Best of Knoxville 2009 » Best: Food and Drink

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  • Best Bartender: Jeff White (Naples) Published 4/30/2009 at 1:19 a.m. 0 comments

    Jeff White says he’s learned a lot about higher-end wines in his five years as bartender at Naples, but he’s still able to appreciate a wide range of spirits.

  • Best Neighborhood Bar/Pub: Preservation Pub Published 4/30/2009 at 1:16 a.m. 0 comments

    The Preservation Pub proves that if your neighborhood is downtown, you’re at an advantage. But downtown, which offers more bars per city block than anywhere in East Tennessee, is also the toughest competition. The Market Square stalwart is an old-fashioned ...

  • Best Beer Selection: Barley’s Taproom & Pizzeria Published 4/30/2009 at 1:13 a.m. 0 comments

    In terms of selection, Barley’s obliterates the competition with sheer mathematics. Unless you’re brewing it yourself, there’s hardly any good beer you can find elsewhere but not at Barley’s. Even we haven’t tried them all. Maybe it’s what you’d expect ...

  • Best Appetizers: La Costa Published 4/30/2009 at 1:11 a.m. 0 comments

    The menu from the always-ingenious chef Anthony Fowler (who earned his chops at Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts) may not be quite as close to Southern/Latino fusion as its Gregg White-owned forerunner, but it’s very fine fare, creative ...

  • Best Mexican & Best Cheap Meal: Señor Taco Published 4/30/2009 at 1:09 a.m. 0 comments

    Be honest. If you’d never been to Knoxville, and were driving off Interstate 640 for the first time, would you be tempted by a sign with a sombrero-wearing, mustachioed taco—a place in front of a bowling alley parking lot? A ...

  • Best Italian & Best Service: Naples Published 4/30/2009 at 1:06 a.m. 0 comments

    Tucked in a cozy little building in Bearden for almost 30 years, Naples is too comfortable to count as fine dining and too good to count as just a local Italian restaurant. The food’s traditional but inventive; you could stick ...

  • Best Meat and Three: Chandler’s Published 4/30/2009 at 1:03 a.m. 0 comments

    Actually, the winner by a long shot is an atypical meat-and-three with a further specialty. Chandler’s is on Magnolia Avenue, not far from Chilhowee Park, and calls itself a deli, but it’s actually a top-rung soul-food cafeteria. The meat tends ...

  • Best Sushi: Nama Sushi Bar Published 4/30/2009 at 12:55 a.m. 0 comments

    Nama, the upscale sushi place which opened its original place on a then-iffy block of Gay Street about five years ago, introduced the high-concept sushi bar to Knoxville. We’d had good sushi before, but Nama took it to another level, ...

  • Best Seafood: Chesapeake’s Published 4/30/2009 at 12:53 a.m. 0 comments

    It’s nice to see an old friend still doing well. One of the Copper Cellar restaurants, Chesapeake’s has lost none of its charm since its just-in-time-for-the-World’s-Fair 1982 opening, and only grew more polished with a facelift in 1993. The dining ...

  • Best Ribs & Best Barbecue: Calhoun’s Published 4/30/2009 at 12:51 a.m. 0 comments

    Smells great when the neighbors are barbecuing, and Calhoun’s tantalizing aroma has been wafting over Kingston Pike for 26 years now (and Vol Landing at Calhoun’s on the River almost as long). The nice thing is, you don’t have to ...

  • Best Deli: Nixon’s Deli Published 4/30/2009 at 12:47 a.m. 0 comments

    The steamed hoagie is an endangered species. Its native habitat—campus delis—is disappearing. Within a generation or two, the sublime pleasure of a ham and salami sandwich on a dark roll with swiss cheese, all melted together under the unmistakable hiss ...

  • Best Bakery & Best Cupcakes: Magpies Cakes Published 4/30/2009 at 12:45 a.m. 0 comments

    Yes, Magpies’ cakes and cupcakes and wedding cakes are divine. They are rich and sweet and beautiful and full of wonderful surprises. The large new kitchen on Central Street is a modern marvel and a feast for the senses; bright ...

  • Best Coffeehouse: Old City Java Published 4/30/2009 at 12:41 a.m. 2 comments

    Knoxville’s oldest coffee house of the coffee-house era was the runaway winner in this category, as it has more than once before. It has gone through several ownerships over the years, but somehow has kept the same atmosphere, with the ...

  • Best Breakfast: Pete’s Coffee Shop Published 4/30/2009 at 12:38 a.m. 0 comments

    For a very quick egg-over-easy with bacon and grits, or biscuits and sawmill gravy, or just a bowl of cereal and some coffee, Pete’s is very hard to beat. Forget Wi-Fi—Pete’s doesn’t have it. They don’t even accept credit cards.

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