Old School

Sam, Andy, and Marc's

Knoxville’s old school restaurants are still here for a reason and we’re stepping in to taste their legacies

If everything old is new again, then these Old School Knoxville restaurants are the trendy up-and-comers on the restaurant scene. Except, they aren’t. And we’re the better for it. Tradition trumps trendy as Cityview Publisher Nathan Sparks and I step back in time to visit the best of the foundational food establishments around town.

Sam & Andy’s
The Original Louis’
Long’s Drug Store
Inskip Grill

Sam & Andy’s

Moving from the Cumberland Strip in 1997, Sam & Andy’s West continues the family tradition started in 1946 by Sam and Andy Captain. John and George “Poppy” Captain keep the Vol Burgers sizzling at Knoxville’s best lunch counter. Most customers don’t even have to speak their order before it’s called out down the line and prepped as everyone is a regular and has trekked to Farragut to follow the lunch tradition they started as UT students. —Marc

Farragut  |  facebook.com/samandandyswest

Pizza Palace

What is the secret to great pizza dough? Charlie Peroulas says it can be anything from the temperature of the water to the humidity in the room plus a little luck. Plus they custom make all their own sauces from family recipes. Whatever the secret is, they have it down to an art form. Their pizza is amazing but then again so are the onion rings which are hand cut and fresh breaded daily. Started in 1961, the Peroulas family is legendary in the Knoxville food scene. Charlie joined the company in 1997 and has been leading the company for the last several decades. It is a definite must-try. —Nathan

East Knoxville  |  visitpizzapalace.com

The Original Louis’

I wish I had the word count to tell you about “The Lore of Louis’”! All you need to do is ask anyone from Fountain City why the word “original” is on the sign, then sit back and enjoy the story and the food. And I can sum up the menu in a word. Spaghetti.
Oh, there’s much more on the menu. But if you know, you know…the story and the spaghetti! Family owned since 1958. —Marc

Fountain City | theoriginallouis.com


A great date night, the quiet cozy dining room is complete with a fireplace. Named for his mother, Geraldine Ida Altruda, this eatery is as authentic as Italian gets in Knoxville. Proprietor, Paul Meyer says “It’s all about people, and homemade salad and garlic rolls.” I recommend the Tiramisu for dessert. —Nathan

West Knox | altrudas.com

Long’s Drug Store

Into the 1950’s we go with a trip to Long’s. You don’t even need to say drug store because Knoxville knows Long’s like they know their neighbors. Is there anything better than a low lunch counter, lined with red cushioned stools and relics of the eight decades staring back at you? Heaping platefuls of comfort food are only a Jenny or a Ruth away!  —Marc

Bearden | ldsknox.com

Colonel’s Cafe

Colonel’s has been on the restaurant scene for quite some time. In fact, I lunched there regularly while working at Blue Ridge Mountain Sports in 1976 when it was much more of a delicatessen. Nowadays, look for a more Greek menu, but with a good home cooking feel.  —Nathan

Bearden  |  (865) 588-8481


Is it the burgers, the plate-sized chili dog platter, or the dessert case that catches your eye when you walk into Litton’s? Whatever the draw, Litton’s has been a destination since 1946 when it was a grocery store and full service gas station. The very first “Litton Burger” was 89 cents. The bakery has been a Fountain City staple since 1983 and there are fewer Knoxvillians who haven’t been to Litton’s than have! —Marc

Fountain City | littonsdirecttoyou.com

Pete’s Restaurant

There is just something about a diner that you can’t find anywhere else. The little booths, the small water glasses, it’s like somewhere there is a manual for all the items that make up the perfect diner experience. The food is great, but the anticipation is even better.  —Nathan

Downtown | petescoffeeshop.com

Inskip Grill

Formerly on Inskip Road in Knoxville, Inskip is celebrating their move to new digs in Fountain City. Mouthwatering burgers like the Dolly and Kane are still on the menu, and Yelp recognized Inskip as one of the top diners in America. “Welcome to the Burgersphere,” as the sign says. Why there is a gorilla climbing the Sunsphere inside is beyond me, but I’m still full from the McGhee Tyson. —Marc

Fountain City | inskipgrill.com

Hoskins Drug Store

I walked into Hoskins for the first time and didn’t know if I was getting something to eat or going on a museum tour! Inarguably the best soda fountain/lunch counter/museum in East TN. There is no trip to historic downtown Clinton that shouldn’t include Hoskins. Family owned since 1930 says everything. If you want to know how your grandparents grew up, go to Hoskins today. —Marc

Clinton | facebook.com/hoskinsdrugstore

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