Varallo’s staying power comes simply from serving up some of the best soul food Nashville has to offer. Seriously, it’s like your grandma made it.Did you know that Varallo’s Chili Parlor on 4th Ave. N is Nashville’s oldest restaurant? Yup. And if you ask us, anything that has been around since 1907 has got to be doing something seriously right. But don’t expect to find fussy white tablecloths and a menu full of words you can’t pronounce. Nope. Varallo’s staying power comes simply from serving up some of the best soul food (turkey and dressing, fried catfish, turnip greens) Nashville has to offer (seriously, it’s like your grandma made it). Also cool: The walls are covered in original photos of downtown Nashville, some of which date back to 1907, when Varallo’s was located on Church Street. So head on in, grab a cup of chili, and take a little trip back in time.
Frank Varallo Sr., a traveling violinist from Italy, opened Varallo’s in 1907 after he retired. During his travels as a musician, a family that he stayed with in South America taught him how to make the chili that would later inspire him to open his own restaurant. When Frank Sr. passed away, his son, Frank Varallo Jr., took over the family business. Todd Varallo, who now owns the restaurant (he began working at Varallo’s at the request of his grandfather, Frank Jr., shortly after graduating high school), is the fourth generation Varallo to take over the business—something he takes very seriously. Todd and his crew begin the day around 4am, making homemade biscuits and pancakes for the breakfast crowd (they serve breakfast all day!) and prepping the chili, turnip greens, and other deliciousness for the lunch rush. While certain menu items do change daily, Varallo’s serves a little bit of everything, so you’re always sure to find something you’re in the mood for. Oh, and they also deliver within walking distance.
Fried Catfish Plate Lunch
Bowl of Chili
Monday - Friday, 6 am to 2:30 pm