Shortlist: 8 Restaurants In Jackson (TN) That Locals Love!

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Last updated on December 1, 2022 by Wandering our World

Jackson, aka The Hub City, has much to offer in terms of entertainment. We could go on and on about all the wonderful stuff you can experience here, but we’re here to talk about its food scene, and it’s as impressive as anything else.

Offering everything from Southern comfort food to the bold flavors of Mexican cuisine, you’ll find a variety of stuff among restaurants in Jackson, TN.

But to help you out, here’s a list of our favorite eateries in town – bon appetit!!

Chef cooking in kitchen
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Unsplash+

Our Top Eight Picks For The Best Restaurants In Jackson, TN: Food Worth Waiting For!

1. Old Town Spaghetti Store

Long-standing Italian eatery serving rustic Italian food and draft beers in a charming ambiance and a cozy patio

What started as a small restaurant in 1982 quickly turned into raging success in 1989, when the Old Town Spaghetti Store relocated to a bigger venue in Jackson.

Since then, this Italian eatery has continued to thrive, dishing out hearty plates of traditional Italian eats. The venue itself is pretty roomy, with a bar area, black and white checkered tables, lots of paintings on the walls, and an undeniable, rustic vibe that can charm the harshest of critiques.

Even their covered patio has a wonderfully cozy atmosphere, with a brick fireplace and plenty of tables to seat large groups. Despite the impressive ambiance, you can come here for a casual, laid-back dining experience. 

With a menu featuring a seemingly never-ending list of Italian favorites, you’re spoilt for choice at this place. But no matter what you order, expect huge portions and rustic Italian flavors, so better show up hungry!

Lunch features an extra gooey and luxurious beef lasagna with that satisfying cheese pull bound to make your mouth water. Other picks revolve around vibrant and aromatic chicken or seafood served over the most perfectly al dente pasta.

Dinner is where the chefs showcase their skills with a very elaborate menu. Find everything from fancy pasta dishes like Ziti noodles slathered in meat sauce and mozzarella to exciting seafood like an oven-baked red snapper swimming in a white wine plum tomato sauce. Rich steaks including a beautifully grilled Tuscan pork chop and a classic chicken florentine also grace the menu.

Let’s not forget their varied draft beers and the excellent house wine list, offered at discount prices during their happy hours from 5 – 8 pm.

Drop by between Monday-Saturday from 11 am onwards for some truly hearty Italian food that leaves you with a full, satisfied belly! 

Address: 550 Carriage House Dr, Jackson, TN

Italian pastas with different kinds of sauce
Photo for illustrative purposes only:

2. The Blacksmith Restaurant 

Elevated burgers and steaks served in a warm and cheery ambiance with a spacious patio and occasional live music

If you’re looking for some good New American food in a festive environment to enjoy city life at its best, The Blacksmith Restaurant is the place to be at.

A relatively new addition to the city’s dining scene, this 5-year-old establishment quickly became one of the most popular restaurants in Jackson, TN, mostly due to its amazing food, but also because of its wonderful ambiance.

Their spacious dining rooms look very cozy and rustic with exposed brick walls and wooden furnishing, while multiple TVs at every corner keep the atmosphere bright and cheery. There’s also an elaborate and beautiful bar in one of the rooms, where you can settle down to watch some sports over an extensive list of beers and cocktails. Don’t care for indoor dining? Head towards the covered, weather-protected patio (also with TVs!) with plenty of heaters for you to cozy into.

As for the menu, it’s dotted with unbelievably good handhelds and steaks, and lots of shareable appetizers that pair well with their vibrant cocktails. Start with something like their hummus and veggie platter or charcuterie board, then move on to the very delectable sandwiches and burgers.

Their decadent Ribeye Grinder sandwich comes topped with a creamy bleu cheese vinaigrette and is a crowd-pleaser, while the ever-so-popular Forge burger with smoked gouda cheese or the basil pesto burger are also excellent picks. Meanwhile, a perfectly grilled ribeye steak with premium sides like a special blacksmith slaw or brussel sprout hash is also particularly popular, so be sure to try it! 

Aside from the food, you’ll always find the atmosphere to be fun and friendly here, with trivia nights and live music as the cherry on top of an already memorable experience. Drop by any day from 11 am onwards, or reserve a table to avoid a long wait.

Address: 216 N Shannon St, Jackson, TN

3. Exit 87 BBQ

Family-run food stand open 24/7 serving irresistible BBQ and breakfast picks with picnic tables outside 

There are plenty of elaborate BBQ restaurants in Jackson, but in our opinion, no one does it better than the unassuming Exit 87 BBQ.

In fact, this humble family-run food stand has been one of the most popular BBQs spots for over 15 years now. It’s located right off Highway 40 and is open 24 hours – a heavenly pitstop for hungry passersby and a welcoming little shack for those coming into Jackson.

So whether you’re craving a hearty breakfast or a sandwich at 3 am, just walk up to their window and the friendly folks will have it ready for you in no time. You can even settle outside on their picnic tables and savor the deliciousness that they serve under the blue sky.

