The Best Paleo Friendly, Organic and Gluten Free Coffee Shops to Visit in Nashville: Music City. I used to drink skinny lattes in high school with Splenda added but since I moved to California, became a nutritionist and ironically got an autoimmune disease, I now focus on real food like our great grandparents would have eaten, which is also known as the Paleo diet to many. So I stick with unprocessed foods and steer clear of gluten/ grains as much as possible to support my healing. I have written a lot about my health journey here and here.
I grew up in Nashville when 12 South was not trendy and I confess I never ventured into East Nashville until I was over 25 years old. But Nashville has changed a lot since then and definitely for the better, especially if you’re a coffee connoisseur. My criteria for this post is can I get what I like which, depending on the day, is an almond milk latte, or a decaf coffee with a little steamed heavy cream on top.
I added extra cool points for places for a gluten free menu items and organic coffee. And straight A’s for heavy whipping cream and local and organic menu items. I got adrenal fatigue really bad in 2009 so I don’t really drink full strength coffee but I love the taste and smell of coffee. I first remember going to coffee shops with my mom in the 1980’s when she was living in Coconut Grove in Miami and my obsession with the coffee drinking lifestyle has never let up. I do judge pretty harshly after spending nearly 10 years in downtown San Francisco where all things food are seemingly discovered/ invented and although I am not a hipster with a handle bar mustache, I still live for coffee.
Organic Coffee Shops:
Green Hills and Franklin
Belmont/ Omni Hotel downtown
This pioneering restaurant/coffee shop opened up in 1993…today they have 5 cafes and two wholesale businesses. 100% of their coffee is organic and almost all of it is purchased directly from small scale producers. They have almond milk and even heavy cream. I love the one in the Omni next to the Hatch Show Print, you can get your fill of kitsch at once! Of course, when I can get a parking space, I love the original location on Belmont Boulevard too. I love anything and everything on Belmont, my childhood stomping ground.
(This is a vintage pic before the current reno that has just finished.) #memories!
This great shop serves Bongo Java coffee which is organic so do you need to know much more than that, not really! It is inside the Holiday Inn at Vanderbilt and has limited hours.
Okay I am not wild about vegetarian food because there is no meat but maybe they have a good omelet? I usually love anything that the owners of these restaurants do so I will have to try it and surely they have their awesome coffee selection here. Supposedly they have enough parking to accommodate non-Vandy peeps so I will check it out and update this. There are not many gluten free options on the menu besides eggs but just take your coffee and shut up, you can’t have everything….#firstworldproblems
Also has Bongo Java with an option for a $3 unlimited cup! How cool would that be to sit and sip all day! I have a date to go here with my sister ASAP. I am excited for the salmon rillette, and sides like sautéed kale and roasted plantains. They have gluten free quinoa pancakes that my husband wants to try (made on shared equipment FYI). Back to the coffee they have almond milk and heavy cream. This is also in my favorite hood right near my parents house which is a stroll down memory lane.
This cool place by Centenial Park has Bongo Java organic coffee and it attached to a great outdoors store. I love to hang here with some paleo peeps. They have some yummy gluten free treats that you can pair with your coffee.
Non-Organic Coffee Shops:
This is a community and personal development space with a coffee shop all in one. They get it! It is very accommodating for food allergies and they use coconut and almond milk in their coffee. The menu looks very gluten-free friendly and full of healthy fats. Only thing missing is organ meat and a grass fed burger, but they can work on that. This place is bright and sunny, I want to come back everyday! It is like the west coast jumped in a Caravan and landed by Centennial Park. Whoot! Can’t wait to try more!
Dose offers a great selection of coffee, tea and single sourced coffee. This has a Vandy vibe and few gluten free baked goods. The main menu is like bagel city, I mean who eats bread anymore? Hello!!! Gluten is the devil and I don’t mean seitan. They have a focus on fair trade and organic so I give them credit for that.
12 th South, 8th Ave/East Nashville/ Franklin
This cute coffeehouse has four locations in Nashville: Downtown, 5th Ave South, 8th Ave South and 12 Ave South! Chef Chase Ingalls is their Director of Culinary Operations, he focuses on using fresh, locally sources ingredients and did I mention they have gluten free options! I like the one on the 12 th south but it can get very busy. I have fond memories of this place because it was a new kid on the block before I moved to California but now I am back and it is so packed you can hardly get in. They do have almond milk so it is a good option when you’re jonesin’.
This place serves Crema Coffee. Enough said. The coffee shop part is a little confusing because there is a counter but there are also waiters. So maybe they didn’t have their stuff together yet because it had recently opened. If you order at the counter and then sit you screw your waiter out of a tip. So then I felt compelled to order another coffee so I could tip my waiter. So just sit and let your waiter get your coffee or get it to go unless you want to sit and have breakfast in which case you will get a waiter. Get it? Maybe it is more organized now and the hostess will put a smack down for the clueless like me. Anyway they have great coffee and it is a cool vibe and then you can brag to all your friends that you hang at cool places like Pinewood Social. I also like that they have free parking, in the daytime anyway. I am too grandma to go there at night so you night owls will have to fill me in.
