Merle Haggard fans will finally have a place they can go to see some of his most cherished mementos, while a new generation of country music fans can discover the legacy of one of the most influential and iconic performers in country music and American history.
Announced Tuesday (10-30), the family of Merle Haggard has partnered with Icon Entertainment Group’s Bill and Shannon Miller, as well as the Swett Family, to launch the Merle Haggard Museum, and accompanying restaurant, “Merle’s Meat + 3 Saloon” in Nashville. The museum and restaurant will be located at 121 Third Ave. S. in Nashville, which is just steps off of the city’s Lower Broadway entertainment district, and right next door to the Johnny Cash museum, where the announcement was made Tuesday afternoon.
“The world lost one of the greatest country singers of all time and I lost the love of my life when Merle Haggard died on his 79th birthday April 6, 2016,” says Theresa Haggard, Merle’s widow. “Now, nearly one and half years later, I have partnered with my friends Bill and Shannon Miller, owners of the acclaimed Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline Museums to open the Merle Haggard Museum. Merle would be very happy knowing that his museum will be next door to his dear friend Johnny Cash. I’m sure he is up there smiling about that. Our family is also very excited about the Merle-themed restaurant and bar featuring first-class, Southern home cooking and a saloon to boot. This museum will be a way to preserve and share the love Merle had for music and life.”
Bill and Shannon Miller also own the Johnny Cash Museum, Nudie’s Honky Tonk, the Patsy Cline Museum, and Skull’s Rainbow Room as well. The Swett Family, which will handle the restaurant portions of the operation, have been running Swett’s Restaurant for 62 years. For those unaware of Southern slang, “Meat +3” is a term used for a restaurant where you choose a meat entree, and three sides to accompany it.
“My family is honored to join with our dear friends, the Haggard family, to bring a new, world-class museum to Nashville,” says Bill Miller, Founder of Icon Entertainment Group. “Merle Haggard is one of the most iconic country music singers and songwriters of all time. Rolling Stone and Billboard magazines both named him the number one country entertainer of all-time. We are very excited to begin the process of designing and building Merle’s museum which will also feature a Southern-style restaurant and saloon bearing his name. We are thrilled to be working with long time Nashville family restaurant operator David Swett, who brings his highly respected expertise to our restaurant. Swett’s opened their doors in 1954 and is still going strong.”
The restaurant will be on the ground floor of the establishment, with the museum on the top floor. It is currently scheduled to open in the summer of 2018.