Knoxvillians love to eat out even more than they love the Vols. Ow! Okay! Okay! We take it back!
Eating restaurant food is a Knoxville tradition that dates way back. Knoxvillians may brag of granny's biscuits and mama's cornbread. but when it comes chow time, like as not they'll get in the car or pick-up and head for a restaurant table or a drive-through window.
Various polls and surveys a decade ago put this community near the top of the national pack in the number of meals we take away from home.
The town has always had its fine restaurants, its specialty spots, and its mom & pop cafes. It's been the origin and proving ground of a couple of national chains and a test site for others. But in recent years its ethnic base has expanded, and its ethnic restaurant list has grown right alongside. For all those new-found tastes and flavors on the local scene, we can be grateful.
Metro Pulse has conducted a formal, if unscientific, annual reader poll for seven years now that includes restaurant preferences by variety. Once we sort out the inevitable ballot stuffing and other treacherous attempts to skew the results, we come up with a relatively honest sampling of reader favorites in a couple dozen categories.
In this year's Annual Manual, we are providing you with the Metro Pulse "Best Of 2000" listings for food & drink. So, salud, and eat hearty.
Most Popular Restaurants
Here are the winning restaurants from our Best of Knoxville Readers' Poll 2000
Stir Fry Grill
7240 Kingston Pike * 588-2064
Upbeat bistro with a full bar and patio. Try the Pad Thai and coconut milk soup. They have their own unique Chinese dishes, and a good vegetarian selection. Smoking/Handicap access. Sun.-Thurs. 11 am-10 pm, Fri. & Sat. 11 am-10:30 pm, $7-12. V/MC/AE/D/DC. Full bar.
Best Bakery/New Business/Sandwiches/Bagels (runner-up)
4865 Kingston Pike * 450-1002
Offering every thing from fresh baked bread to delicious soups and sandwiches.
Sun.-Thurs. 6:30 am-9 pm, Fri.-Sat. 6:30 am-10 pm. V/MC/AE/D. No alcohol.
121 West End Ave. * 675-4366
8402 Kingston Pike * 691-0088
3700 E. Magnolia Ave. * 523-3550
4500 N. Broadway * 687-2959
4401 Chapman Hwy. * 579-1747
5806 Kingston Pike * 588-0528
Hickory smoked pork, chicken, and ribs. Open daily - call for hours. Under $7.
8111 Gleason Dr. * 694-0340
314 Merchants Dr. * 689-4800
A huge buffet of Oriental delights for both lunch and dinner. The crispy Szechuan green beans alone are worth the trip. Smoking/ Handicap access. Lunch: Mon.-Sun. 11 am-4 pm, dinner: Sun.-Thur. 4 pm-9:30 pm, Fri. & Sat. 4-10 pm. $7-12. V/MC/AE/DC/D. Full bar.
5034 N. Broadway * 281-8435
5716 Kingston Pike * 558-6354
4423 Western Ave. @I-640 * 637-6104
220 N. Peters Rd. * 694-3719
508 Merchants Dr. * 687-7444
378 S Illinois Ave. (Oak Ridge) 482-1600
Nixon's features Lay's deli meats, including ham and turkey that are almost fat-free for your heart-smart munching pleasure; they also offer several meat-free sandwiches. Call location for information.
Best Desserts/ Diner/Hamburgers
2803 Essary Dr. * 688-0429
Burgers worth waiting in line for. Incredible blue-plate lunches and delicious homemade desserts.
Mon.-Thurs. 11 am-9 pm, Fri. & Sat. 11 am-10 pm. $7-12. V/MC/AE. Beer and liquor.
Best Gourmet Restaurant
5803 Kingston Pike * 584-5053
One of Knoxville's most popular upscale places to be seen. Smoking/Handicap access. Mon.-Thurs. 5 pm-10 pm, Fri. & Sat. 5 pm-11 pm. Closed Sun. $13-20. V/MC/AE/DC. Full bar.
Best Ice Cream/Smoothie Shop
Marble Slab Creamery
4835 Kingston Pike * 766-0290
Try one of their fine deserts like brownies, apple pie, or strawberry shortcake. Create your own ice cream fantasy. Ice cream made fresh daily. Waffle cones baked fresh in store: vanilla sugar, vanilla cinnamon, and honey wheat cones dipped in chocolate, then rolled in candy or nuts. Choose from a multitude of ingredients: nuts, cookies, candy or fresh fruit. They mix your ice cream selection on a frozen marble slab then pile it high into a freshly baked waffle cone. Under $7. No smoking/Handicap access. Mon.-Thurs. 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri. & Sat. 11 am-11 pm, Sun. noon-10 pm. Cash, checks.
Best Italian Restaurant/Best Sunday Brunch
Italian Market and Grill
9648 Kingston Pike * 690-2600
Specializing in contemporary Italian food. The Sunday brunch buffet (10am - 2:30pm) is delightful. Mon.-Thurs. 11 am-10 pm, Fri. 11 am-11 pm, Sat. 9 am-10 pm, Sun. 10 am-10 pm. $7-15. V/MC/AE/D. Full bar.
Best Lunch Spot/Vegetarian Menu
1909 Cumberland Ave. * 637-4663
Vegetarian dishes and salads. Try the Asian Chicken Salad, Sunspot Chimichanga or their signature Solar Burger. There's also steak and seafood. Smoking/Handicap access. Daily 11 am-10 pm. $7-12. V/MC/D/AE/DC/Personal checks. Full bar.
Best Mexican Restaurant
Cancun Mexican Restaurant
4409 Chapman Hwy. * 577-8881
4829 N. Broadway * 688-4030
904 Merchants Dr. * 688-2556
Authentic homestyle Mexican food. Some interesting concoctions such as the carne asada or the chile Colorado. Smoking/Handicap access. Mon.-Thurs. 11 am-10 pm, Fri. & Sat. 11 am-11 pm, Sun. noon-10 pm. Under $7-12. V/MC/AE/DC/D. Full bar.
