Exploring Culinary Delights with Knoxville Food Tours
My family had a chance to explore the delicious eats in Downtown Knoxville on a recent food tour with Knoxville Food Tours. It has been a few years since I have went on a food tour and I couldn’t wait to taste the culinary delights while learning about the history of the area. Knoxville Food Tours has been conducting tours since 2010 and offers several different tours at varying times and days. The tour we went on was a Sunday afternoon tour and took us to new restaurants that we have never dined at before. The first thing we saw when we arrived was this beautiful mural titled “Postcard From Knoxville.” This mural was designed by local muralist and artist, Bobbie Crews.
Our tour began at Visit Knoxville. Visit Knoxville is located in the heart of downtown on Gay St. It is the official convention and visitor’s bureau for Knoxville and Knox County. The visitor’s center is open seven days a week and welcomes visitors from all over the world. Visitors can “leave their mark” and staff will pin their location on the maps on the wall.
At Visit Knoxville, we started off our food tour with samplings of local products that are sold at the visitor’s center. We sampled a delicious barbecue sauce with mini hot dogs from Dead End BBQ, indulged in Olive Oil’s Best Friend dip from Sophie’s Choice , and washed it down with Goodson Brothers Coffee.
While we enjoyed our local eats, we had a chance to explore all the unique souvenirs and gifts that they sell.
After enjoying these delicious local treats, Paula (our guide and the owner of Knoxville Food Tours) led us to our our second stop on the Knoxville Food Tours. We ended up at Market Square to visit the Market House Cafe. Market House Cafe prides itself on producing fresh frood from scratch using locally sourced ingredients, whenever possible. They are proud to purchase most (if not all) of their produce from local farmers at the Farmer’s Market. On top of their delicious foods, you can enjoy fresh juice from their juice bar menu. I was impressed to find out that all of their juices are made to order. They also blend their own chai in house (the process take 2 1/2 hours.) During our visit we also sampled two of their potato salads and sandwiches.
Prohibition Whole Grain Potato Salad and Buskers Potato Salad
Odd Fellows #1 and Streaking the Strip Sandwiches
After we enjoyed all the deliciousness that Market House Cafe had to offer we headed off for a brief tour of Market Square before heading over to Gay St for our next stop. Paula provided us with a brief history of the Market Square space and the TVA buildings that are situated near the square.
Walking down Gay St. we learned a lot of fun facts from Paula about the area and history of the buildings. I loved the giant bronze statue we came upon on on the northwest corner of S. Gay St. and W. Church Ave. This sculpture is titled “Oarsman” and was Sculpted by David L. Phelps in 1988. This was Phelps first commissioned work.
The third stop on our Knoxville Food Tours led us to Bistro at the Bijou. Bistro at the Bijou is located in the 4th oldest building in Knoxville. It is connected to the Bijou Theatre and was originally the basement level until the street was leveled and the basement became 1st floor. Inside you will see the original bricks and wooden beams. The provides fresh, made from scratch meals. They were the first in the area to provide a “farm to table” menu featuring produce from the now owner’s small farm garden. They have three seasonal menus and we were treated to these fresh ingredients in two mouth-watering dishes.
Fried Okra with a Smoky Jalapeno Ranch
Fried Egg, Lamb, and Grits
Our fourth stop on the Knoxville Food Tours was at Dazzo’s Pizzeria. Dazzo’s is owned by the owner of Bistro at Bijou and also focuses on fresh, homemade food. They purchase their ingredients locally whenever possible and all of their sauces are made in house. I can say that they have the BEST pizza in Knoxville and the most amazing garlic knots. They have a full menu of appetizers, salads, pizzas, pastas and hero sandwiches.
Dazzo’s Famous Garlic Knots
Dazzo’s Signature Pizza: Grandma’s Pizza
With barely any room left after indulging in all the tantalizing entrees,we headed over Cruze Farm Milk Bar. Cruze Farm is a family dairy farm in Knoxville that milks and bottles its own pasteurized whole milk. They also pasteurize and bottle real churned buttermilk, light milk and chocolate milk. Their cows are in the pasture 365 days a year and never given hormones. The milk is not homogenized so the cream rises to the top. They also churn the most delicious ice cream that can be found in several local stores and at their popular food trucks. This summer the opened up the pop-up location of the Cruze Farm Milk Bar just outside of Market Square.The flavors of the ice cream were decadent and the size of the cookie chunks in the Cookies ‘n Cream was amazing. Wanting to enjoy a taste of summer, I opted for the Peach Sorbet. I couldn’t have made a better choice as each bite reminded me of the flavor you get from biting into a fresh peach.
The food tour lasted approximately three hours and provided so much food that no one left hungry. Knoxville Food Tours offers several different tours. Paula has tours that run in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The tours which visit different locations so if you take a morning tour one time, you would visit new places if you took an evening tour. I recommend doing a food tour if you are visiting the area or are a local that wants to enjoy a fun culinary adventure.
To learn more about the tours available and to book your food tour of Knoxville, visit Knoxville Food Tours.
Have you ever been on a Food Tour? What was your favorite feature or stop? Let us know in the comment section below.