Feeding nearby Vanderbilt students and surrounding neighborhoods for four generations, homey Rotier's features some of Nashville's best burgers and one of the best selections of the city's trademark meat-and-three plates. You can almost see matriarch Evelyn Rotier, who opened the restaurant with her late husband John in 1945, cradling a customer's toddler on one hip while refilling water glasses with her free hand and lightly scolding a rowdy booth of undergrads along the way. Now her children and grandchildren are in charge and ably carry on the legacy. Among the array of sandwiches, Rotier's cheeseburger on French bread has topped many local best-burger polls for years. But some say that even better is the grilled cheeseburger: basically a richly buttered grilled cheese sandwich with a ground beef patty in the middle. If in doubt, order the onion rings over the fries. Tried-and-true diner-style steaks, fried seafood and spaghetti plates are offered daily. All the vegetables (yes, macaroni and cheese is a vegetable) shine in the meat-and-three offerings, which vary daily, although fried chicken and roast beef never leave the menu. Locals know that the Rotier's milkshake may be Nashville's finest - hand-dipped and mixed, served in an icy metal tumbler - but isn't mentioned on the well-worn menus.
"To many Nashvillians, Rotier's is a refuge of ritual, a bulwark against all that is temporal and trendy. ... There are two schools of thought on what to get: There's the French bread school and the grilled cheeseburger contingent. We suggest you migrate freely between the two."