Put two chefs and two musicians at the table together, and the conversation inevitably veers toward where, what, and how they love to eat. For all of them? Turns out burgers top the list.
For both chefs and musicians, burgers represent the perfect food — even the most basic version can be both satiating and satisfying. And, as Nashville chefs Josh Habiger and Lisa Donovan discovered during a recent Sunday Supper with singer/songwriter Cory Chisel at Nashville’s City House, musicians can often be connoisseurs. “Doesn’t matter where I’m eating — could be Rolf and Daughters or Brown’s Diner — I’ll eat your burger,” says Cory with a laugh. “I’m a pursuer of good burgers.”
It was while eating a burger, Cory says, that he came to understand how pregnancy was affecting his girlfriend and band-mate, Adriel Denae, who is expecting their first baby in September. “We went out for burgers and normally I’d be the one leading the way, and she was like, ‘You gonna eat that?'”
Adriel smiles. “A lot of times we’ll share, but that time, I was like, ‘No, you don’t understand!’ I didn’t even save the last half of a scrap for him.”
Josh makes his own outstanding version, the Cheeseburger American, at Pinewood Social; meanwhile, one of his favorites in town is from Husk Nashville. “It’s just really good,” he says. Lisa chimes in, adding, “Everything is right about the Husk burger.” The two-patty monster is made with beef sourced from Double H Farms, a cattle farm run by Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel and its chef, Tyler Brown. Husk chef Sean Brock was the opening chef at the hotel’s Capitol Grille in 2003; today, he and Brown are still close friends. (Incidentally, the Capitol Grille makes another fierce burger, the Double H Farms TN Stack made with two patties, Benton’s bacon, and red onion jam.)
Cory, who usually hangs out at more casual spots, also lists Gabby’s Burgers and Fries as a local favorite, as well as Rotier’s Restaurant, a Nashville institution where you’ll find burgers on French bread rolls instead of buns. “That French bread does it for me,” Cory admits. “I’m a big fan of basic food, especially when something like that makes it just a little different, but better.”