Every community has a local favorite: a one-of-a-kind place where locals gather for a special dish, a certain atmosphere, or a chance to catch up with friends and neighbors over good food.
Like the folks on that television classic "Cheers," we all like to stop at a place "where everybody knows your name." Those local favorites have become more than restaurants. They are extensions of home, where someone is always glad you stopped by. That's just how Tennessee's own Cracker Barrel got started.
The interstate system was young, in the late 1960s, when Dan Evins cogitated on how to keep the real flavor of America available to folks on the road. To Evins, mealtime was that connection between the comfort of made-from-scratch food and time to enjoy catching up--with family, with friends or just with your own thoughts. That first Cracker Barrel Old Country Store opened in 1969 on the outskirts of Lebanon. Standards were firm: cornbread came from cornmeal, not a mix; prices could not "break" people; and, fortunately, the people who worked there made sure a trip to Cracker Barrel was like a friendly visit to a neighbor's home. Soon, people were lined up for turnip greens, biscuits and gravy and the good things served at Cracker Barrel.
Local favorites keep people coming back. Ruby Tuesday was founded on the campus of the University of Tennessee by Sandy Beall, who had a vision of food and drinks handcrafted, made fresh with quality ingredients and full of flavor, served by friendly people.
Not all local favorites have grown to cover the state. Many remain what they have always been: a neighborhood eatery with a reputation for good food and friendly service.
Capture vintage classic at Memphis' Arcade Restaurant, located in the middle of the historic district. Charming Fountain City, in North Knoxville, sees Litton's Market, Restaurant & Bakery spin platters of mouth-watering burgers, chili dogs, key lime pie, red velvet cake and more, while locals gather in a back room to discuss "the truth according to Litton's." An institution in Nashville, Monell's family-style hospitality serves up the finest fried chicken, cornbread, green beans, sweet tea, catfish--and the desserts are something else.
jAVERDE, a local coffee roasting company, began as an e-commerce site. Today they offer their delicious roasts at their West Knoxville location at 9615 Countryside Center Lane off Middlebrook Pike near Ball Camp and at their kiosk in West Town Mall. ...more
One of the best-kept secrets in town, this spot offers home-cooked breakfast and lunch, as well as hand-dipped milkshakes. Specialties include the famous “Y-12 Breakfast” and “Myrtle Burger. ...more
Jet Stream Grill
Casual dining with lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch presented with flair in a relaxed atmosphere. Owned by local meteorologist Neal Pascal and wife Linda, the Jet Stream won two consecutive People's Choice Awards in Taste of Chattanooga. ...more
Jim Olver's Smokehouse
The Oliver family has served travelers and locals for 28 years and more than 400,000 meals. They specialize in country ham, pit BBQ, smokes meats, homemade biscuits, and fruit cobblers. ...more
Jimmy Kelly's Steakhouse
Jimmy Kelly's is a Music City tradition, now its third generation of providing fine food and service to Nashvillians. Located in a Victorian mansion, Jimmy Kelly's serves the best in steaks, chops and seafood. ...more
City: Leiper's Fork, TN
Phone: (615) 595-2233
Joe's Bar-B-Que & Fish
No indoor seating, just a drive-through line with a large menu to study and a microphone to speak into when the time comes to place your order, Joe's is no frills. But, your food is indeed made to order. ...more
Where and who our food comes from is important to our business and to our customers. Our store provides downtown Knoxville with basic groceries and artisanal treats with a strong focus on local & regional sources, independent producers and cooperative ownership. ...more
A classic meat and three restaurant with home cooking like Mom's Sunday dinner, the Kleer-Vu is a Murfreesboro institution. Sweet tea and southern fare, cafeteria-style, with value prices and first-rate service. ...more