A taste of Clarksville: Food scene in Middle Tennessee town is coming of age

The Catfish House, located on the banks of the Cumberland River, serves more than catfish, such as grilled shrimp over rice, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a table that isn't filled with the best catfish in the city.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. - You may not think of Clarksville as a food destination, but after spending three days in this historic town on the banks of the Cumberland River in Middle Tennessee, I discovered a food scene that is coming of age.

It was 20 years ago this year that a tornado blew through town, destroying many downtown buildings. City officials and business leaders, though, turned the loss into a gain, pushing ahead with plans for downtown redevelopment that were already being considered. Restaurants now fill once-empty storefronts and bring hometown folks, students from nearby Austin Peay State University and visitors to enjoy the flavors of the city.

"One of our greatest challenges is just getting people off the interstate into downtown," says Michelle Dickerson, director of media and marketing for Visit Clarksville.