It seems like every month a new restaurant or bar opens up in Knoxville. No doubt, the surge in breweries and casual-upscale eateries brings lots of foot traffic into downtown Knox. At the risk of sounding too political, these new businesses are great for our city and local economy.
Plus, Chris and I love supporting local businesses and finding excuses to eat and drink. We enjoy trying different foods and tasting wine or beer. So, we spent last weekend doing just that.
During happy hour on Friday, we went to Balter Beerworks, a brewery/beer garden/restaurant that opened a few weeks ago. For those familiar with regional breweries, I’d compare it to Wicked Weed in Asheville, or Knoxville’s answer to Wicked Weed, anyway.
We ordered a beer each to start, then, ordered a flight ($8) because we were so impressed with the first two beers. I drank the James White Wit, and Chris got the Fourth and Pils. For the flight, we selected Good Neighbor, Fourth & Pils, Maypop, Jackson Abbey, Bear Blend and (8-6-Rye).
[Side note: Happy hour specials include $3 beers, $1 off wine and well drinks, and $1.50 starter tacos and sliders.]
For a late lunch, I ate the Street Tacos (4) with blackened fish and a side of fries. Chris had fish & chips. Both meals surpassed our expectations. The tacos were arguably some of the best I’ve had! All and all, we had a great experience at Balter and will definitely go back.
On Saturday, we took the pups to the dog park at Concord. Our dogs really like the idea of the dog park more than the actual park. They mostly keep to themselves, but the outing allowed Chris and I to enjoy a nice, afternoon walk.
Sunday morning before mass, we finally checked out Makers Donuts. Makers opened in January and has since drawn crowds in droves. It sits adjacent to Remedy Coffee, which operates under the same owners. As far as I know, Makers is the only local doughnut shop in Knoxville, which explains the hype surrounding it.
Makers only serves cake doughnuts, which aren’t my favorite, but I was willing to try them for the sake of supporting a local business.
[Side note 2: The selection changes daily, so check their Facebook page to see what flavors they offer. Also, Makers is only open Thurs. – Sun., 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until they sell out of donuts.]
Chris and I shared three doughnuts: Maple Bacon, Strawberry Cheesecake and Cider Mill. The doughnuts were light and fluffy, unlike other cake doughnuts I’ve had which were dense. Cider Mill was my favorite.
While the shop was nice, the doughnuts were small with subtle flavors and kind of pricey. It was more like well-made cake doughnuts with fancy toppings. We’ll probably only come back here if we have visitors in town. (Chris and I aren’t big sweets-eaters.)
We ate our doughnuts and ordered coffee at Remedy, next door. Then, we walked around Old Gray Cemetery across the street.
Moral of this lengthy story: if you visit Knoxville or live here already, head downtown for good food and drinks or explore parks in the surrounding area. Whatever you do, just get out and try new things!