Downtown Knoxville Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Party Dishes

Family feuds, Black Friday shopping, and the Vols’ quest for championship gold. You have enough to worry about this Thanksgiving before you turn on the oven.

Fortunately, downtown Knoxville has plenty of restaurants offering sweet and savory dishes that can make you the talk of Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving. Whether you tell your family the food was store-bought or homemade, the choice is up to you.

Something to get the party started from Southern Grit and Yassin’s

Pimento Cheese Dip ($9) – South | Sand

It is a Wilusz family tradition that holiday meals are preceded by cream cheese topped with pepper jelly and with crackers on the side for dipping. But for a true southern spread, Southern | Grit goes with pimento cheese instead.

Southern Grit has become an Old City favorite at 126 S. Central St.

Located in the Old City, South | Grit also has a wide selection of southern dishes fit for a Knoxville feast (in case the pimento cheese doesn’t hit the spot). Fried green tomatoes, fried okra, hush puppies, and buffalo chicken dip are also on the menu.

Address: 126 S. Central St.

Baba ganoush with pita ($5.95) – Yassin’s Falafel House

It seems hummus gets all the love these days when it comes to Mediterranean dips. But the eggplant-based baba ganoush deserves to share the spotlight, especially at Yassin’s Falafel House.

A lunchtime line begins to form at Yassin's Falafel House in downtown Knoxville on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018.

Of course, hummus is also excellent, so choose which sauce is best for you. Be sure to get extra pita for $1.10; everyone will want a bite.

Address: 706 Walnut St.

Smoked Guacamole ($12) – Vida

Sure, you can find cheaper guacamole in town. Heck, all you need is some avocado, tomato, onion, and spices to make it yourself at home. But Vida takes the guacamole game to the next level by smoking up the delicious sauce, which includes pickled shishito peppers.

Comedor de Vida, a pan-Latin restaurant inside the Holston Building on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville, is photographed on Thursday, January 7, 2021.

If you’re more in the mood for cheese, I suggest you head over to Chivo Taqueria, where cheesy delight awaits for only $8.

Life Address: 531 S. Gay St.

Tempered Castelvetrano Olives ($4) – Emilia

Some people are strong in their mistaken belief that they don’t like olives. But that’s like saying you don’t like seafood after only trying shrimp cocktail. Just ask Bubba, there are many different types.

Emilia, located at Market Square 16, offers hot Castelvetrano olives that can be a great addition to your Thanksgiving feast.

These aren’t the black olives you put on Subway sandwiches or Petro bowls (more on that later). These are flavored special, with Calabrian chili, garlic and thyme, and will heat up the party before diving into the main course.

Address: Market Square 16

Some Side Tupelo Honey, Oakwood BBQ, Stock & Barrel

Buttermilk Cookies ($4 for two) – Tupelo Honey

If you don’t like buttermilk biscuits, I’m guessing you don’t like sweet tea and you must not be a southerner. Okay, maybe Tupelo Honey can change your mind.

Tupelo Honey Cafe is in the southwest corner of Market Square in downtown Knoxville.

For those of you who love cookies, you’ll be happy to know that these cathead cookies are not only delicious, but they come with whipped butter and blueberry jam. Plus, proceeds go to help Tupelo Honey employees in need. Last year, Biscuits For a Cause awarded $300,000, according to its website.

Address: Market Square 1

Loaded Baked Potato Salad ($4 for a side to $15 for a quarter) –oak wood barbecue

This is no joke – I used to plan my days around where the Oakwood BBQ food truck was parked. Fortunately for me (and unfortunately for my wallet), the business now has a permanent location in the SouthSide Garage on Sevier Avenue.

Trevor Guydon is part owner of Oakwood BBQ.

I could write a whole story about the quality of the meats this mobile restaurant offers, but I think the star of the show is the loaded baked potato salad. It’s the best I’ve had in Knoxville, maybe ever, and I like to consider myself an expert on potato salad.

South Side Garage Address: 1014 Sevier Ave.

Duck Fat Fries ($7) – Stock & Barrel

It’s hard to screw up French fries, but certainly some French fries are better than others. Stock & Barrel’s duck fat fries take the cake (more on sweets in a bit).

Stock & Barrel in Market Square serves up duck fat fries that are worthy of your Friendsgiving dinner.

Don’t let the duck fat be a turn off. After all, you are eating turkey, right? Your mouth will water at your Thanksgiving gathering with the anticipation of this savory side dish with grated Parmesan, chives and garlic aioli.

Address: Market Square 35

Stuffed Grape Leaves ($10.95) – Mirage Knoxville

Mirage is something of a hidden gem in downtown Knoxville, located below Skybox Sports Bar and Grill.

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