Great Local Hidden Gem Restaurants

Takai

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Since it looks like Im going to be doing a good bit of traveling this year I thought perhaps I'd start a list of great local gems for people to hopefully add to.

Nashville:

Coco's Italian Market- Lunch/Dinner/Weekend Brunch
This little gem is tucked away in between a historic district, and the hood on the west side of nashville. It's family owned, and they make their pasta fresh daily. They also have a small market section where you can get all manner of fresh off the boat Italian fare, as well as fresh deli meats, cheeses, and fresh bread. They've recently added fresh chocolates, and gelatto.
Cost- 10-15$
Address- 411 51st Ave N Nashville, TN 37209(615) 783-0114

Monell's- Lunch/Dinner
This is actually a chain of true family style restaurants, and so far, all of the ones I've eaten at are fantastic. Everyone sits at large tables and passes everything around the table. Great food, often great company, fair prices.
Cost- 20$

Franklin:
Dotson's- Breakfast/Lunch
One of my favorite restaurants from my childhood, and still a favorite to this day. They will feed you a fantastic country breakfast, then smile and ask you if you'd like a slice of pie. They start baking at 3am every day, and open for breakfast at 7. They also have local honey and preserves for sale.
Cost- 10-20$
Address- 99 E Main St, Franklin, TN 37064(615) 794-2805

Barbra's Home Cookin'- Lunch/Dinner
A fantastic restaurant which unfortunately burned last year, but they have rebuilt and are almost as good as before. Family owned and operated, by South Africans of all the oddities around here. They really make you feel like you're part of the family. As much local product as they can get their hands on. The desserts are killer, and they will do custom fruit pies if you bring them the fruit.
Cost- 15-30$
Address- 1232 Old Hillsboro Road Franklin, TN 37069(615) 794-9533

I'll edit and add to this list as I think of more places.
 

Hitch

Super Member
This is our local find I dont share with locals, (selfishness in moderation). So if you're in town A CENA would be worth your time.
 
Birmingham actually has a vibrant restaurant scene. it depends on if you want fine dining under a James Beard award winning chef or a comfort-food buffet. We have a little something for everyone. I am extremely excited that our churrascaria, Texas de Brazil, is getting ready to open. It might not be as good as Atlanta's Fogo de Chao, but it will suffice. I could name gem after gem but my favorites are:
For seafood: Ocean
For Mexican: Superior Grill (part of a small chain)
For Italian: La Bottega
For steak: Ruth's Chris ('nuff said)
For fine dining: Highlands Bar and Grill
 

MaxBuck

Elite Member
If you find yourself in Meridian, Mississippi you need to check out Weidman's Restaurant.

drlivingston, I recall with fondness eating at Highlands Bar & Grill shortly after it opened (in the 1980s). Glad it's still there and thriving.

Louisiana Purchase in Banner Elk, NC.

Shame on the Moon in Rancho Mirage, CA.

Adolfo's in New Orleans. Take cash; they don't accept any cards. But it's worth it.

Any place in Portland, Oregon where fresh sturgeon is served. If you've never tasted it, you're missing something big.
 

Takai

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Adolfo's in New Orleans. Take cash; they don't accept any cards. But it's worth it.
I find that some of the best local restaurants and shops, especially in the south take only cash, and sometimes barter. Generally I like this practice quite a bit. I had brunch locally the other day and the restaurant took only cards, and looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to pay with that funny green stuff with pictures on it.
 

Snow Hill Pond

Elite Member
Since it looks like you're in TN, I would check out the following in/near Bristol (TN):

Burger Bar (Downtown Bristol, TN/VA Border): Hole-in-the-Wall joint that seats about 7. Burgers, fries, and milk shake are excellent.

Ridgewood BBQ (Bluff City, TN): Get there early because when they run out of food, they close for the day.
 

Tilton

Elite Member
El Pollo Rico in Arlington, VA. Best Peruvian-style chicken out there (and I've tried probably 30 in the DC region). The crowd is almost 100% hispanic (and of that, almost 100% construction workers and young indigenous Central American families) and they usually only have one guy who speaks English working at a time, so brush up on your Spanish (plus, they like it when the gringo show respect for them/their language by actually being able to order/converse in Spanish).

If not, all you need to know is: "medio, con papas y ensalada y Inca Kola."

