Road Trip? Eat Well. City House.

Staci Strauss

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I've mentioned before that Craig and I drive a lot (and I've promised him I'll quit mentioning it!). The stories we produce on real food people tend to be scattered far and wide. It's cool because we love a good road trip — you plan your trip and then discover things you hadn't planned on. Case in point, City House in Nashville, Tennessee.

When we decided to interview Scott Witherow of Olive & Sinclair Chocolates in East Nashville, I began my lobbying efforts to drive instead of fly. Nashville's on the way to Dallas, right?

Gotta go visit the folks, oh, and we need stop in Staunton, Virginia to visit Joel Salatin's Polyface Farms to shoot some extra footage for his story (you'll find him in our WATCH category). So I say to Craig, "Wouldn't it just be easier to drive?" Now most people don't think that driving from Woodstock, New York to Dallas, Texas is in any way easier than flying (Craig included), but that's how we roll these days.

So, we load the car with all our photo gear, all our personal effects, the dog and all her gear, and of course, my trusty traveling kitchen. When we are staying night after night in hotels, I like to be able to make our morning coffee and eggs, sandwiches for the car, and a little something for dinner at the end of a long day of driving — from scratch, just like I do at home. There are a lot of stretches along the roads we travel that just don't offer anything I can identify as real food.

However, I have to tell you that my view on that statement is changing.

At the end of the day we spent filming Scott at his wonderfully fragrant chocolate factory, I asked him where we should go if we wanted to eat good local food. Without any hesitation, he said, "You have to try City House, Tandy Wilson's joint in the Germantown neighborhood." So we called for reservations.

When the cab pulled up to the restaurant, we were pretty sure we were in the wrong place. There was no sign (at least we didn't see one) and it felt like we were in a quiet, residential district. Maybe one that was getting one of those "urban face lifts" one hears about. But, when we walked in, we immediately felt at home. City House is a wood-fired pizza lover's dream. We sat at the bar and talked to the pizza chef as we drank a nice bottle of Cote-du-Rhones. He suggested the grilled octopus to start, followed by the pizza with ham and egg. Who were we to argue? I won't bore you with the details of how succulent the octopus was or how I really wanted a second pizza just like the first one, but trust me, if you eat there, you will enjoy it. We did, and it was delicious!

We didn't get a chance to meet Tandy, but we immediately put him on our list of food people to interview. I've been reading about him online and it seems like he is a giver, helping Nashville area flood victims, cooking for Share Our Strength donors or helping a local pig farmer out by purchasing his product.

The good news is that in Nashville, there are many killer restaurants. It's especially nice to know there is a place like City House, a great place to eat real food served by really nice people. These folks really care about the ingredients they use, they understand that supporting local producers is good for the whole community and at the end of the day they have assembled a comfortable, casual respite where good food, good wine and good company come together.

Watch for our interview with Scott Witherow of Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. next week. Buy your sweetie the best southern artisan chocolates going.

Do you have a favorite restaurant that you discovered on your way somewhere else? Tell us about it in the comments below!