2725 Clifton Ave
Nashville, TN 37209
(615) 329-4418

Swett’s has been an icon of the Nashville meat-n-three scene since 1954, but the business did not begin as a soul food restaurant. In fact, the family didn’t intend to go into the restaurant business at all when they began. Walter and Susie Swett arrived to Nashville in 1920 and opened a tavern. Their work kept them busy during dinner hours, so they took to hosting family meals with their ten children in a corner of the tavern each night. Customers couldn’t help but notice the home-cooked spread, and soon began to ask for food as often as drink. Thus, Swett’s was born. The popular meat-n-three near Fisk University is now managed by a third generation, grandson David Swett, Jr. The dining room’s always packed, the service is always friendly, but the food’s never cooked exactly the same way twice.

Date of interview:

July 17, 2006


John Egerton


Jennifer Justus, 2012

Swett's - David Swett, Jr. - Tabasco Guardians of the Tradition: Nashville, TN - Nashville Eats
Not a single recipe is written down. Never has been. I mean it’s soul food in the tradition sense because if you start writing it down, it really is not soul food…There’s no recipe, so every day you’re cooking it just a little different.

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