‘Old Nashville is gone’: Music venue, cafe among downtown staples set to close

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — For decades the Hermitage Cafe in downtown Nashville has been known for serving up late-night breakfast. Now, the classic American diner is closing its doors.

“I’ve been here 25 years,” Linda Siegrist smiled with pride as her eyes swelled with tears.

For Siegrist, taking orders at the little white diner is a family tradition.

“The owner, Sherry, and her mom worked here, and then me and my mom worked here,” Siegrist said. “We worked here 15 years on nights together.”

Her mom’s name is also Linda. So, she goes by “Sis.” 

It’s the southern yet brash charm of employees like Sis that are part of the draw to the hidden diner. Over the decades, the little white building has faced inevitable change.

“It was a Burger Boy in 1954,” Siegrist explained. 

In 1990, she says it became the Hermitage Cafe. The menu has hardly changed, and the faces are mostly the same.

“We get Mr. Claud and Mr. Jerry, they are here every morning and they sit, they have their own seats,” she pointed. 

Sis loves them all — from the regulars to the tourists and the celebrities. 

“We’ve had Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Dolly Parton,” she went on.  

The history inside the Nashville staple is enough to write a book.

“Being here so long, all the customers and the history, the history is a lot.”  

It’s history that will soon be faded memories, that Siegrist will always hold dear to her heart. 

“It’s just sad. I mean, it really is sad. We are all gonna miss it.” 

She says they plan to close at the end of October. 

Just one mile away, a long-time music venue complex is also closing its doors after a nearly 20-year run on Cannery Row. 

“That’s really bad because I know a lot of people that work there and all the concerts and stuff that’s been there and helped people,” said Siegrist. 

The lease is ending for the owners of the complex that houses three music venues, including Mercy Lounge and a special event space.

One of the owners told News 2 it’s sad news, and in the words of George Harrison, “all things must pass.”

“It’s gone, this is gone I don’t know, it’s different. Nashville is not Nashville no more. It’s totally different,” Siegrist shook her head. 

Being an all-night diner, the Hermitage Cafe was often the last stop after a show at Mercy. Two Nashville staples — both victims of the new Nashville. 

“We were going to get another place, but we can’t afford Nashville no more. It’s just, it’s sad,” stated Siegrist. 

She says after taking time off, some employees of the cafe hope to start a food truck.

The owners of the Mercy Lounge complex say their lease isn’t ending until May of 2022, and they hope to relocate the venues to a new location. 

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