Knoxville’s Favorite Restaurant
Aubrey Randolph Burleson is that “man behind the curtain.” That’s because most folks know his voted-Best-Americana restaurant as Aubrey’s, but few know that Randy is the wizard behind the scenes, making it happen.
In 1992, after attending the MBA program at the University of Tennessee, Randy decided—for reasons that, frankly, surprise him a bit even to this day—that he wanted to get into the restaurant business. “When I started this business,” he says, “I was just a kid really, not a lot of money in my pocket, and not entirely sure about what I was getting into, but here I am. It’s been over 25 years, and I feel very blessed.” While the restaurant business is a lot of work, and means time away from home, that “blessing,” for Randy, is the time that he gets to spend with his wife and five-year-old daughter, Aubrey Jaye.
Now, you needn’t have owned a restaurant to know what a challenging business it is. In fact, simply walking into one is usually enough for most folks to appreciate what goes into making a restaurant work. It’s like a symphony orchestra. When everyone is playing their part as they should, it’s a tune you want to hum along to; everything is great…the food, the service…it’s an experience that, as you’re signing the check and hoping not to forget that to-go box, you’re already looking forward to having again; and soon.
Such is the experience at Aubrey’s, as evidenced by their many appearences in a wide range of categories in this year’s Best of the Best.
The fact that the community appreciates Aubrey’s is important to Randy, for a couple of reasons. First, he acknowledges the fact that there are “a number of really good restaurants and restaurateurs here who I respect a lot.” So, to be voted best in any category means a great deal to him. Secondly, to get the recognition of the community he serves is important and drives his commitment to supporting the community that supports him, his business, and his employees.
“Working closely with young people,” he says, “makes me keenly aware of how important education is, and how important it is that these young people get the best possible opportunities to succeed.” To that end,
Aubrey’s has committed—through fundraising and donation opportunities like pancake breakfasts—to making education a focus of their community support efforts.
“I figure that the more I can do to help when it comes to creating opportunities for the young men and women in our community through education,” says Randy, “the less likely they are to do something crazy when they get older…like open a restaurant!”
Gold Winner in Game Night/Trivia, Americana Restaurant, Appetizer, Bearden Restaurant, Business Lunch, & East Restaurant
Silver Winner in Patio-Urban, Cedar Bluff Restaurant,
Dog-Friendly Restaurant, North Restaurant
Bronze Winner in Happy Hour
Locations: Cedar Bluff, Lenoir City, Maryville, Morristown, Oak Ridge,
Papermill, Powell, Strawberry Plains
Office (865) 584-7779