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(615) 313-7237 Mon-Fri 11am-1:30pm DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE, TN

Two sandwich shops sit across the street from one another, and they couldn’t be more different, at least in regards to quality. One one side of 5th Avenue is Subway, with it’s Jared-inspired subs heaped with pounds of imported vegetables and funky sauces. For $5 you can get a footlong Italian BMT.

But, across 5th, nestled in-between a law firm and a sub-par Tex-Mex joint sits Rae’s Gourmet. For all intents and purposes (i.e., eating) it’s the only place on this corner that matters. I’ve been a fan of Rae’s for years, but today I decided it had earned a glowing five-star review, complete with all the superlatives and accolades.

I don’t normally give out 5-star reviews, but Rae’s deserves it. It’s combination of quality, value, service, and friendliness, makes it a must-visit spot in downtown Nashville. Ask any of the 55,000 downtown employees what they’re favorite downtown spots are, and you’ll hear Rae’s on almost every list.

First off, they get all the basics right. Fresh bread, high quality meats and cheeses, and plenty of delicious combinations thereof. I’m a fan of the Angus Po-Boy, which is topped with “magic mushroom,” cheese sauce, and tomato (you need a fork to eat it). Also, their take on a Reuben is legit.

But even more impressively, they do daily specials, from crab cakes to beer cheese soup. And allow me to pause for a minute to praise this beer cheese soup. Spicy, cheesy, with a hint of lager, it is ri.dic.u.lous. I’m a little sick today, and I think the combo of hot, cheesy, beer-y goodness is nudging me towards healing (insert praise-hands emoji).

When you walk into Rae’s, you get asked to call your order out from the back of the line. If you’ve been there before, you get asked if you want what you got last time. If you’re a regular, they list your usual choices and ask you to pick. By the time you pay, your food’s ready. Yeah. They’re that good. You feel just ever-so-slightly cared for in a way that makes you want to come back tomorrow. Don’t know what you want? Ask for help. They’ll get ya served up right.

I’ve yet to meet a person who didn’t like Rae’s. If you are downtown and want to eat like locals eat, stop in at Rae’s. It WILL NOT disappoint.

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