Dan and Ellen Einstein

Sweet 16th's Dan and Ellen Einstein

Update: According to friends and family of the Einsteins, Dan Einstein died on Jan. 15. He was 61 years old. Organizers of the GoFundMe campaign — which as of this update has raised roughly $140,000 — say an online memorial will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19. There will also be an in-person event to follow in the spring. In lieu of flowers or food, donations can be made to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Development or Alive Hospice. 

 


 

Sweet 16th’s Breakfast Sandwich is the stuff of legend. A cheddar scone filled with a big slab of the East Side bakery’s egg-and-cheese casserole, the sandwich — or “one to go,” as it’s known to regulars — is what hooked me on the little Lockeland Springs cafe many years ago.

But that alone isn’t what makes the place so special, or what keeps longtime East Nashvillians like me stopping in. Owners Dan and Ellen Einstein have been whipping up sweet and savory treats at the corner of 16th and Ordway since 2004, and have shown up in the Scene's Best of Nashville readers' poll many times. They excel at making quiches, muffins, coffee cakes, cupcakes, birthday cakes, cookies — even dog treats. But it’s the Einsteins’ love and dedication to their community that has turned regular customers into fiercely loyal ones.

Many East Siders will recall the morning after the devastating March 2020 tornado, when Dan and Ellen — with Sweet 16th’s electricity out — gave away every item in the store for free. Because that’s what their neighbors needed. Not long after, the couple put up a "Wall of Love" where neighbors could leave messages of encouragement for one another. Ask around and you’ll find countless Nashvillians who have personal stories about the impact that the Einsteins have made on them. 

It saddens me to report that after months of illness, Dan Einstein — also a veteran of the music industry, and a Grammy winner — has been moved to Alive Hospice, a local nonprofit that specializes in end-of-life care. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up by friends of the Einsteins in hopes of reducing the couple’s financial burden.

“We are hoping to raise some money for them so that Ellen can be there for Dan as much as she is able, and to hopefully ease a little of the financial burden of not being able to fully run their business in the coming weeks,” write the organizers. “Please give if you can, and keep them in your thoughts.”

As I write this, the campaign is just $1,000 shy of its $70,000 goal. Stop in to donate what you can, or to leave a comment on the campaign’s page. As Ellen Einstein has told campaign organizer Thuy Rocco, the support means a lot.

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