Just about any place you go in Nashville will welcome you and be happy to help you order dairy free. I have lived in many places and Nashvillians are the friendliest folks on the planet. Hope you have a wonderful time and happy eating!
Earl of Sandwich
I’ve been a "damn yankee" for 15 years now. trust me, you’re safe. Like the Olive Garden commercial….when you’re here you’re kin.
Many thanks to MellowRoast, Frankman, and johnreed for your responses. I’ve generally found that wait staff everywhere respond well to politeness and patience, and will take all of your advice.
It just occurred to me that the biscuits and cornbread may contain milk or buttermilk and some grits (but not all) may contain cream.
Hidden dairy can be like hidden salt, you never know where it may pop up.
Don’t hesitate to inquire, and if the server seems unsure, ask for the kitchen manager, chef/cook, or owner.
Restaurant personnel in the South are eager to please customers who are pleasant and kind.
As a truck driver and fellow severe lactose sufferer I can tell you that Mellowroast has hit the nail on the head. Southern waitresses are a little more tolerant of us yanks.
Start out by saying that you are very allergic to dairy and you need some help with ordering. You can order poached eggs or if they cook their eggs in butter you can suggest crisco (not butter flavored) or even veg oil. I have usually forgone biscuits for dry white toast. Grits, I find are not usually cooked in butter but when served, have the pat of butter on the dish next to the grits and some has melted onto the grits. Places that use the instant grits wont cook them in butter but the ones that cook the regualr ones will add butter every now and again to keep them from turning to cement.
Hot oatmeal is a great day starter. But dont be surprised if you have to keep repeating plain, plain, plain. Take it in stride. Have it with fresh cut fruit. The kitchen will usually have something they can make up for you.
Fried foods aren’t usually cooked in butter but do have milk in the batter. Chicken affects me differently. Some does, some doesn’t. As far as a dinner I usually get some meat say sliced pork roast, bbq, ham, ribs, or roasted chicken. I get a plain baked potato and veg.
Vegees I would take for granted are cooked in butter if not presented with it. Unless you get the string beans that have the bacon or ham cooked with them. But like Mellowroast says ask.
Be wary of beef or pork gravy. One thing to remember, if the meal doesn’t come back perfect dont get bent out of shape. Take it in stride. Dont be afraid to send something back. Do it with style and grace. If its starts taking too long it means that something wasnt followed but was caught and they are correcting it. Also, don’t lessen the tip if the screw up was from the kitchen.
Good luck. Have a memorable weekend. Write back. Let us know how it went. The meal the meal!
Welcome South, Brother!!!!!
Hi, Nancy. As a Tennessee native and someone who lived in Nashville for 10 years, I can assure you there’s no problem with asking questions related to food allergies.
As in any other city, servers, cooks, and chefs in Nashville are responsive and accomodating to polite, smiling customers. You shouldn’t experience any problems at all.
Unless you’re eating in more upscale restuarants, I believe you’ll find margarine used in place of butter in the kitchens. However, definitely make it a point to ask. You certainly owe it to yourself to be sure.
As for biscuits, they probably use shortening instead of butter, but always ask to be certain.
Tennesseans are like everyone else. We want you to visit our state and have a heap of fun while here. Please tell us about your exploits when you return.
I’m about to make my spouse, who eats everything, very happy. We’re going to Nashville for Valentine’s weekend, and she can’t wait to tuck into some classic Southern cooking. I’m completely and totally allergic to anything with milk in it (I don’t die; I just get sick), and asking whether stuff has dairy in it usually isn’t too much of a problem in NYC. But I don’t want to be that rude, weird northeastern chick in Nashville–the one asking every single nice cafeteria lady whether there’s butter in the veggies or grits or gravy or eggs or ham or…you get it.
Can anyone give me a rough guide on what to expect or how to behave? I know better than to touch the biscuits, but should I expect, for example, that all veggies, everywhere, are going to be smothered in butter? What about grits? Grilled cornbread? Am I safe assuming that fried chicken and fish are fried in oil, not butter? Howzabout ham and eggs?
Or am I just plain old wrong in thinking that the folks in TN will be offended or irritated by my infernal dietary questions? (I’m polite, but I need to be pretty thorough.)
Thanks in advance for your help. Believe me: I’m looking forward to eating a lot of mac and cheese in my next life; but during this one, I’ve kinda got to watch it.
Dairy allergy: how the heck to handle Nashville?
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