Tupelo Honey Cafe opened last Friday in Downtown Knoxville, TN in Market Square. Sunday I decided to check it out with couple friends. Normally I would wait a week or two and let the hype settle before checking out a new restaurant, but I had some friends wanting to go so we put our name in and waited. The host said it might be an hour so we walked around for a bit in Market Square, again I can’t complain, it was only a couple days after the soft opening. Thankfully the wait was only about 30 minutes, not bad!
The restaurant looks great inside and even though it’s crowded with tables you don’t feel like you’re sitting on top of everyone there. The staff is friendly and attentive. The bar area seemed a bit small but because of the urban location of the restaurant it fits nicely. The restaurant shares it’s bathrooms with the neighboring Oliver Hotel which it’s connected to, if the wait was longer you can always hang out in the lobby or have a drink in the hotel bar, one of my favorites, but I’ll get to that some other time.
The restaurant (based in Asheville, NC) has 9 beers on tap, seven of them local or regional, and a good mix of fancy cocktails and the do-it-yourself versions of booze and mixers. The food menu isn’t too big, which is nice, lot’s of great southern/Appalachian fare, it’s 3 pages max including breakfast which they serve all day.
I opted for breakfast, it’s what they do best. Two eggs over medium, local country sausage and home fries. No matter what you order they bring you one of their giant buttery biscuits and a side of blueberry jam. The biscuit alone was a meal in itself and the jam was great, they even sell it if you want a jar to take home. The food was great. It did take way too long to get but I’m sure they’ll work out the bugs in a week or so.
Other than the restaurant being packed and the staff being somewhat overwhelmed the overall experience was great. I’ll be back and often for breakfast and those biscuits! If you’re in Knoxville it’s worth a stop by, even if its just to buy a jar of blueberry jam. ~cwall