"I went down the street to the 24-hour grocery. When I got there, the guy was locking the front door. I said, 'Hey, the sign says you're open 24 hours.' He said, 'Yes, but not in a row.' "
Well, as far as Fish and Grits goes, not at all anymore. They closed their doors at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Division a few months ago and have been replaced by a new operation called Mac's Restaurant. Basically a diner, Mac's serves breakfast, lunch and dinner all day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and all night on Friday and Saturday.
Highlights of the menu include chicken and waffles with a nice cinnamon waffle and bone-in chicken. Our server said the specialties of the house included battered and fried chicken wings in several sauces and a buffalo burger. I tried the burger, and after hearing about all the wing sauces expected a spicy sauce. Instead I got a lesson in close reading of a menu when I encountered a really unique texture and slightly gamy flavor in the patty. It turns out that the burgers are actually made from buffalo, which the owners buy at the Kroger in Goodlettsville. You learn something every day ...
In my opinion, the real find at Mac's was the meat pies. Delicately fried and filled with a spicy meat paste, they reminded me of the pies I had enjoyed at JazzFest in New Orleans and at Lasyone's in Natchitoches, La. Indeed, the chef hails from that small town and I think she was impressed that not only had I heard of it, but I knew how to pronounce it. (Say "NACK-i-tush" and she might slide you an extra pie for free.)
The owners have tried to soften the decor with some earthy paint tones, but this is by no means fine dining. But if you're looking for a decent burger or some wings before or after a show at Mercy Lounge, you could certainly do worse. And those pies are a unique bonus.
719 Eighth Ave. S.