Where Tye-Dyes and Neckties Unite

“Buffalo fried tofu” isn’t exactly something you hear every day. That is, unless you’re Chef Brandon Cruze at the Sunspot restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee. “Where tie-dyes and neckties unite” is their quirky tagline, mainly because of the diverse menu that caters to an array of lifestyles and food preferences. Featuring a wide variety of Southwestern, Caribbean, and Latin American-inspired cuisines, Sunspot combines unique flavors for both vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.   Start out with their signature tomatillo salsa and tortilla chips on the rooftop patio, but we hear the Roasted Pork Burrito and [... more]

Feelin’ Squirrely

Chattanooga, Tennessee, is known for its rolling hills, Civil War history, and top ranked aquarium – but what about for its bar scene? The Flying Squirrel has become quite the hot spot for the city’s young professionals and savvy visitors alike, and for good reason. The venue’s modern architecture and décor stunningly combines steel beams, wooden bars tops, and massive glass windows, allowing for a cozy yet chic atmosphere. Even more impressive? The menu. Bar food takes a sophisticated turn with options like duck tacos, crab rolls, and meat [... more]

Artistic Movement

Tennessee artist Charles Clary uses bright, primary, and often neon colors that could be mistaken as simply playful in another context. But while Clary wants his art to invite playful interactions between the viewer and this conceived world, his art does much more than that.   Even though he received his BFA and MFA in painting, Clary has worked primarily with paper art in his professional artistic career. He makes his pieces by cutting hundreds of pieces of paper by hand and gluing the pieces together in [... more]

A Fine Place to Crash

Hostels generally fall on the lowest rung of places to sleep outside the home - after hotels, motels and even camping – but that’s not the case for this one-of-a-kind retreat in the mountains of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Opened in 2011, The Crash Pad has many of the traditional features of a hostel, such as bunk beds, communal eating areas, and affordability, but was also designed with charm, cleanliness, and sustainability in mind. The Crash Pad is geared toward adventurous travelers and one of only four properties in Chattanooga with LEED Platinum Certification (and [... more]

Nashville’s New Sinema

Nashville’s brand new restaurant Sinema opened June 27 and has some big plans. Its goal is to provide an accessible fine dining experience with modern spins on classic dishes. The menu is full of a diverse arrangement of American foods, while staying unique to Nashville traditions and flavors. Dale Levitski, winner of many awards and the runner-up on the third season of Top Chef, came down from Chicago to start Sinema and has been working hard with Q-Juan Taylor to mesh hospitality with fine dining. The interior [... more]

An Industrial Chic Luminary

This Decker Table Lamp ($365) from Southern Lights Electric in Nashville, Tennessee adds an industrial element to any space. This handmade product has a solid wood base that is felt-lined to prevent scratching surfaces. Also featuring a turnkey socket for easy operation, the lamp’s exposed cord creates an effortless look to the piece. The arms are made of steel and brass and are fully adjustable, reaching and moving in a variety of directions and positions. Each lighting project made by Southern Lights Electric is handmade and packed [... more]

The Last Bag You’ll Ever Buy

You can count on using luggage for the rest of your life, so it makes sense to get bags that look timeless and will last forever. Emil Erwin, a Nashville, Tennessee-based leather and canvas goods company, patterns, cuts, sews, and assembles each bag by hand in its studio. The brand’s shoulder bags beautifully hold your laptop, lunch, work files, and whatever else you feel like putting in them. They’ll cause the grumpy old guy at the office to do a double take, but decades down the road [... more]

Born From Necessity

“Rules are meant to be broken” is how the saying goes. Or in the case of moonshining, sometimes laws. Ole Smoky Moonshine finally broke through the law, becoming the first federally licensed distillery in East Tennessee. Jars of Ole Smoky Moonshine can be purchased today, coming in 12 flavors including Original, Apple Pie, White Lightnin’, Watermelon and Sweet Tea. The distillery, called “The Holler” and based in Gatlinburg, is available for tours and also serves as a concert venue. Ole Smoky even offers several recipes to make at [... more]

Add This to Your Playlist

Indie rock band The Apache Relay delivers easy vibes and smooth rhythms on tracks that may just become your new summer anthems. Catchy tunes such as “Katie Queen of Tennessee” and “American Nomad” feel as if they were written for driving with sunglasses on and windows down. Members Michael Ford, Jr., Mike Harris, Brett Moore, and Kellen Wenrich got their start in 2008 while attending Belmont University together in Nashville, Tennessee, and later released their first album in 2009. Ford, Jr.’s brother, Ben Ford, and Steve Smith [... more]

Road Trip-Worthy Tacos

If you’re hungry for authentic Southern, Southwestern, and Mexican fare, then you may want to join the line outside Taqueria del Sol. At first glance, you realize this isn’t your usual dining establishment. Lines often snake outside the door, but thankfully tables turn over very quickly. The popular restaurant wows with savory from-scratch dishes served quickly within a casual setting. Menu options include the Brisket, a flour tortilla with shredded beef topped with pico de gallo, and the Memphis, a juicy, smoked and chopped pork soft taco [... more]

Family & Fashion

Denim geniuses and real-life couple Carrie and Matt Eddmenson built their fashion and lifestyle brand, Imogene + Willie, to honor their eight grandparents, two of whom provide the brand’s name. Drawing inspiration from the dedication and hard work Carrie and Matt saw in their grandparents’ lives, the Nashville, Tennessee-based clothing company strives to produce functional, durable, and comfortable products—notably their fantastically crafted jeans for both men and women—made with love and compassion. It’s heartwarming and refreshing to see a design team so rooted in family values and [... more]

Memphis’ Culinary Cohorts

The story of Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman began long before the duo opened their now-famous restaurants Hog & Hominy and Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen. Andrew and Michael grew up in similar circles in their hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, and shared much in common. Born just one year apart, the two played competitive sports against one another in high school. Both grew up in large, traditional Italian families, families that loved the cuisine from their native country and their Southern region, and celebrated those cultures through food. [... more]

One-Stop Music

Do you like discovering new music? What about vintage and newly released music records? If you answered “yes” to either question, we suggest a visit to Nashville, Tennessee’s Grimey’s and The Basement. Located in the heart of the music industry, Grimey’s is a music shop where customers can buy and sell CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records. Here, customers can also listen to music and even hear live performances. Downstairs, The Basement nightclub offers a venue for up-and-coming artists to share their music and oftentimes gain popularity. Headliners [... more]

Ciao, Y’all!

What do you get when you combine Italian cooking and Southern flare? Luckily for Memphians, really good food. Though just a few years old, Hog & Hominy, a cool eatery in East Memphis, Tennessee, has already received many noteworthy awards for their inventive cuisine. Among the accolades, GQ named H&H one of the most outstanding restaurants of 2013, while Conde Nast Traveler placed it among The Best New Restaurants in the American South. The menu emphasizes this unique Italian-Southern fusion with offerings ranging from Quattro Formaggi to [... more]

In Rhythm With Nature

Inspired by the rhythms and changing forms of the landscape, Anna Jaap uses printmaking, drawing, and painting to create soothing masterpieces with multilayered surfaces. Currently living in Nashville, Tennessee, the Texas native muses upon organic forms that can be seen at a microscopic level, but also enjoys pairing polar opposites and finding a balance between them. Her work exemplifies her belief in the power of beauty as well as the time and effort that she puts into each piece. Anna’s art consists of multiple layers and a [... more]