A family of Floridians opened Dylan's Restaurant in 2006, bringing their native flavor to Tennessee via dishes such as fried, broiled, or blackened grouper and key lime pie. In addition to classics from the Sunshine State, the menu includes all-American staples: steak and eggs for breakfast, cheeseburgers for lunch, and hearty seafood dinners accompanied by hush puppies and deep-fried baseballs. Chefs even accommodate special requests for customer favorites whenever possible. The restaurant's interior has a bold color scheme, with electric-blue booths and hologram pictures adorning the walls.
Copeland’s of Kingston sources its sport peppers, hot giardiniera, and neon relish directly from Chicago. That’s because owner Jeremy Copeland is serious about his passion for Chicago street fare and 50's rockabilly. Teal walls and checkerboard linoleum floors surround guests as they perch on chrome soda-fountain stools, chowing down on Italian sub sandwiches filled with salami, pepperoni, and homemade vinaigrette, corned beef reubens, or hearty half-pound burgers. An extensive hot dog menu, with dogs chosen among the top five in East Tennessee, treats hungry patrons to sausages covered in southern-style chili and sautéed onions, or dogs prepared in the traditional Chicago style: with Vienna Beef franks run through a garden of relish, mustard, pickles, and tomatoes, all tucked into a tiny winter coat.
Crowned Best Overall Restaurant by the Knoxville News Sentinel in 2010, Puleo’s Grille takes tongues on a whirlwind taste tour with its eclectic menu of Southern and Italian classics. Circle tooth wagons around scrumptious orders of fried green tomatoes partnered with a savory side of stone-ground cheese grits and country gravy ($6.99), or lay a delectable claim on Italian mainstays such as lasagna ($11.99) or artichoke- and caper-flecked chicken piccata, which gets its beauty sleep atop a bed of linguini draped in lemon wine sauce ($14.99).
In the kitchen at Amigo Mexican Restaurant, it all goes back to the tortilla. After wrapping itself tightly around marinated and sautéed beef, chicken, or shrimp, the humble breadstuff reconfigures itself into myriad dishes from a menu of both traditional and inventive Mexican cuisine. Large tortillas bursting with beans and veggies welcome dollops of sour cream and cheese, whereas their smaller counterparts submerge themselves in enchilada sauce or embrace the buddy system as part of more than 30 combo platters. House specialties do occasionally veer away from the famous flatbread; the Guakimaki burger combines Angus steak with a healthy spoonful of the kitchen’s signature made-from-scratch guacamole. That same guac also enhances the flavor of traditional platters of golden chimichangas and flame-kissed fajitas. In addition to listing out prospective feasts, the menu also denotes low-carb options, which helps diners keep track of their nutritional intake while still eating like royalty.
The Heartland Grill’s deft chefs nimbly assemble leaning towers of protein out of half-pound Choice-beef patties, fluffy buns, and a mélange of savory toppings. The All American burger ($5.95) arrives tableside to peals of patriotic fanfare, marching with cheddar cheese and traditional toppings next to a french-fry diorama of Washington crossing the Delaware. The mushroom-swiss burger’s ($6.95) savory sauté conjures memories of autumnal mushroom hunts, and the barbecue-bacon burger ($6.95) doubles up on the meaty munchables beneath a healthy slather of toothsome sauce. Mix and match a pair of burgers with a dining companion, or practice for upcoming taste-tester auditions with blindfolded bites of two personal sandwiches.
Mark’s Downtown Diner's staff slings a menu of American-bred plates in a classic diner environment, replete with caricature-lined walls and a green-and-white checkered motif. Grab a seat at the counter or sidle into a booth before engaging hunger in swordplay with an order of mozzarella sticks ($5.79). Golden-fried jumbo shrimp ($11.09) further dining expeditions by leaping happily along palates, and forks effortlessly harpoon a 12-ounce Black Angus rib-eye steak. Diners seeking greener repast can graze on a house salad ($3.29), three-veggie plate ($4.89), or their dining companion's lime-green tie. The diner also features daily specials, such as Tuesday's homemade meaty lasagna ($7.99), and sweets such as fresh-baked cobbler pies ($2.29/slice) cap off dinners or power dessert-fueled jetpacks for hovers home.
At Burchfield's, located within the DoubleTree hotel in Oak Ridge, cooks prepare comforting Southern and Cajun cuisine. Goat cheese lends a creamy bite to fried-green-tomato BLTs, and drizzles of maple syrup and fruit compote sweeten plates of kettle-fried chicken and buttermilk waffles. Diners can also savor shrimp po' boys, grilled pork chops, or penne pasta tossed in boursin sauce with kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, and mushrooms.