When exploring a new destination, one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture is by savoring the popular dishes at the community's favorite restaurants. From burgers and beer cheese to honey buns and banana pudding, each bite of these iconic dishes tells a story of Southern tradition and warm hospitality. Pack your appetite and embark on an adventure that will leave you craving more, and forever cherishing the flavors of your travels.
Johnny’s Big Burger
Perhaps Clarksville's most iconic spot, Johnny's Big Burger is a community staple. Located in Downtown Clarksville directly across from Austin Peay State University, one might miss this hole-in-the-wall joint if they aren't looking for it. Johnny's still operates in the same place it was established in 1965, a small white building with counter seats that allow diners to chat with the cook while their food is being prepared.
First-timers must have a burger. Made the good, old-fashioned way and served with everything on top, you truly cannot beat it. For dessert, their signature Bun and Cream is a also must. This grilled honey bun with ice cream is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Eating at Johnny's isn't just a meal; it's truly an experience that lets you savor the heart and soul of Clarksville.
Local Tip: Johnny's is cash only, but they have an ATM located by the register.
Blackhorse Pub & Brewery
Founded in 1992, Blackhorse Pub & Brewery has been a downtown anchor since 1992. With a menu offering everything from flatbreads to steaks, there are three things guests must try during their dining experience. To start off the meal, order Blackhorse's Beer Cheese Dip, made with their Barnstormer Red Ale and served with tortilla chips. It’s the Number One seller on their menu. You can also choose to upgrade to their savory soft pretzels as your dipping option. When the server asks for entree orders, opt for one of Blackhorse's signature pizzas. Go the lighter route with the Whitehorse or go all out with the Heart Attack. Adding the garlic crust elevates the flavor, no matter the pizza choice. Don't forget to leave room for dessert because you will not want to miss out on The Big Cookie – a warm chocolate chip cookie pizza finished with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.
Local Tip: Not ready to go home at closing? Venture upstairs to the Taproom, open until 3:00 AM, to enjoy a round of pool or shuffleboard and continue sipping on Blackhorse's brews.
Tucked inside the Clarksville Country Club, Pbody's offers a large menu of comfort foods served in even larger portions. Diners will find everything from burgers and BBQ to catfish and tacos on the menu. With so many options for entrees, we will make the dessert choice easy for you - get the banana pudding. Now there are two ways you can approach this, order the traditional banana pudding or opt for the fried option! Either way, you can't go wrong.
Local Tip: Pbody's serves complimentary parmesan garlic chips to each table when seated. The best part? They are bottomless, so eat as many as your heart desires!
The Catfish House
A regional favorite since the late 1970s, The Catfish House serves hand-breaded catfish, hand-cut fries, handmade desserts plus all the other Southern sides you would expect like coleslaw (mayonnaise or vinegar-based), fried okra, white beans with relish and more. The standard order is a two- or three-piece fillet with lightly breaded catfish fillets.
Local Tip: Before or after your visit, take a seat (or “rest a spell” as you might hear) in a rocker along the wide front porch.
Taste the heart of the South, eat like a local, and experience the joy of these iconic Clarksville bites that will leave you craving more.