Dan & Ellen Einstein standing in front of Sweet 16th Bakery January 2021. Photo by Chuck Allen

East Side Buzz, January 14

Sending peace and light to Dan and Ellen Einstein.

Matters of Development

California-based Condit Properties, LLC has paid $1.9 million for the .29-acre East Nashville property at 501 Gallatin Ave., which is currently home to Porter Road Butcher, according to the Nashville Post. The company also owns the adjacent structure housing Local Honey and Barista Parlor (as well as another nearby property where The East Nashvillian office is located.)

Local anti-poverty non-profit Martha O’Bryan Center (marthaobryan.org) celebrated a groundbreaking for the expansion of its East Nashville headquarters on Jan. 10, with Mayor John Cooper and other officials speaking. The construction and renovation at the campus will add 32,000 square feet and provide more space for essential community services, including an eight classroom early learning center, an improved community kitchen, and an expanded food bank, which is the busiest food bank in Nashville. 

A three-parcel property located near The Dive Motel in East Nashville, with addresses 1405, 1407, and 1409 Dickerson Pike, has sold for $6.65 million to local real estate investment firm Wedgewood Avenue, according to the Nashville Post.

A midtown property home to OmniSound Studios, a recording studio once owned by the late country star Marty Robbins where Taylor Swift and many others have recorded — is being eyed for a mixed-use tower, according to the Nashville Post.

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Community Comes Together For Sweet 16th Bakery’s Dan Einstein

The East Nashville community has come together in support of Dan Einstein — the owner of beloved Sweet 16th Bakery and a trailblazing figure in the music industry, who was placed in hospice care this week after fighting a prolonged illness. 

In just two days, a GoFundMe online fundraiser, created by friends of Dan and his wife Ellen Einstein to help with medical costs, raised over $120,000.

“I’ve lived literally all over the world and all over this country and (the bakery) is one of the most unique places I’ve ever been, and it’s because of them,” said a longtime friend of the Einsteins, Meghan Hayes. “They’ve just created a haven for people and I think this outpouring of support is just a fraction of what people are able to just try to begin to give back to them.” 

The Einsteins, who opened the bakery in 2003, were named the 2020 “East Nashvillians of the Year” (Business Award) by the Historic East Nashville Merchants Association. A profile of the couple written by Randy Fox for The East Nashvillian in the Jan/Feb 2021 edition tells of the Einsteins’ hard work in building a successful business, and their long-standing commitment to their community.

“We really wanted to create a sense of community and a community meeting place,” Dan said. “Obviously with COVID right now, it’s harder to do that, but over the years we’ve been able to play a role in introducing neighbors to each other, helping people find a place to live, or to find a job.”

At that time, Dan told the East Nashvillian — agreeing with his wife’s statement that she never wanted to “make a million dollars and have a million locations” — that “if you go beyond one (location), you start to lose the community you did it for.” 

From creating a legendary breakfast sandwich to providing a place in their home for Jewish kids in the neighborhood to gather during holidays, the Einsteins were many things to many people. 

Holly Gleason, a longtime friend of Dan Einstein and former publicist for John Prine, says Dan rose out of the L.A. punk scene to become a trailblazer in the music industry and was largely responsible for creating artist-owned record labels such as Prine’s Oh Boy Records and singer/songwriter Steve Goodman’s Red Pajamas Records while working for Al Bunetta Management. 

“He created the artist-owned-and-operated industry at a time when the industry thought you had three paws in the grave (if you did that),” Gleason said. “Dan was a pioneer. He saw what nobody else recognized and didn’t just do business: he created magic.” 

Dan also won the Best Contemporary Folk Grammy, as the executive producer of the 1986 live album A Tribute to Steve Goodman — but friends say he didn’t talk about it. 

“He’s so humble,” Hayes said. “He’s a guy who is in the moment, and that allows him to be of service to his community and the people in front of him. The music is always a part of his life, but when he started the bakery, that was his focus.” 

