Provence (601 Church St., 615/664-1150, Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.–5 p.m., $5–12), located inside the Nashville Public Library, serves excellent European-style pastries, breads, and salads, as well as coffee. Provence’s signature sandwiches include creamy chicken salad and turkey-and-brie. Or you can try a sampler of the café’s salads, including roasted-vegetable salad, parmesan potato salad, or creamy penne pasta. Save room for a decadent pastry, or at least a cookie, which come in varieties like raspberry hazelnut, chocolate espresso, and ginger molasses. For breakfast, nothing beats a buttery croissant spread with jam. Provence also has locations at 1600 Division Street at Roundabout Plaza; at 315 Deaderick Street in the AmSouth Building downtown; and in Hillsboro at 1705 21st Avenue South.
For homemade salads, wraps, and sandwiches, follow the crowds of downtown office workers to the Frist Center Cafe (919 Broadway, 616/244-3340, Mon.–Wed. and Sat. 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Thurs.–Fri. 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. noon–5 p.m., $5–8), located at the rear of the Frist Center for the Arts. Sandwiches are available whole or half, and you can add a soup, salad, or fries for a well-rounded lunch. The café has daily hot lunch entrées, plus a case of tempting desserts.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition