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Swett's

2725 Clifton Ave., Nashville, TN - (615) 329-4418
Posted By Michael Stern on 5/13/2007 11:41:00 PM
Swett's is a visible success story: opened in 1954 as a small soul-food meat-and-three café, it became a large, modern cafeteria, burnt down, and was built again. Portraits of the founding Swetts adorn the walls; and their legacy is well-reflected by a kitchen that continues to serve hearty soul food meals at reasonable prices.

Like so many cafeteria lines, this one starts with dessert: lovely slices of pie ranging from low-profile chess to lofty meringues, plus a couple of hot fruit cobblers. Beyond the sweets are the meats; magnificent fried chicken, spice-encrusted baked chicken, sausages, country steak, and beef tips. Now comes the real fun: vegetables. Swett's repertoire is a southern symphony of steamed or fried okra, fried corn, squash casserole, candied yams, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, stewed cabbage, candied apples, baked beans, turnip greens, rice and gravy, et cetera. Most customers get one meat and two or three vegetables. Some fill their tray with nothing but four or five vegetable dishes … accompanied, of course by corn bread, either baked as a loaf and sliced or in the more typical local formation, as a cake fried on a griddle.

Draw your own ice tea (sweet or unsweet) at the end of the cafeteria line.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Fried Chicken
Cabbage
Stewed Apples
Squash Casserole
Pulled Pork BBQ
Vinegar Hot Sauce
Cornbread
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Far away from good barbecue, we find this picture hard to look at. Too temptatious!
"Far away from good barbecue, we find this picture hard to look at. Too temptatious!"
Michael Stern





A star of the Swett's vegetable roster: squash casserole
"A star of the Swett's vegetable roster: squash casserole"
Michael Stern


We never knew we liked cabbage so much until we began tasting it in the soul food restaurants of the South.
"We never knew we liked cabbage so much until we began tasting it in the soul food restaurants of the South."
Michael Stern


Swett's also makes first-rate desserts.  Here is their terrific peach cobbler.
"Swett's also makes first-rate desserts. Here is their terrific peach cobbler."
Cliff Strutz


A warm cake of cornbread, as seen on a Swett's cafeteria tray.
"A warm cake of cornbread, as seen on a Swett's cafeteria tray."
Michael Stern


We thought the yams won Best of Plate.
"We thought the yams won Best of Plate."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Flat beans are a springtime favorite of ours at a meat-and-three.
"Flat beans are a springtime favorite of ours at a meat-and-three."
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Stewed apples go well with any entree (and they're fine as part of an all-side-dish meal), but they are especially wonderful alongside a heap of pulled pork.
"Stewed apples go well with any entree (and they're fine as part of an all-side-dish meal), but they are especially wonderful alongside a heap of pulled pork."
Michael Stern


Vinegar hot sauce, laced with peppers, is for sprinkling on collard greens, or perhaps on pulled pork.
"Vinegar hot sauce, laced with peppers, is for sprinkling on collard greens, or perhaps on pulled pork."
Michael Stern


This portrait of the founders graces the entrance to the great cafeteria that is their legacy.
"This portrait of the founders graces the entrance to the great cafeteria that is their legacy."
Michael Stern


This lovely black and white mural takes up the entire back wall of the dining room.
"This lovely black and white mural takes up the entire back wall of the dining room."
Cliff Strutz


One of Nashville's premier cafeterias, since 1954
"One of Nashville's premier cafeterias, since 1954"
Michael Stern



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