Back in 1952, a tiny, independent record label was started in Memphis, Tennessee by a young businessman named Sam Phillips. He called the label Sun Records, and it would go on to become one of the most famous and iconic labels in American music. Legendary performers like Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis, among others, were all discovered by Phillips and signed to Sun Records between 1952 and 1969. A famous photograph taken at the Sun Records Studio of Perkins, Cash, Lewis, and Presley all sitting around a piano was nicknamed the “Million Dollar Quartet” – a name which has endured when talking about the four performers during their time at Sun Records.
And now, a new TV series premiered on CMT last night called, Sun Records, based, of course, on Sam Phillips and his historic record label. But, I’m not here to talk about that new series today… instead, I’d like to tell you about another Sun Records inspired attraction – a new eatery in Downtown Nashville called the Sun Diner.
The restaurant opened last October on the corner of Broadway & 3rd Avenue in “The District” area of Downtown Nashville and features an eclectic mix of memorabilia from various Sun Records artists. And obviously, the dining music features a nostalgic mix of Sun Records hit songs piped through the sound system.
I had the opportunity to visit the diner just a few days after they opened. I ordered the “Love Me” Tenders chicken tenders and a friend had the Breakfast Wrap. The portions were generous and ingredients were noticeably fresh (the menu boasts about its cage-free organic eggs and other similar items). This was good, old-fashioned comfort food, served gourmet-style, and it was absolutely delicious.
In classic diner fashion, the Sun Diner is open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, which will most definitely be music to the ears of the post-honky-tonking crowd.
Check out the photo gallery from my recent visit to Sun Diner:
There’s a wonderful piece of Americana preserved at the Sun Diner. Everything from its decor to it’s layout and design to its menu is a wonderful throwback to a time when people would head to their favorite soda fountain or burger joint, all sit on stools around the same bar, and converse with all the people they just met there while enjoying simple, hearty, all-American cuisine.
Have you been to Sun Diner? I’d love to know your thoughts… leave a comment below or on social media!