Also, Pho Viet in Columbia Heights. Only thing different compared to other Pho places (and there are many) is the delicious Pho xa ot. Lemongrass stock with thai chili.
 

Adventure Wolf

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
If you're in Raleigh look up Milton's Pizza and Pasta. They have a lunch buffet for the after church crowd on Sundays. I have never had a bad experience, and I always run into people that I know there.
 

Dhaller

Elite Member
Birmingham actually has a vibrant restaurant scene. it depends on if you want fine dining under a James Beard award winning chef or a comfort-food buffet. We have a little something for everyone. I am extremely excited that our churrascaria, Texas de Brazil, is getting ready to open. It might not be as good as Atlanta's Fogo de Chao, but it will suffice. I could name gem after gem but my favorites are:
For seafood: Ocean
For Mexican: Superior Grill (part of a small chain)
For Italian: La Bottega
For steak: Ruth's Chris ('nuff said)
For fine dining: Highlands Bar and Grill

I'm in Birmingham about once a year, and I always make sure to (i) visit the art museum there and (ii) have brunch at La Bottega.

I'd add that brunch at Veranda is nice for a *very* Birmingham (or maybe just Southern) experience: dressed up Southern folk at brunch.

DH
 

Snow Hill Pond

Elite Member
If you're in Raleigh look up Milton's Pizza and Pasta. They have a lunch buffet for the after church crowd on Sundays. I have never had a bad experience, and I always run into people that I know there.

What about that hambuger stand near the NCSU main campus? Is it still there? It was locally famous when I lived near RTP, but I can't remember the name.
 

Adventure Wolf

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
What about that hambuger stand near the NCSU main campus? Is it still there? It was locally famous when I lived near RTP, but I can't remember the name.

I know what you're talking about. I've been there too, once. I don't know. Hillsborough has been redeveloped in recent years. A lot of my old hang out are gone. The Brewery, Sadlacks, The Jackpot and Timeout have all been torn down - among others. Since I'm down that way, I will find out for you and message you when I can.
 

Snow Hill Pond

Elite Member
I know what you're talking about. I've been there too, once. I don't know. Hillsborough has been redeveloped in recent years. A lot of my old hang out are gone. The Brewery, Sadlacks, The Jackpot and Timeout have all been torn down - among others. Since I'm down that way, I will find out for you and message you when I can.

Thank you. Don't go to too much trouble for this. I was just curious.
 

WouldaShoulda

Suspended
The Clydes Group in DC has never done me wrong but they are not exactly "hidden gems" just well prepared and reasonably priced menu items.

https://www.clydesrestaurantgroup.com/main/

Closer to Annapolis I like Mikes especially for .50 oyster night.

At .50 each, you can't afford not to east them!!

https://www.mikescrabhouse.com/

If I cross the Bay Bridge I may stop at the Fishermans inn;

https://www.fishermansinn.com/

When I go to the beach, I've been finding myself here;

https://twiningshanty.com/

And for subs;

https://www.alcasapullassubs.com/ordereze/default.aspx
 

dks202

Super Member
Bea's In San Antonio. Best barbacoa is town and I have been to restaurants all over town. AND..... it's available 7 days a week! Try the breakfast barbacoa plate.
 

Adventure Wolf

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
As a kid, I did a lot of traveling. MY dad was the kind of guy that worked 60 hour weeks, but every year he would go on vacation, and we'd go somewhere. I've eaten at a lot of great, local places all over the country. A lot of these places stand out to me, so here's four that stand out to me.

Little Athens in Weaverville, NC - Weaverville is a suburb of Asheville. Apparently my family originates from that area, and I'm up there from time to time. My dad loves Little Athens. It is a Greek restaurant that is friendly with great food. People that I know will occasionally bring up this restaurant when they talk about their travels.

Mexican Restaurant across the street from the LeSalle Hotel in Bryan Texas - I cannot remember the name of the hotel, but the restaurant is mentioned in passing in a Lyle Lovett Song. This restaurant looks like a dive, but on the walls they have posters of celebrities that ate there. It is the best Mexican restaurant that I have ever eaten at.

Nick's Spaghetti and Steak House in Yorktown, VA - This restaurant has been around for a long time. I eat there almost every time I go to Yorktown, VA. Try the steaks - or the spaghetti there all good.

