Welcome to the Year in Eater 2021 — an annual tradition that looks back at the highs, lows, and in-betweens of the Nashville restaurant scene. Today, a few Nashville food writers, editors, and chefs share the restaurant closures that hurt the most during the last year.
What was 2021’s saddest restaurant closure?
Jackie Gutierrez-Jones, food and beverage writer at Eater Nashville, Nashville Lifestyles, Time Out, Lonely Planet: Saying good-bye is such sweet sorrow — especially when it comes to an institution like the Hermitage Cafe. After dropping my kiddo off at the neighboring Nashville Children’s Theater for Saturday morning classes, I’d post up at the Hermitage for biscuits and gravy and superb people-watching — all without blowing up my checking account. Saturday mornings will never be the same.
Chris Chamberlain, food writer at Nashville Scene, Sounds Like Nashville, and other publications: I’d say Rotier’s or Hermitage Cafe, but I really hadn’t been to either one in years. Union Common was a dependable favorite, especially during its first five years of operation. I loved the bar program and the smoked mussels, so that one stung.
Ellen Fort, senior editor and food writer at Saveur Magazine, former editor of Eater SF: There were many, but Rotier’s was truly devastating. I loved their burgers, the place, the people. My parents used to go there for burgers and beers in the 70s; it feels like that whole world, that part of Nashville is crumbling all around us.
Nancy Vienneau, food journalist, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine: Toss-up between Rotier’s and Hermitage Cafe.
Andy Little, executive chef at Josephine and James Beard semi-finalist: Rotier’s.
Delia Jo Ramsey, Eater Nashville editor: Echoing the repeated answers of Rotier’s and Hermitage Cafe, but also adding Eastland Cafe, PM, and Setsun to the list of huge losses for Nashville — Setsun’s lovely ricotta agnolotti are much missed in my rotation.