Smoothie King co-founder Steve Kuhnau began mixing fruit, nutrients, and proteins in the late 1960s, in a successful attempt to assuage his own health conundrums. By 1973, he’d begun selling vitamins alongside his health-boosting concoctions, and soon, more than 600 Smoothie King locations were operating worldwide. Today, the shop’s patrons customize real apple, mango, and banana smoothies with sundry health-bolstering mix-ins. More than 70 blendable multivitamins, minerals, enzymes, nutrients, and amino acids fortify frosty smoothies, helping bodies to stay healthy or lift semi-trucks. Snacks, such as veggie chips and high-protein cookies, augment shakes in both health and deliciousness.
Hot Rods 50's Diner’s checkered linoleum floors, white countertop, and automotive-themed decor transport guests back to a simpler time, when cars were red and shiny. Tunes drone from the jukebox as chefs whip up a sock-hopping menu of burgers, beer-battered onion rings, hoagies, and other midcentury classics. At the soda-fountain counter, staff members blend shakes and malts while gossiping above the bells and pained cries of pinball machines, Servers carry plates of classic American fare to the outdoor patio or formica tables surrounded by booths, all suspended in time by a collection of vintage photographs, license plates, and gas-station signs.
Anaba Japanese Cuisine's skilled chefs roll up more than 90 types of sushi, which beckon hungry stomachs from an eclectic menu of diverse Japanese dishes. Rice rolls stuffed with crunchy shrimp ($6 full; $4 half) represent traditional touches, and exhibitionist samplers such as mackerel sashimi ($3) shed rice robes to flaunt protein-packed forms. More conservative specialty rolls, such as the rainbow roll ($12), encase a variety of underwater treasures, including whitefish, yellowtail, shrimp, and salmon, and can only be won over by the touch of chopsticks or a love note written in soy sauce. Across the kitchen, hibachi grills goad kimchi pork, green pepper, and scallions ($13) into proving their taste-bud-worthiness by walking barefoot over open flames. In between savoring sushi rolls and altering the consistency of soy sauce with wasabi, guests can quench thirsts with an array of spirited sakes. Anaba’s cheery ambiance employs a juxtaposition of sumptuous dark wood and leather booths against neon signs and flat-screen TVs, creating a delightful fusion of elegance and fun, just like the karaoke bar in the basement of the White House.
At Lenny's Sub Shop, named Best Sandwich Shop in 2010 by CityVoter Knoxville, team members bake fresh loaves of bread every morning and slice deli meat to order for each sandwich. Lenny's Sub Shop has been active in Knoxville for 14 years and it has grown to reach diners in more than 15 southern and midwestern states. Its signature 7.5-inch sandwiches cradle a half-pound of meat and cheese, the 10-inch holds 3/4-pound while its 15-inch Heroic subs hold up to a full pound. On the lighter side, the 5-inch holds 1/3-pound. Hot pepper relish blended from diced cherry peppers is available to add zing to deluxe clubs, roast-beef sandwiches, and veggie subs. New items include the chopped BBQ sub, potato salad, wraps, coleslaw, and a large variety of chips. In addition, the shop also serves kids' meals.
It's hard to imagine a restaurant that epitomizes the great American diner better than Huddle House. Since 1964, the restaurant—which has locations scattered prominently throughout the southern states—has warmed bellies with burgers, hearty breakfasts, and heaping helpings of friendly hospitality, available 24-hours a day. Even the moniker is All-American: founder John Sparks came up with the name after a football huddle, hoping it would inspire his customers to gather round a table and swap stories over a warm meal.
Over the years, Huddle House's menu has expanded and adapted to changing tastes, but its focus has remained the same: old-fashioned, American comfort food. No matter what time it is, guests can order up biscuits smothered in gravy and cheese or dig into the shop's signature waffles, whipped up using a secret recipe and waffle irons that can't read. Afternoon eats include chopped steak burgers served with regular or sweet potato fries and sandwiches with a southern twist, like a Philly cheese steak stuffed between slices of thick-cut Texas toast.
At each of The Shrimp Dock's three locations, you can reap the fruits of fishermen's labors, inspecting market catches ranging from salmon and snapper to mussels, lobsters, and scallops. Their fresh Gulf shrimp comes in five sizes, ready to quell hungers ranging from petite to gargantuan. True to their origins, the markets also stock Cajun favorites, with recipe-ready meats including alligator and catfish. With shipments arriving straight from three coasts six days a week, their stock stays as fresh as it is delicious. In addition to filling area kitchens with just-caught seafood, The Shrimp Dock also specializes in prepared fare; lunch specials from the kitchen, served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., include Knoxville's beloved Gulf shrimp and oyster po boys and homemade soup.
The Captain enthusiastically touts the potential benefits of a diet rich in fish, including regular doses of omega-3 fatty acids, reduction in risk of heart disease, and a conversation-starter with pelicans.