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.
Locally grown fruits and vegetables fill Aubrey's Restaurant's menu across seven locations in eastern Tennessee. In addition to Southern recipes for buttermilk fried chicken and pulled pork, the kitchen also stirs housemade pimento into a savory dip and marinates chicken in lemon and lime. Old-fashioned patty melts and other sandwiches join pastas such as the Rattlesnake linguine, with grilled chicken, spinach, green peppers, and Southwestern alfredo that are charmed into stillness with the twirl of a fork. Desserts, such as the chocolate turtle cake with Hershey's chocolate and Breyers ice cream, help top off each meal.
Lenny's is known in lands near and far for its premium deli meats that are sliced to order, chicken and tuna salad made from scratch, signature hot-pepper relish, and hearty portions. A regular-sized cold sub ($6.35) is 7.5 inches long and has about half a pound of meat and cheese. The large versions ($10.75) are 15 inches long and pack about a pound of protein and veggie vitamins. Check the menu for the full sandwich selection, which includes warm 'wiches liberally loaded with slivers of juicy meat, such as the French dip ($6.35 for a regular) sided with au jus for dipping, and the Philly cheesesteak ($6.35 regular, $8.23 with chips and a drink). Lenny's also offers salads, kiddie meals ($4.50), and cookies baked in-house ($0.75 when added to a combo) to put a sweet finish on any lunchtime hunger cure or lunchtime argument over the philosophical implications of the Tron sequel.
Led by the husband and wife team of James and Beverly Black, JB's Ribs & More's barbecue masters slow cook pork, ribs, and poultry before plating the meat with hearty sides of comfort fare. As described in a feature from the Daily Times, the Blacks' culinary career began in James' mother's backyard, where he learned to whip up succulent chicken and ribs by barbecuing on the weekends. The barbecue pros soon outgrew their home-based business' finite supply of wet wipes and opened a full-time restaurant that could sate Maryville's hunger for soul food such as five-cheese macaroni and pulled-pork slow cooked for 14 hours. Patrons can lick their fingers while browsing the eatery's free WiFi, or carry out one of JB's family-size meals and feed all their novelty cookie jars some much-needed protein.
Dough goes airborne in Bella-Roma's kitchen as chefs hand-toss crusts for pizzas and calzones. After crisping thin crusts in the oven, chefs ladle on generous toppings to create specialty pizzas such as the Roma Supreme, laden with sausage, beef, and peppers, or the barbecue chicken, which lies on a thick carpet of smoked gouda and fontina cheeses. Alternately, square deep-dish pizzas deliver thicker crust, deeper layers of cheese, and square-cut pepperonis for patrons who are allergic to circles. Once prepped, pies are set atop tables for dine-in or slipped into boxes for takeout. Bella-Roma also serves up nonpizza fare, including beef or five-cheese lasagnas and sub sandwiches on 8-inch hoagie rolls.
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).
The talented chefs at Big Lane's Pizza silence tumultuous belly bellows by assembling fresh ingredients into mammoth, meat-laden pizzas served alongside classic Italian eats. Big Lane’s hefty pies, which come as big as 20 inches, anchor themselves to tables with a choice of more than 20 toppings, including banana peppers, ricotta, and grilled chicken. A variety of baked pastas vies for palate popularity and arrives accompanied by house salad and garlic knots. Hot and cold subs served on 12-inch italian rolls allow guests to repurpose forks into back scratchers, and vegetarian salads quell herbivorous cravings.