Serving up a variety of homemade Southern foods and fresh, local options, Manchester, Tennessee is home to several unique restaurants perfect for the native and passersby alike. If driving through Coffee County on I-24 or Highway 55, be sure to stop by one of these lunch spots in Manchester for a glass of sweet tea and a classic Southern dish, such as a pimento cheese sandwich at the Mercantile Café or “The Best Hamburger in Middle Tennessee” at the 50-year-old Jiffy Burger drive-in.
Coffee Café | 108 W. McLean St.
A retirement hobby for a New Yorker and Floridian who settled in Manchester with their children, Coffee Café is mostly a lunch joint specializing in soups and sandwiches. With stained glass lights and windows and décor featuring movie, automobile and Coffee County memorabilia—some given to the café by customers—Coffee Café was opened in 2008 in an old building and smokehouse. The café cooks up soups, burgers, sandwiches like chicken Florentine and apple turkey paninis, and a few healthier and vegetarian-friendly dishes, including a black bean chipotle burger.
Crazy Daisies | 2032 McArthur St.
Opened by a former paralegal and Manchester native who intended the name “Crazy Daisies” to be designated for a flower shop, Crazy Daisies came to fruition instead as a brightly colored sub shop and deli across from Coffee County Central High School. Avoiding any fried foods and cooking in oil, Crazy Daisies offers hot-steamed and oven-baked sub sandwiches, inspired by the sub shops that the owner loved in her college days. Diners can enjoy the deli’s popular made-to-order chicken salad on a croissant or a chicken-bacon-and-ranch sandwich alongside a salad or bowl of warm soup. For dessert, guests can order a piece of pecan pie or cheesecake, or a Blue Bell ice cream cone at the counter. The family-oriented restaurant is run by the owner, her husband and sons, alongside a friend from high school and other local residents. Crazy Daisies offers catering, delivery, and a roving food truck that sets up in both Manchester and Tullahoma.
Jiffy Burger | 1001 Hillsboro Blvd.
Complete with checkerboard floors and vintage décor and memorabilia, Jiffy Burger is a 1950’s-style diner with both dine-in and curbside service. Established in 1965, the diner serves traditional breakfast items in the morning, and an assortment of addictively delicious and fried Southern options at lunch and dinner. Though Jiffy Burger is known for its hamburgers and the Bonnaroo Burger, which are made fresh daily and never frozen, the restaurant also serves stuffed baked potatoes, barbecue, pork tenderloin, sandwiches and hot lunch plates. Jiffy Burger has been voted the “Best Hamburger in Middle Tennessee” by The Tennessee Magazine and the “Best Burger in Manchester” by the Manchester Times. Jiffy Burger was also designated a special location by Tennessee Backroads Heritage. The diner only accepts cash and checks, but there is an ATM located inside.
The Mercantile Café | 100 W. Fort St.
With a continually changing menu that isn’t decided until the night before, The Mercantile is a café located in downtown Manchester, in the same building as the Sweet Simplicity Bakery. Currently owned by two sisters who bought the café from another pair of sisters (who also happened to be their relatives), the Mercantile specializes in quality, hot-and-ready Southern food. On a typical day, the café offers at least three different meats, a handful of vegetable sides, and an assortment of cold salads and a salad bar—all fresh, homemade and occasionally featuring vegetables from the owner’s garden. Southern staples such as chicken salad and pimento cheese are featured on the menu every day, and on Wednesdays and Sundays the meat-and-three eatery serves its popular chicken and dressing. On Friday nights, the Mercantile also hosts a fish fry with fried fish and chicken. For those attempting to be healthier in their lunch choice, the Mercantile keeps a low-carb option on the menu, though it may be difficult to resist the cookies, cake and candies at its adjoining bake shop, Sweet Simplicity. Diners can devour their lunch in the Mercantile’s large and rustic dining area or take their meal on the go. The Mercantile also caters for local orders.
West Main Brick Oven | 111 W. Main St.
Located on the square in Manchester, West Main Brick Oven was opened in 2016 to continue the owner’s family heritage of running pizzerias and eateries that value his Italian grandmother’s adherence to “quality, patience and simplicity” in her food. At West Main, which serves lunch every Saturday, all pizzas are made from scratch—with homemade sauce, Caputo flour from Naples, buffalo milk cheese, quality toppings, and cooked in a hand-crafted brick oven imported from Italy. West Main also offers homemade breads, pastas, sandwiches, and a full bar with local wine and local beer. If you are still hungry after lunch, be sure to try West Main’s homemade tiramisu, cannoli or cheesecake, accompanied by a hot drink from the espresso bar. West Main also hosts special events on the square, wine tastings with Bean’s Creek, and live music on many weekend nights.
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