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Dining Out

The Izakaya Way

Japanese-style pub Kaizen offers an informal, peaceful atmosphere When you walk into a restaurant and see one of Knoxville’s top chefs enjoying a birthday dinner with her family, you figure you’re in for a good meal. “I would come here five nights a week if I could,” says Holly Hambright, with a grin. It’s no wonder Hambright loves this place. Kaizen, which moved from Clinch Avenue in 2020, takes an innovative and fresh approach in merging a multitude of Asian culinary traditions. We sat on the patio, a re-imagined

Cucina Milanese on Jackson Avenue

Osteria Stella offers a true Northern Italian dining experience From the bustling Jackson Avenue sidewalk in the Old City, walking into the softly lit, stylishly designed interior of Osteria Stella feels like stepping into another era. It is a contrast to the bright décor of Brother Wolf, its sibling cocktail bar next door. “I wanted to create a dramatic contrast between the two,” says co-owner Jessica Thompson, who also created the speakeasy Peter Kern Library. “I wanted Osteria Stella to be lovely, warm,

Sexy Sophistication on Market Square

The Oliver Royale blends debonair décor with flavorful dishes in Knoxville’s downtown When you walk into The Oliver Royale on Market Square, you’re really entering the Jersey Lily Saloon. That’s what it was in 1876, when the Kern’s Bakery and Confectionery Building was built. Now also home to the Oliver Hotel, Tupelo Honey, and the Peter Kern Library speakeasy, the edifice was designed by architecture icon Joseph Francis Baumann with flourishes of Italianate round-arched windows, decorative hood molds, and elaborate

A Marbled Masterpiece

A winter’s feast by Chef Danny Wilhoit at the Avalon Country Club The Avalon Country Club has relaunched T-Prime Steak & Seafood, the formal dining room in the clubhouse, which is nestled in the Avalon subdivision off Hickory Creek Road, just west of the Watt Road exit. T-Prime is open for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, along with Sunday brunch. A patio area outside the dining room looks out over the golf course. The 13-table dining room—with dark wood booths, banquettes along the walls, and a tray

Authentic Appalachia

Jeff Carter, the original Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro chef, has returned to his roots Before anything else, make a note to visit the Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro in Townsend and order Executive Chef Jeff Carter’s North Carolina Rainbow Trout and Grits. A cornmeal-dusted trout is served atop creamy grits, Conecuh Sausage from Evergreen, Alabama, gulf shrimp, crayfish, and preserved tomatoes in an irresistible presentation. The trout is crunchy with a savory fresh-caught flavor. “It’s a take on the original Dancing

Sim Por Favor

At Brazeiros, fine dining meets a Brazilian tradition of generous offerings of carne If you get movie star treatment from owner Vilmar Zenzen at Brazeiros in Bearden, it’s because he’s had practice. After he launched a churrascaria-style Brazilian steakhouse in Beverly Hills, Zenzen’s regulars included Brad Pitt, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Leonardo DiCaprio and the star’s then-girlfriend Gisele Bündchen. Like Bündchen, Zenzen is a Brazilian of German ancestry from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, where

Céad Míle Fáilte

Finn’s Restaurant & Tavern makes diners feel at home—even with the ghost With his light green eyes, close-cropped red hair and tall, trim frame, owner Jon Ferrie of Finn’s Restaurant & Tavern could fit easily into a Colin Farrell/Ralph Fiennes movie, though Ferrie would be the good guy who takes care of everybody, keeps the other guys from quarreling, and makes everything better with a hearty meal of, say, Irish Cottage Pie or Corned Beef and Cabbage. With an Irish twinkle in his eye, Ferrie creates the

Good Vibes & Libations

Maryville’s Diamondjack Wine Bar evokes the spirit of speakeasies past    Tucked into a two-bedroom Craftsman house on the edge of downtown Maryville, Diamondjack Wine Bar combines the intimacy of its interior design, the bonhomie of owners Micah and Rachel Talley, and the passion of sommelier/mixologist Dylan Hayes. “It’s a happy place,” says Micah. Micah had a crush on Rachel Moore starting in third grade at Foothills Elementary School. “I’d get in trouble for chasing her on the playground,” he says. They

Perfection!

Vida brings chic flavors and presentation downtown Stepping into Vida, Knoxville’s new Pan-Latin restaurant on Gay Street, it’s hard not be impressed. Owners Jim and Lori Klonaris, who have been working the restaurant lane for the last 25 years, have transformed the bottom level of the Holston Building into a high-end dining experience. All of the Klonaris’ undertakings have been well-received, from Kalamata Kitchen in the early years to their more recent ventures in Café 4 and Kefi, and it was clear upon visiting that

Sunspot: Eclectic Meets Delicious

Sunspot delights both veggie and carnie crowds Why does a place known for its salads and vegetarian offerings have so many customers who come in specifically for what they insist is one of the best burgers in town? “Well,” answers Sunspot manager Jeff Breedlove, “we make our own grill seasoning. And we use local ground beef. Along with the grass-fed beef from Simpson Farms.” It’s unfailingly juicy and tasty, with a combination of flavors deriving from the mayo, mustard, house pickles, tomato, onion, arugula and cheddar