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Steamboys Lifts Community Through Tornado Crisis and Evolves in COVID


It’s been one year since the devastating tornado that ripped through Middle Tennessee on March 2-3, 2020. With COVID restrictions following in the immediate aftermath, life changed suddenly – especially for residents of Germantown, one of many Nashville neighborhoods that experienced the tornado’s devastating effects.

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Steamboys, a Chinese comfort food eatery with a one-year-old location in Germantown, stood by locals for all of it. “Nashville had a double whammy with the tornado and the pandemic,” says Brandon Lin, one of the five long-time friends who started Steamboys with a passion to bring an authentic New York street food scene to Nashville.

“We’ve always had a lot of local support in Germantown,” says Lin, “And our restaurant there is the location with which we really established our name. When the tornado hit, we gave away a lot of food to support people in the area.”

Immediately following the tornado, Steamboys had to pivot to the new demands of dining in the time of COVID. Working in a small space no longer open to dining, the Steamboys entrepreneurs learned to master the art of efficiency in packaging and timing for to-go orders.

“Our food had to be fast,” says Lin. “You don’t have to sit down for 30 minutes. And in the earlier days of COVID restrictions, it wasn’t even possible.”

Sacrificing quality, however, was never a consideration. “We make our food fresh on the spot, handmade. It’s very efficient for a lot of the customers. Thanks to these changes, we were able to survive on takeout alone.”

Evolution continues to be a common theme for the restaurant, which is has opened two more locations in 2021 – one in Nolensville and one in Assembly Food Hall at Fifth and Broadway. For more information, visit

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