The Front Porch, Powell, TN, 4/14/22

building – 1509 W Emory Rd, Powell, TN 37849

The Front Porch is in a 1910 house that was where the development of Powell, TN started – with a lumber company.  The Elkins family bought it 2013 and restored it in honor of its historical significance to Powell.  It now serves lunch and early dinner with southern comfort food and sells handcrafted decor on the second floor, as well as many of the decorations in the dining area.  Tables are scattered around the downstairs rooms and there are several more on the wrap-around porch.  No item on the menu is more than $20 and there is a parking lot out back.  Good smells greet you when you enter and there is a counter that sells some items to-go.  Staff were efficient and very friendly.  The food was generous and tasty.  It’s worth a visit. Continue reading

J.C. Holdway, Knoxville, 4/13/22

exterior – entrance – 501 Union Ave SW, Knoxville, TN 37902

J.C. Holdway is named after Chef Joseph Lenn’s late uncle, Joe Holdway, who sought quality food adventures throughout his life.  Now Chef Lenn hopes to provide that sort of dining experience to his customers, and that he does.  His professional career has certainly readied him to meet the challenge.  A Knoxville native, he so enjoyed cooking for friends and family that he decided to attend culinary school, after which he went to work as an intern at Blackberry Farm and then the Peninsula Grill followed by working with Sean Brock to open the Capitol Grill in Nashville. An urge to return to east Tennessee took him back to Blackberry Farm where he became executive chef of the Barn restaurant and received the James Beard Award for the Best Chef Southwest in 2013.  He opened his own place in 2016 in downtown Knoxville using primarily wood-fire techniques.  Lenn’s attempt to provide an outstanding experience to guests succeeds so well that we cancelled out next evening’s reservation in order to dine with him again.  Strong recommendation for this wonderful place and look for another chronicle of luscious dishes on this site in a couple days. Continue reading

Cruze Farm Ice Cream, Knoxville, 4/13/22

exterior – 445 S Gay St #3, Knoxville, TN 37902

Cruze Farm Ice Cream is made with milk and churned buttermilk from Earl and Cheri Cruze’s farm’s hormone-free Jersey cows.  The farm was established in 1980 and their not-homogenized milk is sold at some local markets.  In 1992 the family branched out to open a scoop shop  selling hand dipped ice cream churned from their products at a Target.   It closed after 8 years and the family concentrated on their milk business.  When their daughter Colleen joined her goal was to sell all the surplus milk and an ice cream store was the best way to do that.  In 2016 Colleen and her husband opened a store on Union and one on Gay Street in 2017 with plans for more.  They serve only soft-serve ice cream and mix it with multiple other ingredients and flavors.  We tried a Sassy Cow which contained sweet cream dipped in chocolate and drizzled with caramel and then sprinkled with salt.  A half order if called a ‘calf’ and a whole one is a ‘cow.’  It came in a cup and the chocolate sauce froze into a crisp layer.  Underneath the ice cream was smooth but tasteless.  It was all about the texture and not the taste.  I’d stick with their milk products – they sound fun. Continue reading

Pete’s Restaurant, Knoxville, 4/13/22

building – 540 Union Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902

Pete’s Restaurant has been around since 1986 in downtown Knoxville. Owners Pete and Rita Natour serve quality home-cooked food and customer service at breakfast and lunch.  It’s a long place with lots of windows to the street.  The wall is filled with booth seating and a row of small tables is opposite.  The tables are covered with an oilcloth and set with silver wrapped in a paper napkin.  There are also some counter seats in front of the kitchen. Service was totally efficient and friendly.  Pete was in front helping with everything, including cooking, but not too busy to have a friendly word.  It was pleasant place to sit and while the food was fresh and prepared to order it was very ordinary. Continue reading

Oliver Royale, Knoxville, 4/12/22

exterior – 5 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902

Oliver Royale is one of the two restaurants in the historic boutique Oliver Hotel. They serve new American cusine with a focus on seasonal and regional products in the more upscale and smaller of the 2 settings.  There is an entrance from the Market Square as well as within the hotel.  The building dates back to 1876 but has been very updated to include a bench seating along the walls with tables in the middle for the first 2/3’s of the place and a u-shaped bar with stools for the last third.  Windows to the street, faint music in the background, lowered lighting, acid washed mirrors on the walls, sound panels lining the ceiling, and a enormous skylight make up the room.. The small bare wood tables are set fairly close and there are a few tables available on a front outside patio section.  It’s nicely done but comes off a bit sterile.  Service was friendly but the pacing that started out so fast slowed way down as the evening wore on.  The food was mixed.  There is also an old ‘speak-easy’ in the hotel if you want more drinks afterward. Continue reading

Kilwins Knoxville, Knoxville, 4/12/22

exterior – 408 S Gay St, Knoxville, TN 37902

Kilwins has been in operation since 1947 and is now open in downtown Knoxville.  They sell 32 flavors of ice cream made from original recipes.  Waffle cones are available and also waffle bowls.  When you enter the long shop the front is filled with candies, caramel apples, fudges and other packaged sweets.  The ice cream is further in the back along with some stools and counters where you can sit inside and enjoy your treats.  The first time we visited they were making the waffles for the cones and cups as well as dipping Granny Smith apples in caramel.  The smell was heavenly and made you want to induldge.  We tried the Tennessee River Mud which is vanilla ice cream  mixed with chocolate chips and caramel and a praline pecan ice cream.  The praline pecan won the flavor contest, hands down, but both had excellent density and smoothness to the ice cream.  We tried the waffle bowl and it was a totally ingenious way to combine an often problematic yet very tasty cone.  The bowl was inside a plastic one so you could crack it up and eat with the tasty ice cream.  Get in there and try it.  I did try one of the caramel pecan candies but the pecans were on their way to rancid so be cautioned on the candies. Continue reading