But what’s all the fuss about their BBQ? Well, for starters, it’s some of the softest, most moist, and masterfully slow-smoked meat and ribs in all of Jackson. Second, it’s all fairly priced and served in enormous portions – enough to have leftovers. Third, the owner and pitmaster Josh is quite fun to chat with and is the perfect example of southern hospitality. Need we say more?

Grab their BBQ sandwich or a plate of pulled BBQ by the pound, and pair it with their cheese nachos for ultimate satisfaction. We also recommend their fall-off-the-bone St. Louis-style ribs, and mind you, they sell out fast! Oh and, don’t forget to try their sauces. Whether you pick the spicy or the mild one, you’ll definitely want more of this secret recipe, and luckily, they’ve got these sauces bottled up for sale.

Exit 87 BBQ remains open from Monday through Saturday. Note – there’s plenty of parking nearby for trucks and RVs, so in case you want to wake up to some smoking hot BBQ, you’re more than welcome to rest here overnight! For BBQ, this is easily one of the best restaurants in Jackson, TN.

Address: 2049 Hwy 70 E, Jackson, TN

Full rack of BBQ grilled pork spare ribs on a marble board
Photo for illustrative purposes only ( Mironov)

4. Tulum Fresh Mexican Grill 

Scratch-made Tex-Mex food served in a festive dining room with beach-themed decor and a charming patio

Combining a delightful ambiance with even better Tex-Mex food, Tulum Fresh Mexican Grill has been serving freshly-made tacos and burritos for over 12 years now.

Both of their locations in the city have the same fun atmosphere that can transport you to the sunny lanes of Mexico, although the one on Carriage House Dr may have just a slight edge on ambiance. This dining room exudes a tropical vibe, with very beachy decor that feels refreshing to sit in.

The atmosphere is casual with plenty of booths and regular tables, along with a bar dedicated to different salsas that you can load up on. And don’t even get us started on their fenced-in patio, complete with tiki huts covered in colorful lights. So utterly cute! 

Order at the counter, pick out a table and sit back as the food is bought out to you – it’s as simple and unfussy as that. And their service is pretty fast too, somewhat like chains, but the food is far from that. The restaurant prides itself on its scratch-made food, which includes all the sauces, salsas, and meats. Every order is freshly-made and served in generous portions.

Try their city-wide famous fish tacos, or go for something spicy like the Tacos Diablo where the fillings are sautéed with habaneros. Need something more satisfying? Opt for the hefty burritos that are filled to the brim with well-seasoned meat, veggies, and fresh guac.

Cheesy quesadillas, tortas, traditional-style fajitas, and other Mexican favorites can also be whipped up for you in no time. Don’t forget they serve beer and fresh lemonade, along with complimentary chips with every meal.

Drop by any day (or opt for the drive-thru) from 10.30 am onwards, and savor their vibrant-looking food in the festive atmosphere!

Address: 71 Carriage House Dr, Jackson, TN

Many types of tacos on the table.
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Ragiboglu

5. Brooksie’s Barn 

Buffet restaurant offering southern grub in a country setting and a family-friendly atmosphere with a view of a pond 

There’s something about Southern comfort food that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling. At Brooksie’s Barn, that feeling is multiplied by a hundred times, mostly because their buffet is so darn good, but also because of the venue itself.

Located off the beaten path, this hidden gem is housed inside a beautiful barn-like building, with a stunning view of a pond and nearby trees through its large windows. Inside, the dining space looks very rustic with wood-paneled walls and ceilings, red and white checkered tablecloths, and homey decor.

There are ample tables on both floors, and pretty much every seat has a view of the scenery outside. The atmosphere remains casual and family-friendly, though, so you can chow down all your favorite southern classics in a comfortable environment. 

The family-owned place offers lunch and dinner buffets, and its menu is every southern heart’s dream! Expect stuff like the very sought-after catfish filets and some crispy southern fried chicken to go with green beans, baked potatoes, and corn.

They’ve also got plenty of BBQ offerings too, such as tender St Louis-style ribs, pork loins, and smoked leg quarters. Shrimps, spaghetti, and lots of salads and dressings also grace the menu, while on other days you’ll find sirloin steak, crab legs, and frog legs too.

Eat to your heart’s content before you head towards the dessert section, with stuff like pecan pie and cobbler waiting to be devoured.

If you’re not in the mood for buffet-style dining, pick up individual items off the menu from their drive-thru. Find them open 11 am – 2 pm for lunch and 5 pm – 8 pm for dinner throughout the week. For great food in a laid-back atmosphere, Brooksie’s is easily one of the best restaurants in Jackson, TN.

Address: 561 Oil Well Rd, Jackson, TN 

Assorted dishes top view pork ribs, beef steak, salmon steak, chicken wings, Burger with meat, squid Rings
Photo for illustrative purposes only: Krisanov

6. Flatiron Grille 

Elevated American fare served in an upscale candlelight ambiance with a beautiful patio

If you want to experience Jackson’s fine dining scene, head towards Flatiron Grille. Devour elegant entrees and sizable appetizers inside their dimly lit, modern, and romantic dining room, where accent walls, dark wood furnishings, and luxurious decor keeps the vibe classy and upscale.

