Near the banks of the Clinch River, visitors enter River Place on the Clinch, a community-based development equally committed to preserving the environment and the spirit of Appalachia. With a knack for eco-tourism, its staff has created an outdoor oasis complete with river activities, a local market, and a Southern-style café.
Boasting Class I and II rapids, Clinch River beckons rafts, kayaks, and canoes into its waters. The waterway flows on an 850-acre portion of the Kyles Ford Preserve. Echoing River Place's mission of conservation, groups work to save the preserve's endangered freshwater mussels. The area also hosts campsites, furnished wood cabins, and a restored retreat center for people looking to escape the monotonous monotony of everyday life.
The bakers at Kitts Café fill their glass display case with house-made cakes, pies, and cobblers as cooks sizzle up platefuls of Kitts Café's homestyle diner fare. The kitchen staff fires up the griddle at 7 a.m. each morning, sizzling up fresh-cooked eggs and breakfast sandwiches before forging classic burgers and frito chili pie for lunch. To protect taste buds from fits of ennui, the café team whips up a rotating lineup of daily specials that changes each week.
A Knoxville business since 1993, Kitts Café keeps strong ties to the community with Kitts Market, a monthly event that transforms the restaurant into a trendy boutique with the work of local artists and crafters. The market's lineup of handmade gifts includes seasonal decor and enough children's clothing to dress an entire village in Loompaland.
The chefs at 3 Amigos Mexican Grill forge meaty and vegetarian versions of such classic south-of-the-border dishes as tacos, chimichangas, and burritos. At the full-service bar, a troupe of bartenders shakes up salty margaritas and pours beer and wine to quench thirsts of any caliber. The eatery's textured yellow walls, curved archways, and carved wooden chairs swaddle patrons in Spanish-mission style, and an outdoor patio hosts edible enjoyment beneath clear blue skies and unchained tanks of helium.
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.
Husband-and-wife team Wesley and Colleen Crawford run Our Little Coffee House out of their little coffee house in Clinton, where they craft made-from-scratch goodies. Although best known for their fanciful cupcakes and a distrust of measuring cups, the twosome also bakes homemade pies, candies, pastries, and breads. Earning the most plaudits are the Crawford's cupcakes; six staple flavors including tropical pineapple and carrot caramel vie for counter space with rotating monthly and spur-of-the-moment creations. Wesley and Colleen are making a documentary about their journey, which has taken the couple from Macon, Georgia, to Tennessee, all in pursuit of their custard-covered dream.
Since 1950, Dunkin’ Donuts has roused sleepy customers with steaming cups of coffee and more than 50 varieties of freshly baked donuts. Available for a limited time, heart-shaped donuts fuel amorous appetites with vanilla-buttercream or bavarian-cream filling, swirls of chocolate or strawberry icing, and sprinkles precisely positioned to resemble the constellation of Cupid. Baristas splash to-go cups with 20 ounces of regular or decaf coffee, available in three flavor blends—original, french vanilla, or hazelnut. Alternatively, patrons can assemble a box of one or two dozen assorted donuts to liven up a morning picnic or coax a police horse into the building.