Out to Lunch: Chandler’s is good for lunch, or coffee and dessert

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By Bethel Poston

In June five years ago, I wrote, “It’s time to again go ‘Out to Lunch’ on the water. We even traveled by water on our visit to Papa Joe’s On the Water restaurant, at Euchee Marina.”

In June three years ago, we traveled by car to go “Out to Lunch” at Euchee Marina, but the restaurant was now Land’s End Southern Seafood and Steak.

This June, I asked our niece, Linda Norman, and her gentleman soul mate Kim Sitzler (boat captain), to again transport a group by water for an “Out to Lunch” adventure to Euchee Marina, to eat at the new restaurant, Chandler’s by the Lake.

Chandler’s opened in April 2013.

Linda and Kim dock their pontoon boat near their River Road home at Blue Springs Marina. My wife, Carol, and I, along with our son, Buddy, and his wife, Faye, met them there for the scenic and pleasant boat ride to Chandler’s.

Same location as our previous trips, but the buildings and grounds look brand new.

Third times the charm: Chandler’s by the Lake looks like a winner.

Chandler’s offers a unique setting with 180-degree views of beautiful Watts Barr Lake, from the dining room or outdoor patio seating.

As a student, co-owner Zachary Trew met his restaurant partner Richmond Flowers at Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky. Richmond was a culinary arts instructor at Sullivan, which is one of the top culinary schools in the nation.

Zach is the executive chef, and Richmond is the business manager and grill chef. The restaurant is named after Richmond’s daughter, Chandler.

On such a beautiful day, we sat on the outdoor patio. I only visited with other patio customers, which can seat 68 customers. The indoor dining area can handle 200.

Buddy and Faye shared a serving of the first item on the menu in the appetizer section: fried green tomatoes served with a bacon cheese sauce and andouille gravy.

Linda and Kim shared the second appetizer item: hand-cut pepper jack cheese wedges, deep-fried to a golden brown, with ranch dressing for dipping. I had to test my dipping ability – it was great and tasted good.

The third item in the menu appetizer section was Low Country shrimp with a hint of the Bayou and served on ice.

I knew Carol wouldn’t pass on the appetizer shrimp for her entrée, plus she added a fresh garden salad with ranch dressing.

Buddy and Faye each had breaded fried grouper fingers, with sides of down-home fried okra and Chandler’s peppered cole slaw.

Linda chose Cajun grilled chicken served with sawmill gravy and a side of okra.

Kim went for the farm-raised catfish, fried to perfection, with a side of fries.

One of the lunch specials was a hand-breaded fried grouper sandwich, which caught my attention. Mine had two stacked pieces of fish with lettuce and handmade remoulade sauce served on a large bun.

My crinkle-cut fries were flavored with a deluxe seasoning salt and an in-house rustic rub, giving them a Cajun flavor. I thought they were sprinkled with paprika.

I did a good job on the sandwich but couldn’t get anyone to help me on the large and tasty serving of fries.

“It’s all made right here, using the freshest ingredients,” said Melissa Morris, Chef Zack’s mother. “From the hand-breaded fried green tomatoes to our famous greasy pig burger, one of our top sellers. Our catfish and shrimp are fresh from the Gulf Coast.”

The menu says, “If you like burgers and bacon, the Greasy Pig is for you. We mix ground beef and bacon crumbles, and top it with more bacon. All burgers are served with crinkle-cut fries and condiments on the side.”

We also got to meet Zack’s sister, Holly, who is a Chandler’s server. Zack’s dad, Scott Trew, was seated at a table near us.

Marc and Karen Malone live in Ten Mile and are regular Chandler’s customers. Marc travels for a refrigeration storage company, and Karen is a retired music teacher who now teaches piano in her home.

They were sharing a large serving of Chandler’s hot wings in a special sauce. It was the fourth item of the appetizer list.

“The wings are very, very good,” Karen said. “We had catfish on our last visit.”

I visited with a group of four at the far end of the patio from where we sat.

Debbie Givens lives in Harriman and works at the Midtown Elementary School Cafeteria. She shared her Big West Coast Grill Salad with her daughter, Whittney James.

She passed on a choice of shrimp and selected grilled chicken with shredded cheese, spicy pecans, Craisins, Mandarin orange tomatoes, cucumbers and seasonal lettuce.

Whittney is a nurse at University of Tennessee Hospital in Knoxville. She also had the large order of fries, like I had. Maybe she shared some fries with her mom.

Eric Givens works for CSX Railroad Transportation. On his third visit to Chandler’s, he had a pulled pork barbecue sandwich with fries and a garden salad.

His friend, Sirena Klopfenstein, is a student at Tennessee College of Applied Technology. On her first visit to Chandler’s, she chose the last item on the appetizer menu list: chicken tenders in a signature chipotle sauce, plus a garden salad.

Readers may remember my previous comments about the size of my servings, and needing a carry-out box for leftovers. Maybe I should be ordering from the appetizer section.

This adventure was a late lunch, early evening, adventure. We docked about 3:45 p.m., and had the options of lunch specials and the evening menu.

A complimentary platter of biscuits, cornbread and apple butter is served to your table for evening meals.

Some of the tempting entrées on the menu were Alaskan snow crab legs cooked in Chandler’s down-home crab boil and served with melted butter; Idaho trout, butterflied and boneless, prepared either grilled or fried; a grilled, aged Angus 8-ounce ribeye steak; and Gulf shrimp served atop roasted red pepper grits, with fried green tomatoes.

All entrées come with your choice of two sides. Sides are pan-seared Brussel sprouts, country green beans, cream corn, Mandarin oranges, fried okra, roasted carrots, peppered cole slaw and creamy mashed potatoes.

Chandler’s by the Lake’s summer hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday to Sunday, with a buffet breakfast on Sunday starting at 7 a.m. It’s closed Mondays.

For boaters, Euchee is at mile marker 540.5, seven miles north of Watts Bar Dam. From Kingston, take Hwy. 58 south, go right on River Road (Hwy. 304), and it about 15 miles on the right.

For more information, check www.chandlersbythelake.com, or call 423-334-4343.

Standard beverages are available, plus domestic and imported beer. Customers are invited to bring their own wine.

Buddy, Faye, Linda and Kim all had the customer favorite dessert, the Lodge Skillet Brownie with two scoops of ice cream. I heard several “oohs” and “aahs.”

Our server Samantha “Sam” Starr, who lives in the Ten Mile area, got my attention when she told us another house special dessert was Zack’s special recipe bread pudding. Bread pudding is one of my favorite desserts.

I shared some bread pudding with Linda and took home a tasty portion for a later snack.

I’d go back just for the bread pudding and a cup of coffee.

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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.