Jun 5 2007
09:14 am

My father and a business associate will be passing through Knoxville this evening and staying downtown (let's assume the Holiday Inn). He asked for a recommendation on a steak house or other nice place to eat.

Considering I have sworn off eating out until my two year old decides that restaurants don't mean race track (I'm thinking 7) and when I forget and take us out anyway it means Chick Filet, IHOP, or McDonald's, I don't feel qualified to make a recommendation on downtown.

I assume The Butcher Shop and Chesapeake's are still going strong. Are there any treasures out there for consideration? If there was one restaurant and one sight to see downtown for an out-of-towner, what would they be?

R. Neal's picture

Regas downtown on Gay St.

Regas downtown on Gay St. Can't miss.

(If you want a good steak in a more casual "down home" atmosphere, a short drive out Chapman Highway to Ye Olde Steak House is a good bet, too. Don't expect anything fancy, though.)

Knoxville Museum of Art usually has something interesting going on.

If there's a show at the Tennessee Theatre, the restored venue is pretty amazing.

djuggler's picture

I'd forgotten about

I'd forgotten about Regas.

When I was in college, we did a fund raiser auctioning off the RAs (I was a Clement Hall RA). So I went down to Regas to see if they would sponsor us by giving away a dinner. For a brief moment, I felt like I'd been transported into a bad ripoff of Brewster's Millions for as I walked into Mr. Regas' office he sat there wrinkled and puffing on a cigar. He coughed at me sputtering, "Son, I'll give you something. I'll give you a lesson. That's I've never made anything by giving something away! Now go on." Those may not be the exact words. It was a brief, terse monologue. I left both stunned and somehow honored that he even took time to address me. The caricature of a curmudgeonly scroogeish businessman forever stuck in my mind for him but I liked him.

Ennui's picture

Butcher Shop is in serious

Butcher Shop is in serious decline. My two cents.

SnM's picture

Here's a partial list of

Here's a partial list of downtown restaurants. I excluded those I was pretty sure didn't do steaks, but I may have been wrong about some of them. I included ones I wasn't sure of -- and there may be some that have closed included too.

Bistro at the Bijou
807 S. Gay St.

Calhoun’s on the River
400 Neyland Dr.

Club LeConte
2700 Plaza Tower, 800 Gay St.

Downtown Grill and Brewery
424 S. Gay St.

Godfrey's Restaurant
Holiday Inn, 525 Henley St.

Gus’s Restaurant
37 Market Square

Hannah’s Café
102 S. Central Ave.

Hill Street Café
Knoxville Marriott
500 Hill Ave. SE

19 Market Square

La Costa
31 Market Square

501 Market St.

Crowne Plaza
401 W. Summit Hill Dr.

Manhattan’s Bistro
101 S. Central Ave.

Marty's Bistro
Hilton, 502 W. Church Street

Melting Pot
111 N. Central Ave.

New City Café
116 S. Central Ave.

Pasta Trio
119 S. Central Ave.

Patrick Sullivan’s
100 N. Central Ave.

Patrick Sullivan's Back Room Bar-B-Que
106 N. Central Ave.

Riverside Tavern
950 Volunteer Landing Ln.

428 S. Gay St.

Shono’s in the City
5 Market Square

The Market Cafe
Hilton, 502 W. Church Street

The Pub at Henley Square
Holiday Inn, 525 Henley St.

125 E. Jackson Ave.

Trio Cafe
13 Market Square

Urban Bar and Corner Café
109 N. Central Ave.

World Grotto
16 Market Square

R. Neal's picture

That's a handy list.

That's a handy list. Thanks!

Are any of those places steak houses that you can recommend?

Club LeConte is still private, right?

Regas isn't on the list?

I probably wouldn't recommend Calhouns for steak.

Not sure any of the other places are famous for their steaks, but I haven't been to most of them.

SnM's picture

Re: Regas isn't on the

Re: Regas isn't on the list?

I omitted places that had already been mentioned in the thread. I can't say which have good, bad, indifferent or steak at all, I'm afraid. (The full list is here: (link...))

I recall that somebody once told me that one of the hotel restaurants had fabulous steak, but I have no idea how long ago that may be. Ten years possibly.

cdthomas23's picture

Not far from downtown also

Not far from downtown also (on the strip) is Copper Cellar, which I really enjoy.

However, Regas has always had great steaks and Prime Rib.

Craig Thomas

rocketsquirrel's picture


hands down, fer steaks downtown, the original Regas.

Calhoun's on the river, IMO, has really gone down hill to the point where it's could be renamed NASCAR something or other. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...)

The bbq beef brisket at Back Room BBQ (which you can also order at Patrick Sullivans, since they share a kitchen) is awesome.

CBT's picture

Another vote for Regas. I

Another vote for Regas. I don't know which Mr. Regas you met with, most likely Bill or Gus. Both are nice men. I don't know if Gus is still involved in the restaurant since Connor Concepts took it over. I saw Bill last week at Regas and he passes through my door at church when he attends early service. A great family.

Copper Cellar on campus is very good also (downstairs in the 'cellar', not the Cumberland Grill on street level). It's less than a 5 min drive (or I suppose cab ride, though cabs in Knoxville ain't like in a big city as far as availablity).

Ye Olde Steakhouse is a Knoxville landmark. If travel is possible, it's only a short drive and a terrific choice for visitors.

Chesapeakes is very good, but for seafood not steaks.