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Tennessee Republicans Aim To Carve Up Davidson County; Democrats Call Foul

Tennessee House Republicans advanced a congressional redistricting plan on Wednesday that could see Davidson County carved up into three congressional districts. The plan would weaken the county’s vote, and likely deliver Republicans another congressional seat, according to The TennesseanCurrently, Davidson County, a Democratic stronghold, sits in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District and is represented by U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville. In reporting by Tennesse|Lookout, Democratic state Rep. Antonio Parkinson of Memphis said, “When this map was unveiled you could hear the air suck out of the room.”


The current area covered by Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District. From GovTrack.

The proposal by House Republicans would shift the district southwest, resulting in Northeast Davidson County, including most of East Nashville, sliding into the 6th Congressional District represented by U.S. Rep. John Rose, R-Cookeville. (Rose was among the 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed with the U.S. Supreme Court aimed at contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election. The Supreme Court rejected the Trump-backed lawsuit, stating: “The State of Texas’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint is denied for lack of standing under Article III of the Constitution.”)

Northwest Davidson County would move into the 7th Congressional District, currently represented by U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Clarksville.

The new 5th Congressional District would, in total, include south Davidson County, east Williamson county, and west Wilson County, as well as Lewis, Maury, and Marshall counties.

The proposed changes can be seen in the map below:

From TN.gov. Click the map to view full demographic information.

In response to the State House Select Committee on Redistricting Wednesday, Cooper released a statement condemning the plan. 

“As I’ve been warning for almost a year, the General Assembly has formally begun gerrymandering Nashville and Davidson County into political oblivion. Under the new map announced today, Nashvillians will be reduced from proud citizens of a capital city to captives inside three colonies run from Clarksville, Cookeville, and Columbia …” Cooper’s statement reads. “All Nashvillians should feel insulted and abused by the new map. For at least 100 years, Nashvillians have freely chosen Democratic representatives in Congress, but that tradition is about to end. What Republicans could not win in local elections, they are stealing through gerrymandering. …” 

(Read Cooper’s full statement here.)

The Tennessee Democratic Party said the newly proposed districts deny “an entire community of shared interests a voice at the national level” and the party would prepare to sue over the plan, according to The Tennessean

Democratic candidate Odessa Kelly, an East Nashville resident who was planning on running against Cooper this year, also criticized splitting up the district. Kelly told the Associated Press that Nashville has had a white congressman for roughly 200 years and that “it should not be lost on us that the legislature is breaking up the district at a time the city is on the verge of electing the first openly gay Black woman.”

The Tennessee Senate also proposed its own redistricting maps, as well as congressional maps mirroring the House version on Thursday, according to The Tennessean. However, the proposed State Senate redistricting is far less egregious in terms of its overall impact on voters in Davidson county. The most significant change is to District 17, currently represented by Sen. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, which would extend from Wilson County into Davidson to include portions of Donelson and Hermitage, along with areas near the Nashville International Airport and Percy Priest Lake. The proposed map for State Senate Districts can be seen below:

From the TN.gov website. Click the map to view full demographic information.

Quick Bits

  • After canceling some events in December and January due to rising COVID cases, all-ages music venue Drkmttr, 1111 Dickerson Pike, will resume shows tonight, Friday, with a grindcore/noise/screamo show featuring Knoll, Frail Body, Anna Orchid, and Spintria (7 p.m., $12).
  • The death of legendary songwriter Tom T. Hall, who passed away at his Franklin, Tenn. home on Aug. 20, 2021, at the age of 85, has been ruled a suicide, according to Saving Country Music.com.
  • Metro leaders at a Monday press conference said daily COVID-19 cases are the highest seen since the pandemic, with Mayor John Cooper urging Nashvillians to get their vaccine and booster shot, according to WZTV.
  • Two teenagers were arrested Monday following a Jan. 2 carjacking in East Nashville and a Monday robbery on Fifth Avenue North, according to NewsChannel5