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AHERN, INC. - MAGAZINE
FEATURE ARTICLE / June 2022
Hawkins History: Rogersville Restaurateur Arch Fain Served as FDR's Presidential Chef

Rogersville, TN restaurateur Arch Fain (third form left) served as FDR's Presidential Chef. Photo credit: Rodney Ferrell, The Rogersville Review

Hawkins History: Rogersville Restaurateur Arch Fain Served as FDR's Presidential Chef
By Rodney Ferrell, The Rogersville Review

Rogersville, TN- For many decades, people from miles around would drive to Rogersville in order to patronize Arch Fain’s Restaurant on Church Street. “Nobody can fix a steak like Arch” was a common saying around town and many people believed it was true. In fact the Fain name was synonymous with good food and service for many generations. As a matter of fact, once upon a time his establishment was quite famous. But few people knew that the hands that prepared their food also prepared elegant and tasty cuisine for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

The prestigious title of Presidential Chef was quite an accomplishment for a man who was born the son of former slaves and raised in the racially segregated South. Against all odds Arch who was born in 1891, became a self made man who worked his way to the top.

The Fain’s had been in the restaurant business in Rogersville since 1904 when his father Jim opened Fain’s Café on Main street. After fire destroyed the building in the 1930’s the Fain’s moved to Church Street. At the age of 13 Arch became an apprentice chef under his uncle Jim Watkins at the Tate Springs Hotel in Grainger County.

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