A meat and three restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee
A meat and three restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee

In the cuisine of the Southern United States, a meat and three restaurant is one where the customer picks one meat from a daily selection of three to six choices (such as fried chicken, country ham, beef, country-fried steak, meatloaf, or pork chop[1][2]) and three side dishes from a list that may include up to a dozen other options (usually vegetables, potatoes, corn, green or lima beans,[3] but also other selections such as gelatin, creamed corn, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, or even a dessert).[2][4]

A meat-and-three meal is often served with cornbread and sweet tea.[3][4] Meat and three is popular throughout the United States, but its roots can be traced to Tennessee and its capital of Nashville.[2][3][4][5] The phrase has been described as implying "glorious vittles served with utmost informality."[4] It is also associated with soul food.[3]

Similar concepts include the Hawaiian plate lunch, which features a variety of entrée choices but typically has standardized side items,[6][7] and the southern Louisiana plate lunch, which features menu options that change daily.[8] It is somewhat similar to a blue-plate special but with a more fixed menu.[9] Boston Market and Cracker Barrel chains of restaurants offers a similar style of food selection.[10]

See also


  1. ^ Finch 2009, p. 89.
  2. ^ a b c Davies 2011, p. 21.
  3. ^ a b c d Finch 2009, p. 85.
  4. ^ a b c d Stern & Stern 2009, pp. 180–81.
  5. ^ Schatz 2006, p. 4.
  6. ^ Childress, Tricia (October 19, 2010). "Hawaiian Plate Lunch spot opens". Creative Loafing Charlotte. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  7. ^ Galdiera, Lyle (November 27, 2002). "Origins of Plate Lunch". Hawaii News Now. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  8. ^ Staff. "Culinary Trail Signature Dish: Plate Lunch". LouisianaTravel.com. Archived from the original on November 14, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2012.
  9. ^ Ferrell 2010, p. 153.
  10. ^ West, Kay (December 7, 1995). "Marketing Concept". Nashville Scene. Retrieved November 5, 2014.