OUT TO LUNCH: ’Tis the season for tastebud-tempting Tellico Village eateries

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By Bethel Poston

Today’s article highlights two experiences in Tellico Village.
From Roane County, we traveled east on Interstate 40 and exited on Hwy. 421, going through Lenoir City. After crossing Fort Loudoun Dam, we hung a right on Hwy. 444 going toward Tellico Village.
My wife, Carol, and I enjoyed an “Out To Lunch” visit last August at the Tellico Village Yacht Club.
When you get on Hwy. 444 (Tellico Parkway), go about 6.5 miles and turn left, going to the Yacht Club at 100 Sequoyah Road.
Invited were Jay and Jackie Searcy, and Carlos and Evelyn Brooks.
Carlos and I were teammates on the Oak Ridge High School basketball and football teams. Jay had recently published his book, “The Last Reunion,” about the Oak Ridge class of 1952.

It turned out Jay and Evelyn had other commitments, so we occupied a table for four.
As we left, I discovered our August visit was on the last day the Yacht Club served lunch for the season. I delayed this article until after it reopened this season, on May 8.
The Yacht Club’s Blue Heron Restaurant offers “casual upscale dining,” with a beautiful view overlooking Tellico Lake.
Jackie, the first to order, went for a light lunch of the soup of the day —  a cup of cream of triple mushroom soup.
Carlos selected a half serving of the summer veggie lasagna of seasonal vegetables, noodles, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and served with a rich tomato sauce.
He also had a house salad of fresh mixed greens, Roma tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers.
Carol ordered a half serving of Beijing beef noodles, which included beef tips, button mushrooms, broccoli and carrots in a glaze of light soy sauce and garlic.
I thoroughly enjoyed my Greek chicken salad sandwich on a Kaiser bun with lettuce, tomato and pickles. I passed on onions. I also ate all my fries.
Chef and general manager Warren Rennick says lunch specials not on the menu, vary daily, with pasta dishes being the most popular.
“The Tellico Village Signature handmade char-broiled black Angus Swiss burger is the most-ordered menu item,” he said.
John Cherry heads up public relations for the Tellico Village Property Owners Association. He was having his favorite lunch, a French dip sandwich of thinly sliced beef and Swiss cheese on a hoagie roll, with a side of au jus.
I don’t know if his fruit cup was a dessert or side dish.
The lunch menu offers a variety of appetizers, salads, pastas and sandwiches.
The Italian BLT croissant caught my eye because it’s made with Genoa salami bacon and a red pepper aioli with the standard lettuce and tomato.

The Blue Herron is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. A Sunday brunch is on the patio, weather permitting. Call 865-458-4363 for more information.
When I decided to delay writing the Yacht Club article, I had no idea that our son, Barry, and his wife, Judy, would buy and move into a home in Tellico Village.
They called last week to invite us to the nearby Tanasi Clubhouse Café to eat with them, our granddaughter and three great-granddaughters.
How could we refuse an offer like that?
We knew the way, but MapQuest says it’s 30 miles from our house, with 36 minutes’ driving time. After getting on Hwy. 444 (Tellico Parkway) it’s about 5 miles on the left.
Tanasi Café, 450 Clubhouse Point, overlooks Tellico Lake, the marina and Tanasi golf course.
You can view this panoramic scene either inside through a huge wall of plate-glass windows, or outside on the veranda.
Barry doesn’t play golf — yet. One of the Tanasi golf greens is in his back yard.
The evening of our visit was “burger night.” When I saw the menu, I knew Barry would order the Hawaiian Burger (he likes pineapple). It includes an 8-ounce patty, ham, Provolone cheese and pineapple, spiced with honey mustard dressing and served with Tanasi fries.
Judy ordered from the “mini meals” menu, choosing the Shrimp KaBoom of fried breaded shrimp and topped with spicy “Boom Boom” sauce.
She substituted fries for the regular side of cole slaw.
Other side options were smashed potatoes, rice pilaf, vegetable medley, fresh fruit, fried potato chips or side salad.

Our granddaughter, Stephanie, chose the Chicken Hawaiian (she takes after her dad). It’s a grilled chicken breast topped with ham, Swiss cheese, grilled pineapple and honey Dijon sauce.
She had roasted sweet potatoes and a garden salad as her sides.
Great-grandaughter, Hannah, tells everyone she is 6 3/4 years old. She had fried chicken strips with fries from the children’s menu. She asked for honey mustard dressing for dipping and cleaned her plate.
Her 4-year-old sister, Gretchen, had a cheeseburger about the size of a silver dollar, with fries.
The girls had been swimming in the Village indoor pool, and Gretchen was too tired to eat all of her burger. She did good on the fries.
I tried to slip Nova, their almost 1-year-old sister, one of their fries. Stephanie vetoed that.
We still have Hannah and Gretchen’s crayon-colored cartoon scene from the bottom of the children’s menu. The Café provided the crayons.

Carol really likes shrimp and went for the shrimp skewer. The skewered shrimp was seasoned, grilled and served on a bed of sautéed spinach, garlic and mushroom ragout. Her side was a rice pilaf.
Did you notice that everybody ordered something different to make my article more interesting? It happened without my prompting.
Being last to order, I had the half-club combo. My half sandwich was on toasted wheat berry bread, stuffed with ham, turkey, bacon, American and Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo.
Passing on a salad as part of my combo, I enjoyed a bowl of the soup of the day, clam chowder.
I was almost full after the chowder. When I finished the half-sandwich, had no room to consider desserts. No one in our group even mentioned dessert.
Manager Kristy Ruff, who has been at Tanasi Café for 11 years, was our server.
Tanasi’s extensive menu offers breakfast, lunch and dinner selections. There’s a full page of salads, Tanasi Specialties, pasta dishes and chef’s specialties.
The “Mini Meals” section includes blackened steak bites, chopped sirloin, stuffed flounder, Philly dog, club wrap, fried tilapia, Italian sausage sub, fried catfish, barbecue pork sandwich, ultimate nachos, English tuna wrap and smoked turkey wrap.

Dinner specials served after 4 p.m. are almond-crusted grouper on Monday; Burger Night on Tuesday; manager’s choice on Wednesday (meatloaf on the week of our visit); Steak Night on Thursday; fish fry on Friday; Pasta Night on Saturday; and Southern style on Sunday.
I brought a menu home and am thinking about my next visit to Tanasi Café.
Liver and onions is not for me, but I’m tempted by the Italian pasta pie with penne noodles, topped with marinara sauce, black olives, Italian sausage, pepperoni and Mozzarella cheese.
Gotta save room for dessert, such as blackberry cobbler, cheesecake or strawberry shortcake – all à la mode.
Then again, Barry might call about another restaurant in Tellico Village.
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Bethel Poston is a Roane County businessman and entrepreneur who writes about places of interest in our area. E-mail suggestions and comments to postonplace@bellsouth.net.