When the Porsche is next to the painter’s van and the Mercedes pulls up beside the motorcycle in the parking lot, you know you’ve picked a great place to eat. It’s common to see suits sitting near coveralls at Knoxville’s favorite small dining establishments. There’s one common trait the patrons share—they’re happy to be there. These restaurants are steeped in history, their service drips with Southern hospitality, and the food will keep you coming back time and time again. While restaurants are off limits during the coronavirus quarantine, most are available for carryout orders.
Nick & J’s
Lovell Road’s diner spot has become a local favorite due to their fantastic staff and amazing food. Nick & J’s Breakfast Special is my Saturday morning go-to, but they also take pride in their ability to make an excellent meatloaf. Other lunch favorites: the grilled Rueben and Philly cheese steak sandwich.
1526 Lovell Rd | 865-766-5453
Lunch House is a great spot for anyone who can’t quite decide what they want to eat. Open from 6am to 3pm, they offer breakfast and lunch options to satisfy whatever food-mood you’re in. Diners praise their pork chop biscuits, pecan pancakes, fried catfish and greens. And reasonable prices as well.
3816 Holston Dr | 865-637-5188
Twister’s Diner offers an array of choices if you need a good meal to fill you up. They offer breakfast all day and “all you care to eat” catfish, fries and slaw. Their daily specials will satisfy a variety of appetites. Don’t forget to grab a slice of pecan pie or a hot fudge sundae before you leave.
5831 Washington Pike | 865-951-2046
It’s All So Yummy
It’s All So Yummy Café has two locations; one in Knoxville and one in Oak Ridge. The Grilled Slim Shady–a toasted spaghetti sandwich is among our recommendations. If that doesn’t meet your demand, their menu is loaded with delicious and unique items. Try the Krispy Kreme Grilled Cheese!
120 S Peters Rd, Knoxville | 865-769-6539
2010 Highway 58, Ste 1004, Oak Ridge | 865-574-8850
Just this past March, Jackie’s Dream restaurant turned five years old. That is five years of providing quality Southern cookin’, like their renowned hot chicken and fried catfish, biscuits and fried okra with a side of super friendly service.
1008 E Woodland Ave | 865-219-5789
Don’t let the name fool you; Chandler’s isn’t a sandwich shop. Located on East Magnolia Avenue, it’s where you go for BBQ ribs, mac and cheese, fried chicken, collards and homemade cornbread. If comfort is what you’re looking for, Chandler’s is where to go.
3101 Magnolia Ave | 865-595-0212
Rankin Restaurant offers a great selection for any hungry diner before mid-afternoon. Among their favorite breakfast options are biscuits and gravy and pancakes, while homemade chicken noodle soup and beef steak and gravy draws lunchtime raves.
2200 N. Central St | 865-524-9621
Home of the “Knoxville Big Burger,” Inskip Grill has been serving Knoxvillians and visitors alike since 1967. Diners rave about their ranch waffle fries and off-the-chain milkshakes. They offer over 50 burger and sandwich selections, so come in hungry and they’ll take care of the rest.
101 E. Inskip Dr. | 865-357-1554
Round Up Restaurant located on Sevierville Pike will make you feel at home as soon as you step up to order. They’re known for their homemade goodies—from burgers to open-face sandwiches with a side of mashed potatoes— and the friendly atmosphere can make you lose track of time as you enjoy your plate.
3643 Sevierville Pike | 865-577-8981
With both Mediterranean and American cuisine options to choose from, Colonel’s Café offers food from across the palate spectrum. The hamburger and Greek salad are classic choices, the Mediterranean breakfast draws raves and Colonel’s fried apple pie a la mode screams “try me.”
4809 Newcom Ave | 865-588-8481