OUT to LUNCH: It’s been a delicious year for ‘Out to Lunch’ meanderings

-A A +A

I wrote my first “Out to Lunch” article on Junior’s Restaurant of Rockwood in March 2008. I had meant to do highlights of some of each year’s unique adventures in January of the next year.

Today is my first highlight. It’s five years later, and this is February. It covers some enjoyable articles you might have missed in 2012. I invite you to email me at postonplace@bellsouth.net for more info on any of the following adventures.

I revisited Junior’s Restaurant last March to meet the new owners, Sam and Anne Seat. They have changed the menu, which offers a delicious pork tenderloin and pulled pork cooked behind the restaurant on a large barbecue smoker grill.

Junior’s is now open on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., a large selection of items on a “serve yourself” smorgasbord is available.

“Chicken-fried chicken is a fresh, non-frozen chicken breast, pounded to tenderize, breaded, fried to a golden brown and served topped with gravy that’s flavored with roasted chicken drippings,” Sam said.

“Thirty percent of our customers order this chicken.”

I ordered fried popcorn shrimp with a spicy dipping sauce and fries. Sam also brought me a serving of fried flounder and chicken-fried chicken to sample.

He didn’t know I was trying to save room for some bread pudding, made with leftover homemade rolls, raisins and flavored with Southern whiskey sauce.

From the Specials of the Day written on a board at the entry, Carol selected chicken and dumplings and added turnip greens to her order.
* * *
“Out to Lunch” readers know my wife, Carol, and I like to explore unique places for our lunch adventures. Miss Olivia’s Table in Maryville exceeded our expectations with good food and an enjoyable visit with Miss Olivia.

The restaurant, in a two-story house built in 1900, is surrounded by similar large restored homes in the historic district at 1108 W. Broadway. We kept comparing it to Adelaide’s at Pennybacker House on Third Street in Kingston.

Miss Olivia met us at the door and escorted us to our seats in an area that was once a screened porch. It’s now enclosed with glass windows for a pleasing view.

She told us Tuesday’s lunch special is a “cook’s choice.” It was a bowl of made-on-site chili and broccoli salad mixed with small apple slices, dried cranberries and toasted almonds.

It was a really cold day, so the chili really appealed to me. Silently, I hoped Carol didn’t want the “cook’s choice” special, because we try to order different items. I waited until she placed her order.

She selected half a sandwich, described on the menu as “thinly sliced roast beef, sliced cheddar cheese, Dijon mustard (she passed on mayonnaise), leaf lettuce and sliced tomato on lightly buttered and grilled sourdough bread.” It came with homemade potato chips, and she added a cup of made-on-site potato soup.

Other daily specials are Monday, chicken; Wednesday, meatloaf; Thursday, beef; and Friday, fried catfish with hushpuppies, slaw and potato chips.

Everything is made on site. We didn’t try the summer tea, mixed with sweet lemonade.

Miss Olivia said the most popular items are chicken croissant and Reuben sandwiches, and bread pudding.
* * *
Jacob Myers Restaurant is on the river at 185 Chickamauga Drive in Dayton. Go to www.jacobmyersrestaurant.com for a menu.

The extensive menu offers hot and cold gourmet sandwiches with specialties like the Elvis — peanut butter and bananas sandwich grilled in butter, Memphis style. There are also soups, salads, desserts, homemade milkshakes and a full espresso bar, with dressing and spreads made on site.

I was intrigued by the “baker’s dozen” sandwich, which the menu said had 13 ingredients: Black Forest ham, turkey, Italian roast beef, Genoa salami, Vermont yellow cheddar, Muenster, Swiss, French’s mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato and wild onion. It comes with chips and a pickle spear.
Carol selected a lunch combo of freshly prepared quiche made with tomatoes and onions.

“It has a bacon flavor,” she said, “although I can’t find any.”

She passed on soup as one of her side options, and enjoyed a small garden salad topped with made-on-site tarragon honey vinaigrette dressing.

As you enter the restaurant, a large glass case on the right displays a tremendous selection of desserts. Had I noticed it when we entered, I might have ordered dessert first.
* * *
The Shoreline Café is a mile north of the Meigs County Courthouse on Hwy. 58 at Irwin Lane, in a former two-story grocery store/apartment building.

Carol offered to share some of her fried shrimp, which was served with battered fries, coleslaw, and hush puppies. Shrimp are also available grilled or blackened.

She suggested I have the meatloaf platter, which came with a couple of sides and cornbread. I chose mashed potatoes and coleslaw instead of green beans, white beans, corn, okra or cabbage.
Other tempting entrée choices were country-fried steak, Southern-fried chicken, pork chops and chicken tenders.

I hit the jackpot with my selection. Not only was it “good home cooking,” but I think they brought me the entire meatloaf. My take-home box had enough meatloaf for a later meal for both of us.

The platter of fried catfish, served with battered fries, coleslaw and hushpuppies, is one the most-ordered item, followed by fried chicken and burgers.

Sandwiches available are chicken salad, grilled cheese, BLT, grilled or fried chicken, catfish and meatloaf.

Carol ordered a large slice of pecan cobbler for us to share. She did good.
* * *
Market House Restaurant of Oak Ridge is at 80 E. Tennessee Ave., which was a Texaco gas station when I grew up there. It has also been the previous site of the Blue Hound Restaurant and Jackson Square Bistro.

I thought Carol had ordered the Market House Salad with seasonal greens, sprouts, beets, carrots, cucumbers tomatoes, cheese, house-made croutons with house-made honey vinaigrette dressing.

I was surprised to see her served a square bowl of soup. The bowl, the size of a serving dish at our house, was filled with the soup-of-the-moment — chicken and rice.

Carol said she ordered a cup with her salad, so I had to help her. It was superb.

My Southwestern Caesar club wrap arrived in red tortilla flatbread on an oblong plate with squared corners. The fresh roasted turkey, Benton’s bacon, shaved Parmesan cheese and romaine lettuce was seasoned with house-made Caesar dressing. I chose sautéed cauliflower as my side.

I’m told one of the most-ordered items has been the signature sandwich of grilled apple, bacon and Brie cheese on a house-baked bun.

Another popular special of Mexican flavored beef chorizo sounded interesting. Go to www.themarkethouserestaurant.com for a menu.
* * *
I’ll continue the reviews in future “Out to Lunch” articles.
• • •
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.