Breakfast at “The Loveless Café” in Nashville, Tennessee

This is what a real Southern breakfast looks like; country ham (good and salty), redeye gravy, eggs (aigs), grits or potatoes, biscuits.

If you love the South, cry “Glory!” (Brother Dave Gardner reference).

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25 Responses to Breakfast at “The Loveless Café” in Nashville, Tennessee

  1. Fred says:

    Mouthwatering. I’m still looking for good grits, and good biscuits, down this way.

  2. TTG says:

    I still prefer SOS with scrambled eggs and hash browns all in one big pile straight out of termite containers from the company mess tent. I admit a large part of this love is the ambiance.

    I never heard of Brother Dave Gardner, but I am very familiar with Jerry Clower. I heard him on the car radio all the time around Fort Benning. My favorite was the coon hunting story when John ends up in a tussle with a lynx in the top of a tree with that marvelous last line,”Well just shoot up here amongst us. One of us has got to have some relief.”

    • TTG says:

      That’s mermite, not termite. That spellcheck strikes again.

    • Pat Lang says:

      I have happy memories of standing around in the rain or snow eating breakfast from a mess tin. This is different. This is a tribal feast.

      • TTG says:

        I think a big tribal food difference is the Southern preference for more savory/salty flavor as opposed to the New England preference for more sweetness in a lot of foods. The ubiquity of maple syrup in New England certainly has something to do with this. That and brown sugar figures in our baked beans and hams. My father would always sprinkle a little brown sugar on the ham slices for breakfast. Cornbread also illustrates the difference. I remember when SWMBO first tried Southern cornbread. Big difference from the sweet stuff we were accustomed to. My introduction to grits was in the mess hall at Jump School in the Summer of 1973. I thought it was cream of wheat, took a big bowl, put butter and sugar on it and, wow, was I surprised. Obviously I had to eat every bit of it under the watchful eye of the Blackhats. Even with the sugar, it wasn’t that bad.

        • Pat Lang says:

          TTG Yes, my wife is New Englander in origin and she dislikes Southern savory food. I have a real aversion to sweet cornbread. Did your wife like the unsweetened cornbread?

          • TTG says:

            No, she much prefers the sweeter northern cornbread. I do, too, but buttered unsweetened cornbread is pretty damned good.

          • TTG says:

            Another difference between my wife and I is how we eat french toast. I use maple syrup. She can’t understand that peculiarity and prefers powdered sugar and cinnamon. She also can’t stomach my beloved cabbage soup.

          • Pat Lang says:

            My wife does not like breakfast nor soup.

          • Fred says:


            “… how we eat french toast.”

            Butter! Leave the sugar for the coffee.
            Spam, yummy if cooked right. My father never quite outgrew Newark though he lived in the South for decades. Taylor Pork Roll is kind of like Canadian Bacon, though I prefer it to the later. Don’t get it much though. Too expensive even before all the pork issues of today.

    • Fred says:


      Yes, SOS. My mom could make a good one, used real chipped beef. I must admit to being fond of scrapple, too; and a Taylor Pork Role, even if that’s yankee fare.

      • TTG says:

        I’m not much for scrapple, but I still crave the Wilson’s bacon bars I always took camping. It was just a 3 oz bar of solid compressed bacon. I would nibble on it as is or use it on potatoes, rice or our powdered eggs. Unfortunately, they’re no longer available.

        Never had Taylor Pork Role or heard of it until a few years ago. New Jersey was far to the south to us Nugmeggers. Spam, OTOH, was another camp delicacy. Sliced and seared crisp over a fire and eaten between thin sliced pumpernickle.

        • Pat Lang says:

          TTG I don’t like scrapple. You have to grow up with it, like Mac and cheese. I did not.

          • JerseyJeffersonian says:

            As a Philly area resident, and Pennsylvania Deutsch through my mother, scrapple was a feature ar our breakfast now and again. It must be cooked properly; i.e., crusty, not burnt, on the outside, and creamy smooth inside. If sliced too thin, like you can readily do with Spam (with Dijon mustard, please), it will be difficult to get that creamy texture on the inside. Thickly sliced, crusted on the outside; now that is properly cooked scrapple.

            My dad was from Arkansas, so grits was a favorite, with my mother’s corn meal mush as an alternative.

            To take a little detour, dinner: a boiled ham, cooked with black-eyed peas, and cabbage wedges added on top, served with a bit of the pot liquor ladled over it, that from my daddy’s side; chicken boiled with quartered potatoes in a pot liquor flavored with a liberal dose of saffron, with fresh dumplings cooked on top just before serving, again with the pot liquor ladled on to the dumplings on the plate, potatoes mashed, salted, peppered, and well buttered, that from my mom’s side. Complementary desserts respectively of pecan pie or shoofly pie if you were really lucky.

