Winner: Best Breakfast, Best Biscuits
Runner-Up: Best Meat & Three
What does it mean to you to win Best of Knoxville?
Everything. The fact that people took the time to vote and that they appreciate the quality and consistency of our food. I really appreciate the votes and overall support of Knoxville.
How have the people in Knoxville helped strengthen your business over the years?
Definitely their loyalty. After we moved locations I was worried we would lose business, but we had some of the same people still come three-four days a week. Also, having Bill Haslam choose to open and close his gubernatorial campaign with a Pete’s meal meant a lot to us.
What do you like about running your business in downtown Knoxville?
Easy. The time difference. When I was a boy my father ran a restaurant called the Copper Kettle from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight. What I like about running Pete’s in downtown Knoxville is that I close at 3 p.m. and still have plenty of family time. I am able to go watch my boys play sports, which my father never had a chance to do for me. Running a business is like nurturing a child. You have to clean it, take care of it, and put it on its feet.
How has the business changed in the 25 years that your family has been operating it?
There really hasn’t been much change other than an increase in business every year. There really hasn’t been a need to change anything. I like to stick with the three C’s: Consistency, Cleanliness, and Courtesy. The businesses around Pete’s and the area in general has changed a lot, though.
What is your favorite or the most popular breakfast at Pete’s?
Our most popular is definitely the Pete’s Breakfast special, which is two eggs, bacon or sausage, home fries, and biscuits and gravy or toast. My favorite isn’t on the menu—I sometimes just scramble some eggs and throw in a lot of my favorite ingredients like sausage and tomatoes.
What makes Pete’s biscuits a favorite for Knoxvillians? Is there a family secret?
There really isn’t a secret recipe or anything like that, people just like the size of ours (big enough to hold a 3-ounce sausage patty), and that they are soft in the middle, golden brown and a little crispy on the outside.
What is it about Knoxville that inspires you?
I like the size of Knoxville the most. It’s not too small to where you can still get culture and diversity. It’s also not too big to where I have to drive 45 minutes to work. It’s the perfect size to raise children, and the people here are nice. It’s changed a lot since 1972, but after moving away for a few years after school, I realized that Knoxville was the place for me, so I moved back and started my family. In five years there is a strong chance my son Joey, who just graduated from UT, will take over for me.