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Restaurants in Kingston, TN Bring Special Flavor to Region

Whitestone Country Inn in Kingston, TN
Whitestone Country Inn in Kingston, TN

The Kingston, Tennessee area has no shortage of locally owned restaurants offering food and ambiance that can’t be found anywhere else.

With its national reputation for excellence, Whitestone Country Inn outside of Kingston draws folks from miles around to its serene retreat on Watts Bar Lake. The AAA Four-Diamond bed-and-breakfast has been featured on HGTV and in Southern Living magazine, and America’s Historical Inns voted it among the most romantic inns in America. The peaceful place is renowned for its top-notch bed-and-breakfast and fairytale weddings, but it’s also a destination for anyone looking for an artfully prepared Southern meal in awe-inspiring surroundings.

“Our dining room has a really spectacular view of the lake and the mountains, and we serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week,” says Paul Cowell, owner of Whitestone Country Inn. “We specialize in Southern regional cooking fused with a northern Italian flair.”

Dinner is typically four courses, and guests can choose from a variety of entrees. The menu changes daily and might include an appetizer of fresh pineapple wrapped in crisp applewood-smoked bacon and caramelized brown sugar along with coconut crusted tilapia, garlic mashed potatoes, a vegetable medley and fresh-baked rolls. Not to mention the inn’s famous Whitestone Delight Pie, a cold white cream pie made with toasted coconut, pecans, cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, whipped cream, chocolate and caramel.

“We’ve sold thousands of cookbooks for that pie alone,” Cowell says with a chuckle. “Local doctors are prescribing it for people with low cholesterol. I have to have it on the menu every night, or I’ll get mobbed.”

Open since 1997, Whitestone was a lifelong dream Cowell planned for 34 years before he made it a reality.

“I love entertaining people and letting them escape from the world – we’re on a dead-end road in a wildlife refuge,” he says. “We’re famous for Southern hospitality. We try to make people feel like they’re at their mother’s house, where all your needs are met.”

For a less formal dining experience, check out The Crow’s Nest – a casual spot perched on Watts Bar Lake’s Blue Springs Marina in Ten Mile.

“We’re known for our hamburgers – Black Angus, triple thick, huge burgers – but we also do a lot of high-end specials, like seared ahi tuna, lobster claws, 100 percent prime Black Angus steak, stuffed tilapia and Chilean seabass,” says Will Simmerly, a manager at The Crow’s Nest. “We’re also known for our dollar beer drafts on Sundays.”

Open Friday through Sunday, The Crow’s Nest is a favorite with boaters and those who enjoy a casual community atmosphere.

“The level of service we offer is really unique on the lake,” says Simmerly, who, along with managing partner J. Woolsey, ran corporate chain restaurants for 35 years before coming to The Crow’s Nest. “It’s great to run an independent restaurant, because you can incorporate your own tastes, and you don’t have to follow a corporate game plan.”

Desserts at The Crow’s Nest include a molten chocolate lava cake, white chocolate raspberry cheesecake and a one-pound – yes, a full pound – chocolate cake.

“It’s pretty impressive,” Simmerly says. “It’s enough cake to split between three people.”

And that’s just a sampling of the tastes Roane County restaurants have to offer. Mama Mia’s Restaurant & Pizzeria in Kingston specializes in hand-tossed pizzas. Captain Tom’s Barbecue in Oliver Springs is known for its “real down-home, hickory-smoked, knuckle-sucking, finger-licking, slap yo’ mama barbecue.”

And Gibson Girls Southern Goodies Café in Kingston bakes up tasteful Southern treats such as apricot nectar cake, raspberry chocolate brownies and strawberry pound cake.

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