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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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Hap Townes

Hap Townes Restaurant

In pretty much the same manner for almost sixty-five years, the two Hap Towneses of Nashville, father and son, served up Southern home cooking to a long line of faithful and appreciative customers. Hap the elder started the tradition in 1921 with a curbside eatery on wheels, literally a movable feast. Hap the younger took up the spoon and spatula when he returned from the war in 1946. Together they built a new café, a little stone diner with forty-nine seats, on a quiet back street in south Nashville and made it into a lunchtime institution. The father kept an active interest in the business until shortly before he died at the age of ninety. The son sold out and retired in 1985.

It is with great sadness that the SFA shares news that Hap Townes passed away in July 2012 at the age of 89.

Date of interview:
2006-07-17 00:00

John Egerton

John Egerton, Archival Photograph: Courtesy of The Tennessean

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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