McCall's BBQ and Seafood in Clayton, NC - It's an all you can eat buffet in the small town of Clayton. Sometimes I make the trip from Raleigh just to eat there.


The problem I have is I can't remember the names of some of these places. There was a diner near the Blue Ridge Parkway, a Thai Restaurant near Redmond Washington, a truck stop restaurant that I can't remember exactly where - yet it was conjoined with a Popeye's Chicken. A Mexican Restaurant in Morganton, NC, a Shiny Diner in Boone, NC. That doesn't even take into account places I've been to on my four trips cross country.
 
Last edited:

Jae iLL

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
If you come to Baltimore, you have to try the pit beef. Some people think Baltimore, think crabs, but pit beef is Charm City's food. Chaps pit beef is great, I heard it's been on some national television shows so maybe not a hidden gem. It's located in the deep east part of the city by the industrial area. Pioneers pit beef is also very good, some of my friends prefer it to Chaps. It's on the opposite end of the city.

Of course you have to 'Eat Bertha's Mussels' at Berthas in Fell's Point.

La Scala is a nice Italian place located in Little Italy.

Restaurante El Trovador in Fell's Point has a good variety of hispanic foods, and is liked by a lot of locals. I prefer to get Mexican over at Tijuana Tacos a little more east by Patterson Park, although this is one area of food that needs work in the city. I've heard good things about Tortilleria Sinaloa in Fells Point, but haven't tried it myself yet.

Charm City Wings and Waffles in Pigtown has chicken and waffles, and free wine on saturdays.

Mekong Delta downtown is a good place to nurse a hangover with some Pho.

The Helmand in Mt. Vernon does Afghan cuisine well. I spent 13 months in that country, and really enjoy a lot of their dishes.

I've heard that Woodberry Kitchen and Miss Shirley's on the northside have good brunches, but I have yet to try either.

Off North ave. there's a little baby Koreatownish area with some establishments. Nak Won and Jong Kak are two restaurants right next door to one another, I'd recommend Jong Kak. Just don't go upstairs, as that is a completely separate establishment not for the uninitiated. But, Korean food is best west of Baltimore about 15 miles away in Ellicott City. A number of restaurants are in Howard County, I'd recommend Shin Chon for your standard barbecue. Honey Pig is popular with non Koreans, but it's not very good. In Columbia there's also Victoria's Gastropub, which has good food and drink.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head for right now.
 

WouldaShoulda

Suspended
If you come to Baltimore, you have to try the pit beef. Some people think Baltimore, think crabs, but pit beef is Charm City's food. Chaps pit beef is great, I heard it's been on some national television shows so maybe not a hidden gem. It's located in the deep east part of the city by the industrial area. Pioneers pit beef is also very good, some of my friends prefer it to Chaps. It's on the opposite end of the city.

We've gone to some pop-up joints run out of trailers in the Summer.

There was one near Benjies Drive-Inn we frequented when our boat was near Essex.

The smell draws you in!!

When I'm in Fells Point I look for the last remaining Polish food joint at a market there.

Sometimes the Polish Home is open to the public for eats nearby.
 

GatorFL

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
In South Florida I have the following recommendations:

1. Leftovers in Jupiter is amazing. We've never had a bad meal here. Get one of the fish specials. Note--the fish available change a couple times per day based on what their fishermen bring them. Leftovers is our preference out of all the Little Moir's restaurants.

2. Bamboo Fire in Delray. We love this place. It's island food--mostly Jamaican, prepared by a husband/wife/daughter team. Beverly is the cook, it's always awesome. One caveat--they are from the islands so they operate on island time--slow. Still, the wait is ALWAYS worth it. https://www.facebook.com/BambooFireDelray

3. Pizzeria Oceano in Lantana. Menu changes daily, cash only, and they open at 6-ish. Not sure what more needs to be said.

If you guys haven't checked out Chowhound, I recommend it. I've discovered more neat hole-in-the-wall restaurants there than I can count. It's the ultimate Foodie website.
 
Your email address will not be publicly visible. We will only use it to contact you to confirm your post.

IMPORTANT: BEFORE POSTING PLEASE CHECK THE DATE OF THE LAST POST OF THIS THREAD. IF IT'S VERY OLD, PLEASE CONSIDER REGISTERING FIRST, AND STARTING A NEW THREAD ABOUT THIS TOPIC.

Deals/Steals

Trad Store Exchange