About the food: This trolley barn turned multi-entertainment adult playground boasts a coffee shop in front, restaurant and bar in the middle, an antique bowling alley in the back, and a patio and pool outside. The food is interesting and they branch out with some touches I appreciate. One such lunch consisted of Pork Rinds with Adobo to start, Kale Caesar Salad to get my roughage, and Beef Tongue Reuben (just ask for no bun). They also offer a seasonal oysters on the half shell option with eclectic toppings chosen by the chef. The wait staff is very friendly, and happy to answer any questions about the menu. They have great mocktails if you don’t drink alcohol.
The original Barista Parlor that started it all, located at 519 Gallatin Avenue in East Nashville, Barista Parlor resides in an old transmission shop converted into a wonderful place for art and commerce to meet. And now they have one in the Gulch in an old record studio called Golden Sound. Everything in Barista Parlor is handmade and locally sourced, ah-mazing cold brew and super hip ambiance. They have a gluten free bacon and egg biscuit that gets rave reviews. I found the line to be a bit overwhelming but the coffee is really good. It was a cool building with lots of light where I was at the East Nashville location. They have almond milk and heavy cream so that is helpful.
Eighth and Roast
Melrose and at the Airport
Eighth and Roast is a cozy coffee shop located on Eighth Ave South. They serve craft coffee and have huge tables, perfect for speeding out all that work you need to tackle, they also have great light. They have almond milk and heavy cream. I love this area because it is right near where I grew up so I always feel at home around there.
The best thing about Crema is the house made almond milk. No weird aftertaste and slightly sweetened, it is perfect. It brings a whole new meaning to an almond milk latte. They also have seasonal offerings and I have been privy to two that were made with coconut milk and other spice selections. All terrific. Great option anytime for a coffee fix or treat. They also offer some limited gluten free baked items. This is my favorite coffee shop so far!
The Post East
The Post East is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to get a gluten-free treat, a fresh juice, locally blended tea or a solid almond milk latte. Most of their gluten free options are made with a blend of rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch, all of which many Paleo eaters indulge in on occasion. I personally shared a Egg in a Basket Biscuit the other day that had a perfectly cooked egg in the middle of its tender biscuity interior, so good. The coffee shop is beautiful with a dramatic handcrafted coffee bar where you order your house-made items. They have gluten free treats as well as lunch or light dinner offerings. Great little coffee shop tucked into an East Nashville neighborhood.
This place has a sweet yet tiny drive thru. It is in my neighborhood right near where I grew up so it can do no wrong. They have almond milk which is rad. They use Drew’s Brews coffee which is a local company. For food: they have gluten free bread, Amish farm eggs and use organic whenever available, FYI. I love the vibe here and if you can deal with the parking it is a very chill spot.
12 South and East Nashville
This place has a Portland vibe without the rain and BO. It is a great alternative to Frothy Monkey when it is too packed. The coffee is not organic and I do not think they carry almond milk so keep that in mind. The owners were inspired to open it after they visited emo Portland coffee shops and I think they succeeded.
Hip Donelson/ Hermitage
This cool little spot is a drive thru with custom juices and coffee. I love all the cool stuff that is happening in Donelson and I think this area is the next big thing when it comes to Nashville. It is so close to everything and already has a great farmers market, and awesome thrift shops (and could it be any closer to the airport!). Sips is just one more thing going for Donelson and they even have almond milk.
Also serving Drew’s brews, local roast. This is in the hippest part of East Nashville which is redundant. This place is very quiet, has good parking and free wifi (so does McDonald’s, lol). And of course almond milk (which they have) is a must for me but they don’t have many Paleo or gluten free menu items so don’t go hungry or just grab some snacks at Turnip Truck on your way.
Hillsboro Village/Vanderbilt Campus/ Airport
I love anything French so they had me crust-less quiche. This place takes coffee seriously and has Intelligentsia coffee that is award winning from LA and direct trade (that is new word for me?). You may get gluten contamination from breathing in the bread flour so get it to go (or just avoid this one if you are very sensitive). But I love this Hillsboro Village spot and it reminds me of a vacation I took with Grass Fed Chef in 2013 when we spent a week in the Château of Vincennes area of Paris. I sometimes get a coffee to go and sit at the outdoor tables.
on Granny White across from Lipscomb University, Brentwood
This coffee shop has a dual mission: to serve great coffee and food to nourish the souls and bodies of their customers all while providing water to African villages, which is great. They have great coffee and a lot of options for Paleo peeps such as almond milk and coconut milk. Go to Copper Kettle next door for the daily gluten free meal when you get hungry. FYI: Some people complained of not enough outlets so make sure your Macbook is fully charged before you go.
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Wanting to make your own coffee at home?
Here is all that you need:
Organic coffee: regular and water processed decaf
I like to brew it in this coffee pot.
Just add coconut milk, almond milk or grass fed ghee
And a bit of stevia with cinnamon and nutmeg
That is all you need to make a great coffee when you are home! But make sure and support local coffee shops whenever you go out. Did I leave out any of your favorites?