Acme Feed & Seed

Nashville’s Acme Feed & Seed is Closing (For Now) Due to the City’s Lack of Safety Enforcement

A popular downtown Nashville bar is closing its doors – at least temporarily. And its owners are taking a shot at neighboring bars and the city as they shut down.

Acme Feed & Seed, located at the end of Lower Broadway in downtown Nashville, recently reopened for the first time since closing down due to the COVID pandemic back in March. While bars across the city were allowed to begin welcoming customers back in June before being shut down again until August, Acme chose to remain closed until just four weeks ago.

But now, after being open less than a month, owner Tom Morales made the decision to once again shut down the popular Broadway restaurant and bar. And he’s blaming the city for not enforcing its own mandates.

“What we have learned is without enforcement of the mandates, those of us who follow them are penalized. Lack of enforcement has given the rule breakers the economic advantage and fosters a free for all, and a general disrespect for our hospitality community. We see the lack of enforcement of their own mandates by the city as the determining factor in our decision to close Acme until science says it’s safe.”

Morales said that Acme will focus on “small, curated private events that we can have full control over from start to finish.”

Now, Morales didn’t specifically call out any other bars, but saying that the lack of enforcement has given the “rule breakers” the economic advantage sure seems like a thinly-veiled shot at some of his neighbors on Broadway. Several bars on Broadway have been cited by the city for failing to follow capacity limits or mandatory safety protocols, including Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk which is just a few doors down from Acme. And several times in the past few months, the city has been embarrassed by viral videos showing large, maskless crowds gathered on the street. On weekends, you’d hardly know we’re in the middle of a pandemic if you drove down Broadway and saw the massive crowds on the sidewalks and the party buses still rolling down the streets.

But people seem to have decided that they’re still going to live their lives, and still going to come to Nashville to party. So at this point, the only thing the bars can do is adapt to keep their customers as safe as possible – or shut down until they feel like they can.

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IN MARCH OF 2020 (eight months ago) the city of Nashville asked us to close our doors as the Covid pandemic emerged as a public threat to our collective health as a city, a country and the world. The message from our federal leadership was and continues to be muddled, so we decided as a company we would listen to the science. Our decisions would be primarily based on the safety of our staff and customers, followed by the economics of operating in this climate. We chose to furlough over 200 employees, allowing them to keep their benefits, insurance and an assurance they had a job on the other side of the crisis. We needed strong leadership to set the example for a path forward, leadership never came. Locally the efforts were successful to a degree that we felt encouraged to try and reopen and in doing so we could take advantage of the PPP relief dollars. What we have learned is without enforcement of the mandates, those of us who follow them are penalized. Lack of enforcement has given the rule breakers the economic advantage and fosters a free for all, and a general disrespect for our hospitality community. We see the lack of enforcement of their own mandates by the city as the determining factor in our decision to close Acme until science says it’s safe. While our doors will be temporarily closed, our hearts are still open to the city of Nashville, its residents, and our local music community. We will strive to once again find a way to pivot and provide a platform to showcase the authentic music city. We will focus on live streams benefitting charities like the one we hosted back in June that raised $50,000 for the Music Health Alliance. We’ll focus on small, curated private events that we can have full control over from start to finish. We’ll focus on ways to bring our city together safely, at a time when we all need it most. Stay tuned and stay safe.

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