Y'all... I have SERIOUSLY been slacking on the blog writing for a while (*cough cough, like a year*), but I am SO excited to share with you this article written by one my new favorite local Knoxville social media presences and writers, 865 Foodie. Below you will find a post (in her own words) of Lindsey Watson's experience attending one of our Chef's Table food tours back on July 21st, 2018. There's also some suuuuper yummy looking pictures at the bottom from the tour that day, so browse through those as well :)
(All writing credit goes to 865 Foodie....be sure to like and follow them on Instagram and Facebook!)
A Bite of Downtown Knox: My Experience with East TN Tours
September 9th is national “I Love Food” Day, and it’s the perfect excuse to book a food tour. September also marks the two-year anniversary of East TN Tours, owned and operated by Knoxville local Lauren Quinn.
Do you find yourself wandering into the same restaurants, coffee shops, and bars every weekend? If so, it’s time for a nudge in the right direction. Er, how about a walk? An easygoing walk stopping at five delicious restaurants along the way. Even if you’re familiar with the stops, you’ve never experienced them like this: an intimate Chef’s Table tour.
I recently took the tour myself. Here’s a bit about the experience:
It was obvious that East TN Tours has built a solid relationship with the restaurants and their chefs. Each eatery took time to talk with us and explain the restaurant’s beginnings and the chef’s personal passions.
We shared our tour with 14 people coming from all over, from the outskirts of Knoxville all the way to England. It was a unique and engaging way to dine with strangers and enjoy some local grub.
Seriously, come hungry! The tour partners with only local restaurants, so if you’re an out-of-towner you’re guaranteed to get the full homegrown experience.
Lauren explained that each tour’s offerings are unique, so what’s possibly served to you will likely be different than my experience. All of the restaurants are passionate about sourcing locally and serve up only the freshest seasonal produce.
During our tour, we saw a theme in fresh tomatoes as they had just hit their peak. They were presented beautifully at Old City Wine Bar, a restaurant that prides itself on having an astounding assortment of wine and serving up unique food pairings. We enjoyed fresh tomatoes and Burrata cheese made with buffalo’s milk.
At Café Vicolo, we met Chef Phil and ate a small plate of local tomatoes (plucked from the farmers market the very same day), cheese, a warm baguette, and olives. Impressively, the café cures their own meat. Chef even allowed us to sample a piping hot pork belly right out of the oven.
During the tour you’ll consume historic insights as well as calories. Did you know Clancy’s Tavern was once Knoxville Bank and Trust and still has the original vault? Their corned beef sandwich was the best I’ve ever had.
We enjoyed a private room at Boyd’s Jig and Reel, Knoxville’s authentic Scottish music and whisky pub. They also have one of the most extensive scotch selections in the world, along with over 800 whiskies to enjoy. Feel free to imbibe along the tour, too – hey, you ARE just walking, right?
If you’re lucky enough to stop at Sugar Mama’s, you’ll be sweetened with some seriously delicious treats (we’re talking a great-great grandmother’s recipe, here!). Wash it down with one of their beers on tap, all of which are brewed in or around Knoxville.
I didn’t even mention the museum, underground bowling alley, or old-timey pharmacy and soda fountain you’ll visit, the historical downtown tidbits you’ll acquire, or the freebies you’ll walk away with. The three-hour tour packs a whole lot of Knoxville into one bite-sized afternoon.
Both longtime Knoxville residents and visitors will find something special about this tour.
And if you’re looking for additional downtown experiences, check out Seek Knoxville, the first and only continuously locally run and operated scavenger hunt in downtown Knoxville also operated by East TN Tours!