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Dining Out

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

Spicing Up SoKno

In the early 1900s, a streetcar line was extended across the Gay Street Bridge and along the waterfront to the planned suburb of Island Home Park. Around that time a Craftsman-style home was built at 1147 Sevier Avenue, just where it bends to the right before the left turn onto Island Home Avenue. Around 110 years later, South Knoxville residents Zach and Hao Land bought the house, which had most recently housed the Tennessee Wing of the Civil Air Patrol. The Lands took the house down to the studs and left the original wood…

A Jewel Shines in Bearden

Tucked away on Chambliss Road is a place many Knoxvillians may remember as “Eva’s for Lunch.”  The new owner, Misty Mills, has transformed the former shopping and lunch spot into a delightful casual Italian restaurant: Merelli’s. In an inventive use of the space, Mills has created an intimate outdoor courtyard, a main dining room, and five private dining rooms. Chef Joseph Pereyo has developed a menu suitable for a casual weeknight supper, a business lunch, or a weekend special occasion. The restaurant’s…

Sunspot: A fresh look at an established favorite

At the corner of Cumberland and 22nd Street, Sunspot is easy to access in the new traffic pattern, and parking is available both behind the restaurant and on Lake Avenue. The new location retains its contemporary atmosphere and cool vibe, with a stained concrete floor, reclaimed hardwood walls, and a dining room divider fashioned of re-purposed wooden doors.  These elements, combined with deeply padded booths, provide an airy, but not noisy, dining experience. 2018 Top Chefs Second Place winner and Blackberry Farm alumnus…

Fast Casual Dining at Farmacy

Bettina Hamblin got into the catering business after earning her BFA in painting from UT. After 10 years running Luxe Catering, she realized she wanted to open a restaurant. Hamblin found a storefront on Northshore Drive just west of the Pellissippi Parkway and opened up last June. She calls it Farmacy because good food is good medicine—and she uses fresh farm-to-table ingredients and makes everything from scratch.  Patrons enter and order at the cash register up front. “Our storefront feels approachable,” says Hamblin,…

Rocky Mountain High

On a stretch of North Broadway, an oversized blond-wood privacy fence cut in the silhouette of a mountain range surrounds two buildings that once housed Rentals Rentals and a Dr. Pepper bottling plant. These spaces were combined, taken down to studs, bricks, and dirt floors, and recreated as a spacious, high-ceilinged brewery and restaurant imbued with the laid-back vibe of a Colorado ski resort. Behind the bar there is a large topo map of the Elkmont community. The interior marries mountain rustic with industrial design.…

Dine Like It’s 1929

Executive Chef Carol Scott is happy to explain the name Kitchen 919: “Whenever you have family or friends in your home, the gathering place is always the kitchen. The Kitchen brings people together. The zip code is 37919, hence the 919.” In the space that once housed the Orangery, ornate French rococo has given way to Roaring 20s Art Deco. You can imagine Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley trading witty barbs and sipping custom cocktails in the Temperance Bar, with its hammered-tin ceiling and photos from the era. Al…