The trendy and brightly-lit bar area is the main draw of the room, where you can sip on cocktails prepared by expert mixologists. As for the patio, it’s equally stunning, with plants and vines wrapping around the fences. So no matter where they sit you down, you’re bound to enjoy the lovely ambiance. 

To match that fantastic atmosphere, the food has to be top-tier quality. And sure enough, their chefs whip up some delectable American classics worth every penny you spend.

Start with their very huge appetizer plates, such as the Bang Bang shrimps that have a bit of a kick to them, or the Caesar salad – one of their wildly popular picks.

Move on to the slightly pricey but oh-so-worth-it steaks with a crispy exterior and a juicy, tender center. Rich pasta dishes, elegant seafood entrees, and burgers with high-end toppings also grace the menu. 

Although reservations aren’t necessary, we suggest getting one as this is one of the most popular restaurants in Jackson, especially if you plan to dine in on a weekend when this place is a hot spot for dates and special occasion dinners. Find them open Monday-Saturday, 4.30 pm onwards.

Address: 1160 Vann Dr, Jackson, TN

Chef adding drizzle to fine dining plate
Photo for illustrative purposes only:

7. Rock’n Dough Pizza & Brewery

Casual eatery serving artisan pizzas and beers in a cheery atmosphere with a charming patio setting 

Jackson locals strongly advocate for Rock’n Dough Pizza & Brewery, and once you experience their food, you’ll know why they’re all the rage in town.

They started as a small food truck, and less than a year later opened up their first dine-in location in Memphis. Today, this locally-owned pizza parlor has expanded over five locations, serving the same wonderful thin-crust pizzas that earned them this success.

Settle inside their dining room which has a sleek and cool vibe with a bar, a casual layout, and upbeat rock music in the background, or dine alfresco on the pretty patio under the warm glow of string lights. You’re going to love their food either way!

The reason why their pizzas stand out is that they source their produce locally and prepare everything in-house – dough, veggies, meat, and all. But first up, go through their list of local and in-house beers – they’re known as some of the best around town!

Next, hone in on their unique pizza flavors, such as ‘The Burger’ with mustard sauce, cheddar, bacon and beef or the ‘Super Freak’ covered in white sauce and drizzled with honey. The vegetarian picks look impressive as well, and every pizza comes out with a perfectly crispy crust.

That’s not all though – they’ve got pretty good wraps in spinach tortillas and equally appetizing burgers and sandwiches, so you’re not just limited to pizzas here. And did we mention the cocktails and beers? We’ll say it again – don’t leave without trying some! 

Saturdays and Sundays are brunch days (10 am – 2 pm), with stuff like beignets, chicken and waffles, and much more up for grabs. Drop by any day from 11 am onwards, and dine among locals who swear by how amazing this place is!

Address: 16 Jackson Walk Plaza, Jackson, TN

wood fired pizza on table
Photo for illustrative purposes only:

8. Asia Garden 

Japanese and Chinese cuisine including sushi served in a casual yet impressive ambiance 

Established back in 1985 after owner Kathy moved from Taiwan to the States, Asia Garden is one of those family-run restaurants in Jackson, TN that have survived generational changes and continues to impress guests.

After dishing out Chinese entrees for decades, they expanded the menu to Japanese specialties and sushi in 2014, and boy, do people rave about their varied offerings!

The spacious dining spaces including the hibachi rooms are pretty cool on their own, with mood lights, fancy light fixtures, a sushi bar, and a large, eye-catching aquarium. They also have a private dining area with a traditional Japanese Chabudai table set up in case you want to make the most out of your dining experience. 

As for the food, expect everything to be made with fresh ingredients and beautifully presented in large portions. The exhaustive sushi menu features some of the best sushi you can get your hands on in and around Jackson, including many creative rolls that are quite fun to try.

If you’re confused between the Japanese and Chinese menus, get some stuff from both – they’ve mastered the skill of preparing both types of cuisines authentically. Try something classic like the Kung Pao chicken for Chinese, and some ramen or pork katsu to get a taste of those elegant Japanese flavors. Dine here once, and you’ll understand why they’re considered as the best among other Asian eateries in the area.

Asia Garden is open every day from 11 am onwards, with many lunch specials to excite the food enthusiast in you. Note – the place is very busy on most days, so prepare to wait a bit! 

Address: 660 Carriage House Dr, Jackson, TN 

Sushi platter arranged on a table
Photo for illustrative purposes only (

Restaurants In Jackson, TN: Our Final Thoughts 

It can get overwhelming to pick a place to dine out among the countless restaurants in Jackson, TN, especially if you’re not a local.

So just pay one of our selected eateries a visit, and we guarantee you’ll leave satisfied! 


  • Wandering our World

    Hi and welcome to Wandering our World! This article was written by one of the Wandering our World team - a team of travel enthusiasts who live around the globe.