strangers, but it was also kind of awesome to get out of my comfort zone a little. Plus, the atmosphere was so home-y that it didn’t take me long to relax.

Monell’s food was top-notch; all the Southern food you could think of was spread on the table, including favorites like fried okra, mashed potatoes, pasta salad, fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, biscuits, and so on.
Thankfully, the plates are large so you can load up on a little bit of everything. Sweet tea and lemonade are there to help you wash everything down! My personal favorite dish: the cinnamon apples. It was basically amazing pie filling, and it was addicting. Check out some of the food and dining room pictures here on TripAdvisor!

Overall, the experience was very pleasing. My only disappointments were that I felt rushed to finish the meal, the waiters took away food platters faster than I was ready for, and I thought the restaurant was a bit over-priced (Go at lunch or on a week night for better prices!). Also, I would have taken more advantage of the “all you can eat” aspect of the meal, but the food kept stopping at one end of the table, and it was sort of awkward/frustrating reminding the people to keep passing the dishes. (I recommend putting ridiculous portions of your favorites on your plate just in case you don’t manage to snag that item again.) But I would definitely go there again, and I have a hankerin’ to try the breakfast menu next time.

If you’re looking for a social, home-town meal with excellent Southern food, definitely give Monell’s a try. It’s a great getaway from the honky-tonk and bar scene of downtown Nashville!

(Thanks, Krislyn, for a fantastic evening here!)

-Mariah

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