Best Middle-Eastern Restaurant
4123 Martin Mill Pike * 573-6021
The fruits and vegetables are fresh, nothing is fried, and the dinner theme is different every night of the week. No smoking/Handicap access. Mon.-Sat. 7 am-8 pm. Closed Sundays. Under $7-$12. Cash, personal checks. BYOB.
Best New Restaurant
950 Volunteer Landing Lane * 637-0303
Riverside Tavern is the new gathering place for the downtown lunch and dinner crowd. Whether it's a casual business lunch or a romantic evening, Riverside's ambiance, modern architecture, and spectacular views offer the perfect setting. Featured menu items from the wood-fired rotisserie and grill include: Herb-Roasted Rotisserie Lamb, Chicken, Pork Tenderloin, Fresh Grilled Salmon., and legendary grilled USDA choice and prime steaks. Smoking and Handicap access. Mon.-Fri. 11 am-2:30 pm and 5 pm-10:30 pm, Sat. 11 am-11:30 pm, Sun. 11 am-10:30 pm. $7-$18. V/MC/D/AE/DC. Full bar.
Best Pizza (delivered)
1819 Lake Ave. (UT campus) * 522-7272
402 N. Cedar Bluff (Cedar Bluff West) * 690-7272
7000 Kingston Pike (Bearden) * 584-7272
10820 Kingston Pike (Farragut) * 675-7272
2901 Tazewell Pike (North) * 281-7272
5617 Western Ave. (Northwest) * 546-7272
503 N. Cusick (Maryville/Alcoa) * 983-7272
10721 Chapman Hwy. (South/Seymour) * 609-9990
You call them, they bring pizza right to your door. It doesn't get any easier than that. Get crazy and order some breadsticks with garlic sauce.
No smoking/Handicap access. Free delivery & carryout. Cash, checks. No alcohol.
Best Pizza (restaurant)
12 Market Square * 637-4067
Exotic homemade pizzas, fresh salads, sandwiches, and vegetarian specialties. The calzones are the hands-down best in town. No smoking/Handicap access. Mon. 11 am-3 pm, Tues.-Thurs. 11 am-10 pm, Fri. & Sat. 11 am-11 pm. Bagels and coffee 8 am-11 am, Mon.-Sat. Closed Sun. $7-12. V/MC/AE. Beer, BYOB, wine.
400 Neyland Dr. * 673-3355
10020 Kingston Pike * 673-3444
4550 City Park Dr. * 673-3366
While you are enjoying the delicious barbecued ribs that were voted "Best Ribs" in Knoxville for six years running in our BOK Reader's poll, try other specialties, too: fried catfish, grilled steaks, chicken, and seafood. Take in the fabulous riverfront view (or lakefront view, or, well, interstate view). Don't miss Knoxville classics such as Spinach Maria, white bean chili, and the original onion loaf. It's not on the menu, so ask about the cheddar cheese salad dressing. Smoking/Handicap access. Mon.-Thurs. 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri. & Sat. 11 am-11 pm, Sun. 11 am-10 pm. $7-$17. V/MC/AE/DC/D/CB. Full bar.
Best Romantic Atmosphere/Best Wine List
5412 Kingston Pike * 588-2964
Luxuriate in the atmosphere of Knoxville's poshest and most awarded restaurant. Approaching thirty years of accolades to include the 1999 Best of Award of Excellence in Wine Spectator, The DIRONA 2000 and numerous Mobil and AAA awards. Nowhere else in town can you savor Escargot in puff pastry, Lobster flamed in cognac and Buffalo with fresh Foie Gras. Mon.-Fri. 11:30 am-2:30 pm, Mon.-Thurs. 6 pm-10 pm, Fri. & Sat. 6 pm-11 pm. Lunch $7-12, dinner $16-36. Reservations encouraged. V/MC/AE/DC. Full bar.
1915 Cumberland Ave. * 525-7665
8077 Kingston Pike * 691-5885
11820 Kingston Pike * 671-1232
117 Cedar Lane * 689-2870
364 Fountain Circle * 379-9424
Good salads and sandwiches for lunch. Try their roast beef or fresh seafood specials for dinner. Special lunch deals for the cost-conscious. Smoking/Handicap access. Mon.-Sat. 11 am-3 am, Sun. 11 am-10 pm. Lunch under $7, dinner $7-12. V/MC/D/AE. Full bar.
500 Henley St. * 673-3433
Savor the fresh seafood (flown in daily) in an atmosphere reminiscent of the Chesapeake Bay. Featuring Maryland crab cakes, Alaskan king crab, and live Maine lobster. Smoking/Handicap access. Mon.-Thurs. 11 am-2:30 pm, 4:30-10 pm, Fri. 11 am-2:30 pm, 4:30-11 pm, Sat. 4:30-11 pm, Sun. 4:30-9:30 pm. Dinner over $18. V/MC/AE/D/DC. Full bar.
Ye Olde Steakhouse
6838 Chapman Hwy. * 577-9328
Funky, fun South Knoxville favorite since 1968. For beef purists. Check out the back of your chair for advice. Sun.-Thurs. 4:30-9pm, Fri. & Sat. 4:30-9:30pm. $7-$18+. V/MC/AE/D/DC. Beer, BYOB.
8050 Kingston Pike * 694-4668
Wings, oysters, clams, crab legs and shrimp. Smoking/Handicap access. Mon.-Thurs. 11 am-midnight, Fri. & Sat. 11 am-1 am, Sun. noon-11pm. $7-$12. V/MC/AE. Beer.