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Dining Out

A Family Feeling in Oak Ridge

Fire & Salt gives Chef Alex Gass a stage for his culinary creativity When you walk into Chef Alex Gass’s Fire & Salt restaurant in Oak Ridge, you are immediately charmed by the staffers’ camaraderie. “It’s a family environment,” says hostess Eden Frazier, whose sister Jayley is a pastry chef. They and a dozen or so others came with Gass from Walnut Kitchen in Maryville. When Gass told them he was starting a restaurant, they said they wanted to be a part of it. It’s an atmosphere reminiscent of the TV series

The Omakase Experience

Sit back and enjoy Koyo’s multi-course tasting menu At Koyo, on Clinch Avenue just off Market Square, Executive Chef Chris Bowman wants you to experience an evening of carefully curated courses and wines. “Omakase” refers to a succession of dishes selected by the chef paired with tantalizing wines. “You come in and you leave it up to the chefs,” says Beverage Director Stephanie Hunley, whose competitive sommelier spirit was honed as a Lady Vols rower. “We won a Wine Spectator award for our wine list. We have

[B]abylon Revisited

Point B is a little bit of Paris in Knoxville Owner Daniel Goss likes to tell both the long and the short versions of the founding story of Point B. The condensed version starts in the dark days of the pandemic lockdown in March 2020, when Goss had to furlough the employees of the Downtown Grill & Brewery, including himself. Some employees asked, “What should we do?” Goss replied, “We’re all at Point A. We’re like ducks. We keep moving forward, and at the end of this, there’s going to be a Point B.” Much as

The Brass Pearl

Oysters on the half shell and signature cocktails bring NOLA to Market Square The French poet Léon-Paul Fargue wrote, “Eating oysters is like kissing the sea on the lips.” Knoxville’s only raw bar, The Brass Pearl, opened on Market Square in early 2022 with a simple concept: oysters from various regions of the east and west coasts, fresh-caught seafood, hand-crafted cocktails, and “bubbles.” It is a delightful addition to the Square. The interior design with its lofty ceilings, rococo mirrors, and black-and-white

Tuscany Comes to Maryville

Bella offers authentic Italian cuisine—and the flaming Pasta in the Wheel! Bella occupies a building in downtown Maryville that was built in 1925 as a J.C. Penney, whose name is memorialized in a mosaic at the front door. For 20 years it was Sullivan’s Downtown, a cousin to Sullivan’s on Rocky Hill. When owner Chad Irvine decided to close his satellite venue, Jim and Loni Klonaris and their partners took the space and opened Bella in April of 2020. Executive Chef T.J. Saunders’ daughter Madeline named it: “If you’re

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