The county seat of Blount County, Maryville sits on the doorstep of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Originally a Cherokee village, Maryville has been expanding from the end of the 18th century. There are plenty of good restaurants in the city serving everything from Mexican and contemporary Southern food to classic BBQ style. Here are 10 of the best.
Foothills Milling Company might not sound like a restaurant, but is considered by many as the best place for food in Maryville. Family-owned and run, Foothills boasts an elegant dining room and a menu packed with contemporary Southern cuisine. It’s the ideal spot for special occasions. On the menu are appetizers including goats’ cheese tart with caramelised onions, Gulf oysters with green onion remoulade, and quail with bacon and tabasco grits. And for entrées take your pick from venison with horseradish spätzle, lobster tails with jasmine rice and aioli, and hickory smoked pork shoulder with polenta cake.
Opened in October 2010, the Vienna Coffee House aims to be the leading neighbourhood coffee house in the whole of Maryville, and given their success so far it seems they’re doing pretty well. Located on College Street in central Maryville, the Coffee House serves up freshly roasted brews, speciality teas, chai and lots of cakes and bites made in-store. Choose from mocha, latte, cappuccino, Americano, frappe, and iced lattes or opt for a freshly made smoothie. As for food, you can get anything from cinnamon rolls, pies, brownies, pastries, scones, quiche, bagels, oatmeal, yoghurt and sandwiches.
Chef Rocky is Jamaican born and bred and serves up what’s been described as the best Caribbean cuisine in East Tennessee at the Jamaica Sunrise. He has 25 years of experience perfecting the spice combinations that go into his recipe for jerk sauce. On the menu at the Jamaica Sunrise are classics like jerk pork, jerk chicken and stacks of ribs, oxtail soup and goat curry and patties with sides of baked beans, fried plantains, macaroni and cheese, red beans and rice. And the drinks are Jamaican too, so you wash down your serving of ribs with refreshing ginger beer, Ting, and kola champagne.
Lemon Grass opened up in 2002 serving up Thai and Japanese sushi cuisine. The sushi chef hails from Japan so expect an authentic taste of East Asia. The Thai dishes come in three different levels of intensity, from mild up to medium and hot. The Thai dishes are made up with spices and herbs like lemon grass, coriander, and galanga. Among the Thai classics available are pork, chicken, beef and duck curries with jasmine rice. And if you fancy sushi there are tuna, salmon, or crab meat rolls, or sashimi combination plates.
Full Service BBQ was opened up in Maryville in 2007 by chef Anthony DiFranco III. He took over and transformed what had been an old gas station and turned it into a drive-through serving up BBQ cuisine. The Maryville Full Service BBQ has been so successful that they’ve been able to open up another branch in Knoxville. On the menu are BBQ classics like barbecued pork, chicken sandwiches with pickles, onions and sauce, brisket sandwiches and peppers and onions, BBQ nachos, smoky sausages, and hickory rib racks. All are served with beans, coleslaw, and potato salad.
In downtown Maryville, Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria is the place to go for craft beers, live music and good pub grub. The beers are brought in from craft breweries as well as the major providers, and you can sample the likes of Brooklyn Brown Ale, Cottonwood Endo IPA, Highland Gaelic Ale, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale as well as Guinness and Bud. And for food to keep you well nourished while sampling the beers there are dishes of small bites like chilli cheese fries, chips and salsa, smoked sausage and pimento, or larger plates of shrimp and grits, spanakopita, or one of the over 15 pizzas.
Named after the ‘Tail of the Dragon’ road that runs away to the south down Calderwood Highway, the Dragon Pitt Inn and BBQ lies on the road out of Maryville in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains close to the Little Tennessee River. You can get a room to stay and enjoy the scenery and local area or just enjoy some barbecue cuisine. All the food is smoked at the Pitt and is served up with homemade BBQ sauce, with signature dishes like pulled pork, steak burgers or grilled chicken sandwiches.
The origins of the Aroma Café go back to the Cuban community in Miami, from where the owners came to Maryville and set up the café to serve up Cuban cuisine, including their now famous Cuban sandwich. You can pick up food from the café if you order in advance or sit down to eat. The menu has a Fullness Factor built in so you can match the dish to how hungry you’re feeling. The Cuban Sandwich is made with pork, ham, cheese, mayo, pickles, and potato stix, but you can get grilled chicken or steak ones too, washed down with authentic Cuban coffee or soda.
Los Amigos has now been serving up some of the very best Mexican cuisine in East Tennessee for over 20 years. The owners Hector and Gloria Gomez hail from Guadalajara originally and have been providing authentic Mexican cuisine since 1988. The restaurant has been featured in the local press and broadcast media several times, with an award for the Best Mexican in the Region from Knoxville’s WATE-TV. On the menu are tempting dishes including lobster Puerto Nuevo, chilli Verde steak, shrimp rancheros, ahi-tuna salad, baked tilapia, mahi mahi cooked à la Mexicana and Mexican classics like fajitas and nachos.
In a historic building in downtown Maryville built over a century ago as a private house, the Grinder and Grains is a family-run and owned café that provides fresh, healthy food. The owners are originally from Wisconsin and subscribe to a food philosophy that they call ‘American Healthy Eclectic Cuisine’ – everything is prepped in-house with fresh produce. You can get sandwiches, wraps, flatbreads, pizza, salads, and gourmet soups at the G&G, with the menu changing every day to keep pace with the best available produce. The signature sandwich is the Grinder Club – packed with smoked turkey, baked ham, bacon, provolone cheese, tomato, and avocado spread.