Driving down Nashville’s Nolensville Pike often feels like the equivalent of a global culinary smorgasbord. From Degthai, which serves fiery tom yum noodles that would feel right at home in Bangkok, to killer tamales, sopes, and more at Tacos Y Mariscos El Amigo, the options verge on overwhelming. One fan favorite that never fails is Edessa’s, which packs in regulars nightly despite its strip mall parking lot digs, thanks to ample portions of Kurdish and Turkish dishes.
Co-owner Mesut Kelik is just one of more than 15,000 expats who make up Nashville’s Kurdish diaspora community—one of the largest in the world. For centuries, the Kurds have existed across the borders of multiple nations, a cultural and geographic diversity reflected in their cuisine. Edessa is named in honor of an ancient Mesopotamian city in what is now Turkey, where Armenian, Arab, Kurdish, and Turkish peoples all coexisted.
Everything on the expansive menu here is made and presented with care, from the clay pot kebab, a sumptuously seasoned lamb stew poured tableside from an earthen vessel, to the su boregi, a many-layered appetizer of generously buttered, whisper-thin dough oozing molten cheese. The spoon-tender lamb shank is a particular highlight.
Know Before You Go
Can’t make up your mind what to order? Go for the Kebab Festival, a wooden board laden with meat and accompanied by an abundance of salad, soup, dips, and baklava.