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Good Eats: The Best Local Places to Eat in East Tennessee

A suggestion was made to me by a list member that I thought was interesting. And since this list is for you I said "Why not?" MacVolPlace wants to know your favorite local restaurant.

The rules are:

  1. It can not be a chain restaurant
  2. You may submit as many restaurants as you want (it's not your fault you can't cook and have to eat out all the time.)
  3. It has to be a local restaurant (in Knox or its surrounding counties: Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Roane, Sevier and Union)

I am sorry for all of my out-of-town list members but look at it this way. When you do come into town you will know where to eat.

Send me the name and address of the restaurant. I will put the list up, give everyone time to visit all of them (this will require a lot of research on your part) and then we'll vote on our favorites. As new places are discovered they can be added to the list and we can make this an annual thing.

And lets be selective out there. The rule should be that any place you submit is a place that you would take your best friends from out of town to and that you would be "certain" they would love the food. We are not talking just OK here. This should be the good stuff.

And the best places are...

(All opinions are those of the writers. Neither MacVolPlace nor UT make any promise of quality either explicit or implicit. )

Catinella's Bistro-Bakery 1200 Kenesaw Ave, Knoxville - While the pizzas, calzones and pasta are lovely, the grilled entrees--served with garlic mashed potatoes and veggies--are beautifully prepared and delicious. I always recommend this restaurant and no one is ever disappointed. Bring your own wine.

Cha Cha - 5130 Kingston Pike - For a funky experience Tapas bar in Homberg place is really good, albeit a little pricey.

Foothills Milling Company - 315 Washington Street South, Maryville TN. 37804, 865-977-8434. They have a small focused menu that is wonderfully prepared. The service is very good and the restaurant is very nice inside (white table cloths and real napkins.) It is A la Carte. Cost per person (appetizer, salad, entree, dessert) is $40-$50/person. Everything I had was very good but my salad was to die for. We will go back. You should go too.

Green Hills Grille - 4429 Kingston Pike - Probably my favorite overall restaurant.

Ham & Goody's - is a local small chain of sandwich shops that make the best cookies in town. They have a locations just South of Kingston Pike on Northshore in Bearden, and others around the area. Try a Cisco sandwich (Ham, turkey, and multiple cheeses) and a teacake for one of my favorite lunches. This is THE place to get cookies - about $4/dozen - great for those "drop in" visits to clients.

House of Dragon - 1907 Cumberland Ave. (on the Strip) 865-546-2565. The Malaysian stuff is killer. They deliver.

King Tut's - 4132 Martin Mill Pike in South Knoxville is reputed to be a great middle-eastern place in a scary neighborhood, although I have not sampled their fare.

Korea House - 1645 Downtown West - The food is so utterly fantastic that it's worth going to west Knoxville--even during rush hour. This is one of my favorite restaurants in Knoxville.

Lemon Grass - 912 West Lamar Alexander (Maryville) - Not only is the Thai cuisine by far the best in East Tennessee, the sushi is also top notch (and cheaper than comparable sushi in Knoxville).

Litton's - Broadway at Essary (Fountain City) - best burger in town, great desserts. Everything I've eaten there is outstanding, and the prices aren't ridiculous. The duck pond across the street (Fountain City Lake) is a great place to take little kids in your family. Their sister restaurant, Litton's Back Room is reputed to have outstanding high-end fare, although I've not enjoyed their food in my time in Knoxville.

M&M Catering - has the best BBQ in town, IMHO. They are located just west of Vanosdale on Middlebrook Pike in a tiny cinder block building by a laundromat (just past the Weigels). They are only open Thursday through Saturday, and just for takeout, but boy, it's good stuff.

Mr. Bob-E-Q - 10324 Chapman Highway, Seymour, TN 865-573-2420. A small place across from the Dollar General Market and Bob's Mountaineer. Friday night is smoked prime rib. Great ribs! It's all good.

Naples Italian Restaurant - (5500 Kingston Pike, 865-584-5033) Decor is somewhat campy, but definitely the best Italian in Knoxville. They have a corner room which is candle-lit for special occasions (e.g. engagements).

Northshore Brasserie - 9430 S. Northshore Drive. Belgian cuisine and seafood. Casual atmosphere, incredible food, enthusiastic service. Excellent wine list with half-price bottles on Tuesdays. Estimate $40-$80 per person, depending on drinks.

Old College Inn - is a hole in the wall next to the Pilot on Cumberland with great food, and good drinks. Local attorney Chip Stanley has owned this restaurant for years, it's as good as I remember it from the 1980's.

Pasta Trio - (865-540-3970, Mon-Sat, 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm). They are located on 119 S. Central Ave. in the Old City. It is right across from Big Don's Costume shop. The owners are a couple of younger guys that have put together a warm place to eat with authentic tasting food. It cost a little (15-30 a head) but is well worth the price - tons of food for each order. The atmosphere is awesome and you can either bring your own wine or choose from their list.

Shono's - 120 S Peters Rd # 2 at Kingston Pike - Hole in the wall Japanese place with good, inexpensive food. They recently added a second restaurant on Market Square.

Smoky's Barbecue Pit and Deli - 3325 Middlebrook Pike beside Pepsi Co. 3 sauces. The 3rd is hot. Don't get the hush puppies. Great ribs and pork sandwiches. Get it to go. No atmosphere.

Stir Fry Cafe - 7240 Kingston Pike # 128 - Best Thai in Knoxville, hands down. Their Pud Thai and Spicy Noodles are so good they will make you want to slap your mother (just kidding, Mom).

The Crown and Goose - at 123 S. Central Street, 865-524-2100, English pub food and more. First of all this is a pub. It has inside and outside seating and the noise level inside is high. Wait staff was very pleasant and were available when you needed them. It is an ala carte kind of place and you should expect to spend $50/person+ for dinner if you do the appetizer/salad/entree/dessert thing. Alcohol will pad the bill. I recommend it.

The Italian Market & Grill - 9648 Kingston Pike - is a close second to Naples in my book. Although I think it has a better atmosphere than Naples, it's also a little more commercial. I still like the food at Naples better. They have a KILLER Sunday brunch.

The Orangery - 5412 Kingston Pike - fine dining, French Cuisine. Very nice.

Tijuana Taco - 120 W End Ave in Farragut on Concord (Across from Buddy's and KFC) - For a "fast food" joint this is the best Mexican in Knoxville in my opinion.

Tomato Head - 12 Market Square in Knoxville - Gourmet pizza and sandwiches.

Vic & Bill's - 1501 White Ave. Best Burger around.

Wright's Cafeteria - 5403 N Middlebrook Pike - is an institution on Middlebrook Pike between the post office at Weisgarber and 44th St (where the big KUB facility is). Their vegetables are really good, and it's good, home cooking.

Ye Olde Steakhouse - 6838 Chapman Highway - My only advice is to sit as far away from the front doors as possible - I froze my hind quarters at a Christmas party there last year.