Runners Up: Mi Pueblo, Oriental Super Mart, Sunrise Supermarket
The Holy Land Market on Sutherland Avenue is a bit of an anomaly: Where else can you find a selection of fine Middle Eastern staples like falafel and hummus—try the sun-dried tomato and basil, or the roasted red pepper and cumin—while also enjoying a great New York sub piled high with Cappicola? “Anything can happen at the Holy Land,” laughs owner Walter Ajlouny, who spent 30 years in Long Island before coming to Knoxville five years ago. Holy Land sits in the heart of Knoxville’s international student community among the collection of restaurants and small groceries that have sprung up to cater to it. He and his wife Denise say the reason they’ve won Best Foreign Foods Grocery three years in a row is their hospitality, which feels genuine. “We don’t want you buying anything that you don’t like, you know?” Walter says, as he hands out samples. To first-timers Walter recommends trying a falafel or Reuben from the menu and that they take home some of his wife’s curry chicken salad or hummus. “She’s the hummus queen,” Walter says, smiling. “We’re going to have a hummus pageant.” Come fall, look for her Pumpkin hummus.