Looking for the quintessential Knoxville, the one locals know and love? Here's a quick road map to some of the city's best-kept secrets.
Food and Drink Essentials: Best Places to ...
BUY FRESH FISH
The Shrimp Dock
5210 Kingston Pike
All the fish sold at the Shrimp Dock is caught on American boats and flown in fresh, never frozen; owner Paul Willis even goes to New Orleans and brings back his own catch once a week. If you’re into making your own sushi, the Shrimp Dock offers several varieties of sashimi-grade tuna, salmon and snapper.
BUY FRESH MEAT
Crawford Farm Meats
1800 Maynardville Hwy., Maynardville
This old-fashioned butcher shop offers only meats that are steroid- and antibiotic-free.
BUY ORGANIC VEGGIES
Three Rivers Market
937 N. Broadway
A $25 annual co-op membership nets you the best prices, but the market is open to the public.
10903 Parkside Dr.
This regional supermarket chain is based in nearby Asheville, N.C., and is the area equivalent of Whole Foods. The Earth Fare cafeteria is a great option when you need food fast but don’t want fast food, especially if you’re vegetarian.
DRINK SOME COFFEE
1208 Kenesaw Ave.
Make the extra effort to find this shop, which is tucked into the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood. Ali Johnston, who owns Blackbird along with her husband, Craig, recommends the "Blackbird Vienna": half hot chocolate with cinnamon and half brewed coffee. All Blackbird coffees are organic and Fair Trade-certified.
Gourmet’s Market/Cosmo’s Caffe
5107 Kingston Pike
Also look here for oddball cooking and baking ingredients -- including specialty cheeses -- that you can’t find anywhere else.
GRAB A LATE-NIGHT BITE
Old College Inn
2204 Cumberland Ave.
Not many establishments in Knoxville serve food after midnight. This is the place to go when you need after-hours comfort food, like roast beef and mashed potatoes. Open past midnight several nights a week.
Ashe’s Wine & Spirits
4534 Old Kingston Pike
Owner Thad Cox, Jr., is a true oenophile who travels the world to find great selections. The store also has a very knowledgeable staff.
EAT A STEAK
The Butcher Shop
806 World’s Fair Park Dr.
If you prefer, you can cook your own steaks here on big open grills.
HAVE SUNDAY BRUNCH
31 Market Square
Cozy, private atmosphere and a unique twist on Latin food. You can get typical brunch fare such as eggs and fried potatoes, but you’ll also find plenty of interesting options like smoked duck breast burrito or a steak wrap with manchego cheese.
1909 Cumberland Ave.
One of the best brunch options for vegetarian and vegan eaters; tofu can be substituted for any dish in which you’d normally find meat or eggs. Brunch dishes and specials change every week.
12 Market Square
Their interesting gourmet pizza combinations are the crown jewel of the menu. Heads up: Tomato Head is closed on Monday evenings.