Craving some southern comfort food? If so, you’re in the right state—travel guide lore is that the concept has Nashville, TN roots. At a Meat and Three, the customer chooses from a daily selection of meat dishes, then pairs it with three sides from a list that can include anything from vegetables to puddings and breads. The selection changes daily, providing a wide-range of options. If you’re on a lunch break and need a quick bite to eat, head to one of these local restaurants for a meal that will remind you why the Volunteer State is known for its eats. With choices ranging from delectable fried chicken, to mouth-melting pulled pork, to hearty meatloaf, any of these Meat and Three spots will satisfy your urge for down-home cookin’. These are some of our favorites. We encourage you to visit them all.
“Home cooked meals with a smile” is Wright’s Cafeteria’s motto, and we can see why. With various choices of meats, fresh veggies, and homemade desserts, Wright’s works to guarantee customer satisfaction. Best thing about Wright’s abundant menu? —You can mix and match their food by trying a new combination each day. If you happen to be there on a Monday, we suggest keeping your meal classically southern and trying their Chicken & Dumplings with sides of Okra, Green Beans, and Mashed Potatoes.
5403 North Middlebrook Pike
Thurs: 11am-2pm, 4:30-7:30pm
Sat & Sun: closed
Claiming that they have the best home cooking around, Chandler’s Deli promises customers that their southern meals are better than your granny’s. Chandler’s various selection will make your mouth water with dishes ranging from Pulled Pork Sandwich to Fresh Flounder. And, as those in the know, know—their Fried Chicken is some of the best in town. If you happen to stroll in for their Thursday lunch special, try the Spaghetti with sides of Sweet Potatoes, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Pinto Beans. Looking for some sweet refreshment? Order Chandler’s Fresh Squeezed Lemonade.
3101 Magnolia Avenue; (865) 595-0212
Horn of Plenty
Looking for a local lunch spot where you can simultaneously pick up some fresh plants for your garden? Look no further! Situated at the corner of Middlebrook Pike and Old Cedar Bluff, Horn of Plenty is both a market and a restaurant serving classic Meat and Threes. We suggest stopping by for the Fried Catfish lunch special on Fridays, accompanied with sides of Cream Corn, Broccoli Casserole, and Red Potato Salad. Can’t make it on Friday? Good news for you—on Wednesdays, Horn of Plenty is serving Baby Back Ribs with their special homemade BBQ sauce, with choices of sweet, hot, or vinegar based. They also sell seasonal plants, soils, and mulch.
9132 Middlebrook Pike; (865) 690-9602
If you love homemade comfort food, we consider this eatery to be Homestyle Heaven! With 10 different side items and a choice of three main dishes, Lunch House guarantees your satisfaction. Known for its cheery staff and prompt customer service, it is no shock to us that Lunch House is one of Knoxville’s favorite hidden gems. If you make it in for the Thursday special, we suggest trying the Fried Chicken paired with Cucumber Salad, Cottage Cheese with Pineapple, and Cole Slaw. If you get a sweet tooth after your meal, have a slice of Pecan Pie with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream on top.
3816 Holston Drive; (865) 637-5118
Pete’s Coffee Shop and Restaurant
Tucked away in a corner of downtown, this Knoxville breakfast favorite is known more than their coffee. Established over 30 years ago by Pete and Rita Natour, Pete’s Coffee Shop & Restaurant works to provide quality home cooked meals to their guests—and their extensive menu includes a Meat and Three option with daily specials. Pete’s also offers a vegetarian selection, such as the three-vegetable plate with a roll or corn muffin. If you are there on a Tuesday, order the Meatloaf with a side of Candied Yams, Macaroni Salad, and Fried Okra. Craving something sweet after finishing your main dish? Try Pete’s homemade Coconut Pie.
540 Union Avenue; (865)-523-2860
Mon-Fri: 6:30am- 2:30pm