Dierks Bentley is the first to admit he does not have your typical diet.
The country singer—who just announced the 2018 Mountain High Tour with Brothers Osborne and breakout country band LANCO—told PEOPLE that he’s had to figure out the right fuel to maintain the level of energy his fans expect from him night after night on stage.
“My whole life revolves around energy management. I have to walk on stage at 9:30 like peaking energy, which is a really weird thing because when I’m off the road, I’m usually heading towards bed at that point,” he says. “It’s this crazy energy swap you have to figure out, so my eating habits aren’t really made for people who aren’t dancing around the stage like an idiot every night.”
Instead of a big breakfast and lunch, Bentley, 42, gets most of his calories in after 5:30 p.m. “For dinner, I’ll have a huge salad with every possible thing you can find at the salad bar at our catering and then whatever protein sources I can find to go along with that,” he says. He’ll follow that with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich around 8:30 p.m. and pair it with “a lot of alcohol to lock in the energy boost.”
“Food is so fascinating to me because it really does power our bodies and we say that a lot but we don’t think about it very often,” he adds.
The thought has been something the father of three has paid more attention to as he’s aged—and it’s something he took into consideration when creating the menu for the latest location of his restaurant Whiskey Row in Nashville.
“The older I get, the more I learn that there’s more good food than what’s thrown at you through TV commercials,” he says. “There’s more than just cow, pig and chicken.”
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Though the restaurant—which maintains a family-friendly atmosphere with live music during the day and turns into a “huge party” with a DJ at night—offers staple entrees like fish and chips, beer can rotisserie chicken and mac ‘n’ cheese, Bentley also wanted to incorporate healthy options like red pepper hummus and kale and quinoa salad—a favorite of his.
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“I don’t know anywhere else down here that has a menu like we have,” he says. “It has a modern Southern feel and also offers options that aren’t all crap sports bar food.”
Bentley’s wife Cassidy, a vegetarian, is partly responsible for opening his eyes to these greener pastures. “She’s really helped my taste buds move beyond just what I’m so used to eating,” he says, “which is like a burger with brisket mixed into it.”