Restaurant Report: Blue Sky Café [CLOSED]

138 West End Ave., Farragut, 671-2583

For five years, Martina Kitt and Jackie King operated the Dinner A'Fare in Turkey Creek, offering the Cadillac version of home replacement meals. It's an operation where you have the option to help put the meal together (thus adding a soupçon of the homemade), or just grab it and run. The business succeeded because the food was fresh and good and did, in fact, provide the buyer a plausible white lie about whether the food was truly "homemade."

But as time passes, doors close and doors open and Kitt and King found themselves in a real estate quandary that led them away from the Turkey's bustle to a home better suited to their dreams.

Now situated in Farragut's West End area, the Dinner A'Fare has a sister business whose goal is to feed you onsite. The Blue Sky Café was an idea that had been growing in the Kitt and King caboodle through the time at their previous location. "We tried to expand at Turkey Creek, but we needed more room to grow," Kitt says. "The new space is big enough to accommodate all the things we do: the Dinner A'Fare, our catering business, and, of course, the restaurant."

The Blue Sky Café is still growing into its space, so the decor isn't exactly five-star yet, but the essence of the restaurant is certainly in place for both lunch and a better-than-average breakfast. Kitt emphasizes that they use as much locally sourced product as possible: "Fresh ingredients add to the aroma quality of the dish, they bring back the aromas you get from home cooking." And they don't hurt the flavor of the dish either.

Kitt presented four of her favorite dishes—well, seven if you count the three kinds of house-made pimento cheese—and each was remarkably aromatic and attractive. It's the kind of food that both nose and eye crave. And each had a unique touch. Shrimp is served over grits enriched with smoked Gouda and dressed with sautéed tomatoes and a mouth-watering combo of scallion and bacon. Like the shrimp and grits, all of Blue Sky's offerings are inventive, aromatic, and taste as fresh as homemade.

One particularly special element of Kitt and King's presentation is the use of individually sized portions. You don't get a slice of carrot cake; you get your own, individual carrot cake, and the same is true of many dishes. It's a small thing but it does make you think that your meal was made especially for you.

138 West End Ave., Farragut, 671-2583

blueskycafeknoxville.com

Tuesday-Friday: 7a.m.-3 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Must Haves

Chicken Pot Pie: This steaming, puff-pastry encrusted pie is an individually portioned bowl of instant happiness. It's very aromatic with wafts of chicken, fresh vegetables, and cream. The chicken, moist and tender, is poached before being enveloped in a rich white sauce and covered in pastry. Still, the dish remains light. It's a favorite from the Dinner A'Fare that Kitt tweaked for the restaurant.

Quiche Lorraine: Another individually portioned treat, the quiche is available at breakfast and lunch. Here, some secret magic may be at work because the dish remains steamy and warm throughout the meal. It's not exactly the standard custard-style quiche: it's more of a fluffy, dreamy, almost-casserole like concoction that's nestled in a butter pie crust.

House Carrot Cake: Two rounds of moist carrot cake rest between more than generous layers of creamy icing, and then the whole thing is topped with a sprinkle of candied pecans and a fine grating of orange zest that keeps this mountain of goodness both fresh and balanced. Warning: The carrot cake might evoke soft moans of pleasure.