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Dining Out

Neighborhood Spirit

Cazzy’s Corner Grill brings a lively take on classic American cuisine to Northshore Town Center Before the pandemic shutdown, Cazzy’s didn’t do much take-out. Rather, it made its name on relaxed business lunches, as an after-work watering hole, and as a comfortable hangout for Northshore Elementary School families. (It was named for the original owner’s daughter.) But in the weeks when the dining room was closed, “We had crazy to-go business,” says Kitchen Manager Annie Fletcher. “It’s what’s kept us alive.” Something

Memoirs of a food critic

“It’s a bad-ass feeling of peace in knowing the authenticity of that concept,” said Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro Executive Chef Shelley Cooper, talking about her commitment to true farm-to-table Appalachian cuisine with inventive twists. She is faithful to traditions she learned from one set of grandparents in Western Carolina and the other in the Mississippi Delta. “It’s my ancestry. It’s my history,” she says. I still remember her Appalachian Hot Pot, served in a mini cast-iron skillet. It’s a jambalaya of

Knox Mason

Knox Mason in the downtown Embassy Suites maintains its culinary roots. Downtown Knoxville’s latest addition to the hotel scene gets your attention when the glass doors of the new Embassy Suites lobby on Gay Street whisk open to reveal a 50-foot-tall light array, artistic cast-bronze ceiling lights, and modern décor looking like a fashionable boutique hotel in a large city. A space that many remember as a cavernous and boring bank office, as silent as a tomb, now makes each patron feel like a red-carpet celebrity.

Abre Tus Oídos

Soccer Taco Northshore Town Center wants patrons to “open their ears” to new dishes. You know you’ve walked into a restaurant that’s serious about soccer when you see Megan Buzzeo, charismatic former goalkeeper for Farragut High and UT Martin tending bar. Now Head Keeper Coach for Hardin Valley Academy, Megan’s flashing Argentinian-blue eyes welcome both soccer aficionados and people just looking for authentic, carefully prepared Mexican cuisine. “We get people coming from downtown,” says Megan, “There’s a little more

Land, Sea, and Vine

Seasonal, local cuisine in Bearden’s Homberg area It can be a challenge keeping up with the many restaurants in the Homberg area, but the corner of Kingston Pike and Mohican is now the home of Harvest, right across from its cousin Nama Sushi Bar. “A neighborhood restaurant is just what we needed in the GBA—that is, the Greater Bearden Area,” says Hugh Nystrom, dining with his family after chairing a Knox County Commission meeting. Harvest has the kind of local feeling to make it a regular favorite, whether for a

Farm-to-Table Treat

Walnut Kitchen combines a neighborhood feeling with farm fresh cuisine In its 100-year history, the two-story red brick building on High Street in Maryville has been a hotel, bawdy house, laundromat, and market. Thanks to cattlemen Jim Simpson and Jason Parkerson, it now houses Walnut Kitchen and WK Butcher retail shop, offering hormone- and antibiotic-free beef and pork raised on local farms, dressed and dry-aged in an upstairs room, then trimmed by in-house butcher Ashley Gaylor. Gaylor got his start at 8

Where Down Home Meets Chic

Rebel Kitchen brings an Appalachian approach to French cuisine on West Jackson Avenue For starters, the name Rebel Kitchen is a misnomer. Chef Preston Williams is all about farm-to-table Appalachian cuisine, but his food and atmosphere tend more toward a tony Charleston vibe. “Rebel” actually refers to Williams’ original idea of “taking French cuisine and making it more rebellious.” But the irony of the name works to their advantage in the re-energized artists’ beehive of West Jackson Avenue, just down the block from


Chef Seisuke "Sei" Fukuoka brings his superb and authentic Japanese cuisine to Gay Street Emerging from his behind-the-bar kitchen area with a playful grin, Chef Seisuke Fukuoka, who goes by Sei, presents a chef’s special, Okonomiyaki (Japanese for “grilled as you like it”), as if he is sharing a special surprise. It’s his version of a Japanese pancake, made with flour, eggs, shredded cabbage, shrimp, tempura, green onions, and topped with savory seasonings. In his new location, Sei’s mission is to bring authentic

Mediterranean Flavors in the Old City

“Food for the Gods” and a cocktail laboratory in a haute cuisine hideaway. Building on their successes with Kalamata Kitchen in Homberg and Café 4 on Gay Street, owners Jim and Lori Klonaris named their Old City restaurant Kefi, after a Greek expression that translates roughly as “profound passion.” They drew on their respective Greek and Lebanese heritage in creating a Mediterranean menu that they call “Food for the gods—expert crafted, made with love.” With their trademark élan, the Klonarises used high-concept

Garden to Table in the Foothills

The Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro Stays True to Its Mission of Authenticity When asked how she makes her Fall Squash Soup both creamy and light, Shelley Cooper lights up with the passion that she brings to her creations. “We begin with the vegetable stock, which we make in-house,” she says. “We add enough cream for velvety richness and smoothness. Peanut dust and bacon bits add flavor, and pomegranate seeds provide the pop.” With her pulled-back blonde hair, large eyes, and sly smile, Cooper could be played by Kirsten