Most folks don’t realize it, but many of America’s favorite foods are produced right here in Knoxville. That eye-opening cup of joe and hearty breakfast biscuit may well originate with JFG Coffee and White Lily Flour. Your mid-morning snack cake could easily have been baked by Interstate Brands/Merita Bakery. Thousands settle in with chips and a beer to watch the Vols play. That’s Lay’s Fine Foods and the New Knoxville Brewing Co. at work.
All in Good Taste
Similarly, the taste of Knoxville is not only in its food production, but also its restaurants. With playful decor and innovative cuisine – buffalo shank served on cheese polenta, for example, or Asian lump crab meat nachos – Kenny Saio’s popular restaurants add a colorful and distinctive flair to Knoxville’s dining scene. The cross-cultural fare at Mango won Metro Pulse’s Best Gourmet Restaurant honor, and Stir Fry Café – an oriental and Thai restaurant known for its generous portions – won the weekly newspaper’s Best Asian Restaurant award. “I travel a lot and I love food,” Saio says. “Every time I find something different, I tell my chefs and we play with it and see how it goes. We’re not scared to try anything.” Cha Cha Tapas Bar serves up Spanish-influenced tapas such as fried sardines and escargot with shitake mushrooms in a puff pastry.
Fine-dining as a Family Tradition
Regas is Knoxville’s first name in quality dining. Launched in 1919 as a diner-style café by brothers George and Frank Regas, the namesake restaurant has become East Tennessee’s first choice for an evening of fine fare. And that isn’t just current proprietor William Regas talking, according to The Knoxville News Sentinel, Regas has been a top-rated fine-dining experience in Knoxville for the past 90 years.