            Breakfast faves for my wife & I are homefries seasoned with Bavarian seasoning from Penzey’s, cooked first under the lid, then browned uncovered, with eggs (over easy), liberally dusted with Penzey’s Fox Point seasoning, and either slow-cooked bacon, or Aidell’s (from Louisiana) garlic/gruyere chicken sausages. Sausages first are simmered for a few minutes in water, extracted, the pan is dried then given a dollop of extra virgin olive oil in which the sausages are then slowly browned. Tea (Twinings or Taylors) for my wife, coffee for me (from a South Jersey roaster), brewed in a French press. I drink my coffee from a small coffee cup from the Cadet Mess at Corpus Christi Texas Naval Air Training Center that came to me through my dad; guess he hooked one when he was leaving for his new posting in Philadelphia where he met my mom, who was in training as a registered nurse at the University of Pennsylvania. Thus, drinking from this cup puts me in mind of them both, sitting here in the house my dad architected when I was 5-6 years of age.

  3. Peter Williams says:

    I don’t mind the occasional Full English Breakfast, (becoming hard to find in Australia) but that looks pretty appetising. I had to search for redeye gravy. and it sounds fine to me. Grits is one thing from the US that I learnt to really like, until I found Russian buckwheat kasha. Your biscuits are our scones, and usually used for sweets, jam and cream.
    There used to be a truckstop on the way from Sydney to Brisbane that served something similar to your breakfast – thick sliced ham fried in pork fat, fried eggs and tomatoes, toast and tomato sauce (catsup) as the accompaniment (self serve). I would never pollute the meal with tomato sauce and always carried a small bottle of Tabasco for the eggs.

  4. BillWade says:

    Fred, A bit of a hike for you but a nice Sunday brunch outing:

    No biscuits but mouth watering beignets, scroll down a bit for the Sunday brunch menu. You can also stop on the way back and visit Boca Grande and possibly run into Tucker Carlson or one of the extended Bush clan. You’ll need $7 to get there over the toll bridge.

  5. J says:

    I thankfully have the best of both worlds, world class southern biscuits, and scones that bring a tear to one’s eyes. My little Irish better half makes a kitchen sing for joy as her red-eye becomes a delight fit for a chuck-wagon.

  6. Bill Roche says:

    The only thing I took home from Forts Jackson and Gordon was a love for turnips or swiss chard softened in bacon fat. It would go right through you except the fat that clung to your arteries. Can’t get it in NY. I’ve tried.

  7. Oilman2 says:

    For me, serving or even ability to make red eye gravy is the litmus test for true southern eating. This is the reason we buy bone-in ham and then ave the bone for beans and the juice for red eye…

    Now I have a hankering…and it is 100% the fault of your posting…

    • Pat Lang says:

      My French Canadian grand pere would make his idea of a grand breakfast on hunting or fishing winter mornings; crepes, fried salt pork , scrambled eggs and put maple syrup over the whole thing.

  8. Deap says:

    Out west, gotta love our Huevos Rancheros – fried eggs on a grilled corn tortilla, piquant tomato chili sauce and sprinkled with Mexican cheese. It’s all in the sauce between bland to fabulous

    But the regular American breakfast – scrambled eggs, toast, crisp bacon and even crisper crusted hash browns is a culinary classic – always worth ordering any time of the day. Love truck stops early in the morning – no one does a bad job on this one.

    Dagnan’s Cafe in Union Mississippi started my own love affair with grits – or was it the dollop of melting butter? S&A’s Fine Foods also in Union, MS has as good a southern fried chicken buffet lunch as you will find – topped off with coconut pie and sweet tea.

  9. Leith says:

    Grandma Opal, born and raised in Presque Isle Maine, used to bake that sweet cornbread, but she called it Johnny Cake. She and her son-in-law, my Dad who was Virginia born, used to get in gracious and good-tempered back-and-forth discussions about which was the true name. Neither ever gave an inch.

    But as I recall when she made breakfast it was almost identical to that Loveless Cafe breakfast image shown above. It always included a thick slice of bone-in ham, biscuits. eggs sunnyside, potatoes, and a sausage gravy instead of red-eye. But he swore that her biscuits were better than anything he had eaten as a boy. Dad would swear that her biscuits were better than anything he had eaten as a boy in VA. She would just tell him to stop with the soft-soaping while handing him more biscuits.

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