Friday, January 13, 2023

Broadway business owner Steve Smith launches ad campaign against Nashville Mayor Cooper

by Rod Williams, Jan. 13, 2023- Steve Smith has launched a campaign for mayor, it appears. He is running ads on TV that are critical of Mayor Cooper, but the ads do not say, "vote for Steve Smith for Mayor." It is unusual to see campaign ads for the August election this early. Here is the text of the ad:

August 3, 2023 Nashville residents will step into the voting booth to choose the next mayor. The choice is as easy as ABC. Anybody but Cooper. Paid for by Steve Smith.

Smith is the owner of several bars and restaurants on Lower Broadway. He owns the iconic Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and also Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock ‘n’ Roll Steakhouse, Honky Tonk Central, Rippy’s Bar & Grill, The Diner, and I think some others.

Steve Smith has several differences with Mayor Cooper. Smith was instrumental in the attempt to bring the Republican National Convention to Nashville, which the mayor did not aggressively pursue. Smith opposed Cooper's 34% property tax increase. He opposed the city's early response to the Covid epidemic which closed down the city for a period of time and crippled the tourist industry. Smith thinks the city does not do enough to combat crime and aggressive panhandling. 

Steve Smith

Smith grew up in east Nashville. He says he was raised poor in a household of seven people. He is the son of a nurse and truck driver and Smith says his older brother John took care of him at night. When Smith was 19, he moved to New York, where John was a stockbroker, and the two of them opened a disco in Brooklyn. 

In the early 1990s, Smith moved back to Nashville. He purchased Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and worked the door and married his wife who was a Tootie's bartender. Over time, fairly quickly, his holding grew to what it is today.  He is the largest owner of the property on Lower Broadway and has an interest in restaurants and bars beyond Lower Broad. For more on Steve Smith, see this Nashville Business Journal article


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