Rotier’s closes in Nashville after nearly 75 years of cheeseburgers

Rotier's, in the Vanderbilt area, has been serving up cheeseburgers since 1945.

Rotier’s, one of Nashville’s oldest restaurants, is permanently closed after 75 years of operation in the shadow of Vanderbilt University.

The longtime restaurant, less than a block from campus and Centennial Park, was known for generations for its award-winning cheeseburger on French bread, plate lunches and homey atmosphere.

Second-generation owner Margaret Ann Rotier Crouse said that the changing restaurant landscape, restrictive COVID-19 rules for limiting patrons and lease issues spelled disaster for Rotier’s.

The final straw came this month when the building’s new owner told the Rotier family they would no longer lease to the restaurant, Crouse said.

Crouse, 72, said she is heartbroken.

“This has been here since I was born. It’s hard,” she said, voice breaking.

“But it’s been really fun. Everybody came in and talked and told stories about their lives. Their grandparents brought them here. Multiple generations. They really enjoyed being here, and that makes me happy.”

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Margaret Anne Rotier Crouse. right, and her son Jacob Crouse, here Feb. 2018, are continuing the family's restaurant tradition.

The restaurant had cut back its hours to offer lunch only about two years ago and closed its doors in March due to the pandemic.

“We thought it would just be for a few weeks,” said Crouse, who has has worked at the restaurant for almost 50 years. 

“My mom and dad loved this restaurant. The world has changed a lot over the years. I thought with COVID it would just be closed for a little while, but…it is what it is.”