This column is called People and Places, but I haven’t written much about places!
Since my artist co-columnist is busy on some commission work this week, I’m going to talk a little bit about restaurants that are locally owned.
A new Taco Bell — possibly with beer — is going in at the old Long John Silver’s near the I-75 Clinton exit, and I’ve heard people complain that this area needs another sit-down restaurant more than another fast food place. That may be true, but I’d love to remind you of 10 locally owned restaurants that are worth checking out.
These are all just my personal opinion, written while hungry, and by no means include all the locally owned eateries.
1. VEGA Cafe & Smokehaus. This is my personal favorite restaurant. Their wings are huge and spiced to perfection, but their BBQ, meatloaf, and weekly specials are ridiculously good. Located in Norris across from the post office. And I can’t even begin on their desserts or we’d be here forever. Yum.
2. The Vols Diner in Rocky Top. If you’re coming the back way from Clinton, this is on the left before you hit city hall. (Yes, this is how I do directions.) If you’re craving Applebee’s-like appetizers, this is it, but better. At least when it comes to the made-from-scratch potato skins, which, thanks a lot me, I’m now craving. This is home cooking, very affordable and very good. Very clean restaurant and on Thursdays they have karaoke.
3. Apple Blossom Café and Catering in Clinton. We all know about Apple Blossom Cafe. Sometimes I judge a restaurant by its ranch dressing, and Apple Blossom has great ranch dressing. The tuna melts, patty melts and grilled chicken salads are delicious.
4. Cadence Craft & Trade on Market Street in Clinton has fantastic lunches! Primarily soups and sandwiches. And, their lattes are great too. Wonderful owner.
5. Harrison’s in front of Walmart. I recommend the chicken pot pie.
6. Fuji Asian Cuisine in Clinton, near Ace Hardware. Try the teriyaki steak hibachi and yum-yum sauce. It’s really really good Asian food.
7. The Restaurant at the Museum of Appalachia. Kristi Wells is back in the kitchen, y’all, and she’s possibly one of the top three cooks in Anderson County. They’re open for lunch from 11-2. Every single thing is always amazing.
8. Hoskins, obviously.
9. Chunky Monkey (just outside of Norris) has really great cheeseburgers and fries.
10. Trout dip at Clinch River Brewing and basically everything else.
11. Hammock’s Perk-a-deli in Clinton is always super quick and has great specials. I was obsessed with their potato salad for a while. It’s really good.
That’s quite a few options, and they beat the chain restaurants any day. If you check them out, let us know what you think.
Crystal Huskey is a freelance writer living in Norris.