Woolworth on 5th is the site of the first large-scale organized sit-in held as part of a campaign to desegregate lunch counters in Nashville. The building is a destination on the United States Civil Rights Trail which recognizes sites that played a significant role in the civil rights movement.
Though the original lunch counter at this 5th Avenue five-and-dime no longer exists after the building was restored in 2018, the patched holes in the terrazzo floor on the mezzanine level mark the counter’s original location. Framed black and white photos that commemorate the sit-in campaign hang on the walls above an upholstered banquette. The basement level has been transformed into a ballroom where the Duffy Jackson Big Band plays on the first Saturday of every month. The owner, Tom Morales, honors the building’s history by welcoming everyone with southern comfort food, custom artwork, and Art Deco furniture and decor. He also brought back Penny Sundays, a nod to a post-World War II promotion where customers would pay a discounted price for ice-cream sundaes.
Get a peek at the interior of this historical building as Tom gives Aerial Nicole, host of Tennessee Valley Uncharted, a guided tour:
This iconic eatery serves signature dishes and traditional favorites like fried green tomatoes, crispy pork rinds, shrimp po’ boys, and Woolworth Salad. If you’ve just stopped in for a drink, try a Fifth Avenue Fizz with crème de violette, lemon, and cava, or a Woolworth Sangria with Korbel brandy, red wine, orange juice, pineapple juice, and seasonal fruit. Also on the beverage menu is a small selection of beer, wine, and boozy floats.
Cover image courtesy of Woolworth on 5th.