coronavirus

Nashville chefs support soul food staple amid COVID-19, tornado aftermath

Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — There’s no certainty for small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants are at the center of that struggle in Nashville.

What you see today, padlocks and empty parking lots doesn’t tell the whole story. 

“It’s been open for a while, it’s been open since my mother was eight,” says Sophia Vaughn.  

Silver Sands Cafe has been serving Nashville for nearly 70 years. Vaughn is known just as well for her service to her neighbors, as for her fried chicken, and pork chops and gravy. 

“I take care of a lot of people, elderly people, some people don’t have money to pay, they pay maybe once a month,” said Vaughn.

She won’t turn anyone away, feeds the homeless, always has, but at the moment she can’t. Vaughn worries first about how they will eat, although she says her restaurant, closed since March 1, will manage.

“It’s costly but it’s (repairs) getting done, it’s getting done, little by little,” she says.

It has been a long time. Shut down initially after the tornado. COVID-19 delivered the next blow but it was far from a knock out, because Vaughn, her business and neighbors, are fighters.  

“I really identify with her values as a small business owner, a restaurant owner,” said Tandy Wilson.  

Wilson, the owner, and chef at City House restaurant, a short walk from Silver Sands, knows what Vaughn brings to the table and the people.

“When you talk about restaurants being a community, you walk into Silver Sands and that’s what you feel,” Wilson says. 

In support of Silver Sands, Wilson and City House will sell 101 picnics Saturday, for $101 a piece, feeding four to six people, filled with Sophia Vaughn inspired fried chicken, to help her restaurant reopen sooner.

“This is Nashville, this is what we do we help each other out, we support our community,” said Wilson.

It’s what Vaughn has done for so many, a sign of what her family and restaurant mean to their community.

“You got to remember where you came from, the struggle you came from, the food you came from,” said Vaughn, “It speaks volumes.”

The Lee Initiative, a restaurant reboot program, will match all the money raised Saturday for Silver Sands Cafe. Another well known Nashville chef, Sean Brock, is also auctioning an online cooking class in support.

If you’d like to contribute or donate, click here.

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