For what you're looking for, I would mark off the hotel restaurants, bars/grills, BBQ places and various ethnic recommendations.


amy's picture

My last experience at Regas

My last experience at Regas guarantees I will never spend money there again. I enthusiastically recommend Pasta Trio. They almost always have a really good Filet on the menu and they do it very well. On those rare occasions they do not have a filet on the menu, the rest of the menu is awesome.

djuggler's picture

Wendy's roots are at Regas

Ha! Looks like Wendy's may have been influenced by Regas. In trying to figure out which Mr Regas I met I stumbled across this gem.

[Dave Thomas h]ired for his first restaurant job at The Regas Restaurant, Knoxville, in 1944 [Source]

And it was a young age!

Dave Thomas first became involved in the restaurant industry at the age of 12, when he got a job as a counterman at the Regas Restaurant in Knoxville. He was fired after a misunderstanding with his boss about his vacation and vowed to never in his life lose another job. [Source]

For CBT, I'm not sure which Mr Regas I met. It would have been around 1990 and I thought I read that he had died and his son's took over the family business but that is a hazy memory and I can't find anything to support it.

Btw, we ended up at Barley's with $2 drafts and pizza. We decided to walk the city and see what caught our fancy. We came very close to choosing Pasta Trio.

Doug McCaughan

cdthomas23's picture

Ha! Looks like Wendy's may

Ha! Looks like Wendy's may have been influenced by Regas.

Yep. His picture is actually up in Regas as you go in the door (or it was last time I was there.

Craig Thomas

djuggler's picture

"Craig Thomas" Any

"Craig Thomas" Any relation?

Doug McCaughan

Carole Borges's picture

Really good prime ribs...

I'm not sure of the name, but I like that little somewhat seedy-looking Italian restaurant on Kingston Pike (next door the Goodwill store that just moved). I had a prime rib there last week and it was tender, juicy, and delicious. I had my reservations about ordering it because I hate dry tough steak or ribs, but the waitress asked the chef and he said it would definitely be tender.

I'm not crazy about Ye Olde Steakhouse. I think it's overpriced. It's a crowded room with kind of a Cracker Barrel feeling. The bread was good, but the steak just so-so. The famous garlic potatoes didn't suit me either.

Calhoun food is never my first choice, but they usually have space with little waiting. I had an unexpected bounty of twelve friends and relatives show up last summer, and Calhoun's was the only place downtown that could accomodate us without reservations. The beer there is pretty fine and the patio-deck is a great deal as you can sit by the river and hear usually decent(sometimes very good)music.

I'm looking forward to trying Regas sometime.

smalc's picture

I'm not sure of the name,

I'm not sure of the name, but I like that little somewhat seedy-looking Italian restaurant on Kingston Pike (next door the Goodwill store that just moved).

That would be Naples. I never thought it seedy, just hasn't changed in a few decades.

Rachel's picture


Yup, I was there recently for the first time in a couple of years and it made me wonder why I'd stayed away so long. Good eatin.'

I've never had the steak at Pasta Trio, but I do love the restaurant.

And finally - someone who agrees with me about Regas - like Bean, I think it's overrated. BTW, I thought Riverside Tavern was overrated as well. I never ate more than a mediocre meal there.

Carole Borges's picture

Haha! Sorry Naples!

I guess seedy was put in there for folks who expect plate glass or a fauz-charming modern look ala the Olive Garden chain. Prsonally, I like the non-renovated older places. My apologies to the wonderful Naples.

Bbeanster's picture

Regas is overrated and only

Regas is overrated and only marginally successful these days. They've closed down at least twice over the past dozen years, and come back weaker each time.

Ennui's picture

Not a steakhouse, but if

Not a steakhouse, but if anyone gets a chance to eat at Trios in Market Square I would recommend it. The salads are very very good with many options, and the sandwiches and platters are very modest in price.

Bbeanster's picture

Trios has great food. Their

Trios has great food. Their bread is excellent, and everything I've had there is yummy. The funky, intimate atmosphere is kind of fun, but may not be for everybody. It can get a little close on a busy night.

Ennui's picture

Glad to hear there is

Glad to hear there is another good review Ms. Bean. If you haven't tried it yet(and have a pretty good appetite), sample the pan-seared chicken.

Bbeanster's picture

Dagnabbit! Another senior

Another senior moment.
I was actually talking about Past Trio.

Ennui's picture

Too late. You have to go now

Too late. You have to go now or I'll look like a jerk!

rocketsquirrel's picture


i'd have to disagree on Regas. we've been there twice in the last year or so, and each time, the service was stellar, the food excellent, and their homemade blueberry ice cream was unbelievable. dinner for three was around $60, plus wine and tip. not cheap, but not crazy expensive.

the atmosphere is worth the price of admission. you don't have to dress up, (you'll see everything from jeans and up) but it is so much more quiet and relaxed than many restaurants chaotic to and fro. may be a sign of my age, but we enjoy Regas very much.

Rachel's picture

Nothing to do with steak...

but since we're talking food, we just got back from our first visit to Mirage. We went with some friends who are not, shall we say, adventurous, when it comes to dining, and they were a bit skeptical. But we all came away stuffed and impressed. Every single thing we had, from appetizers to dessert, was yummy. The tab was around $60 for two and that included appetizer, wine, and dessert.

Next time we'll go later; the belly dancers go on at 10.

bizgrrl's picture

I will agree with you on

I will agree with you on Regas, rocketsquirrel. We also go about twice a year and I cannot remember when we were disappointed on any aspect of the experience. From the cheese while waiting to, for me, the red velvet cake for dessert.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is used to make sure you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.


TN Progressive

TN Politics

Knox TN Today

Local TV News

News Sentinel

State News

Local .GOV

State .GOV

Wire Reports

Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid/TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding. (Source)

Monthly archive