OUT to LUNCH: Save room for dessert when you visit Carter’s Restaurant

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By Bethel Poston

Because we have always enjoyed the food, this is the third time I have written an “Out To Lunch” article about eating at this Ten Mile location.

It was called the Stone Cottage Inn in my June 2008 article. I wrote about it again in Oct. 2010, when it was the Pizza Factory.

It became Carter’s Restaurant, sometimes referred to as Carter’s Pizza Subs & Grill, in February 2011. This is the restaurant of our most recent adventure.

Head south on Hwy. 58 from Kingston and take a right on River Road (Hwy. 304). Enjoy a scenic ride going toward Watts Bar Dam before you get to Carter’s, in Meigs County on the left just past the dollar store and by a miniature golf course.

My wife, Carol, and I were encouraged to visit Carter’s by one of my restaurant scouts, Darlene Brandel, as well as comments from others who recently enjoyed their food.

Danny and Patsy Carter own and operate Carter’s Restaurant.

Several years ago they owned Twister’s, across the highway from Carter’s.

They are also known for the gospel group they formed in the 1980s.

Part of the road we traveled to Ten Mile is named after Danny’s grandfather, William “Dot” Carter. Dot was responsible for a lot of the business development in Ten Mile.

I visited with Patsy when she managed Stone Cottage Inn and when she helped Spiro Angelos with the Pizza Factory.

When I discovered our new friends, Nancy and Dick Maynard, live South of the River, I suggested they join us for this “Out to Lunch” adventure.

We recently met the Maynards at Kingston’s Foust Fitness Center, recently named Business of the Year by the Roane County Chamber of Commerce.

Dick is a semi-retired engineer, who is a consultant for the city of Kingston to relocate the city hall to the former Kingston Medical Plaza at Ladd Landing.

He also was the engineer for the remodeled pavilion at the Kingston City Park and the construction and remodeling of Bethel Presbyterian Church.

Nancy had eaten at Carter’s before and did a good job this visit on her fish sandwich with lettuce, tomato, tasty tartar sauce and a pickle spear on the side.

Dick went for the grilled chicken over a freshly made house salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and other items that I didn’t ask about.

Carol’s taco salad looked appealing, with its large, freshly baked, shell bowl filled with greens, tomatoes, green peppers and topped with homemade chili.

My eyes kept going back to the 9-inch subs on the menu. I selected ham, turkey, lettuce, tomato, cheese and mayo on a toasted bun. I passed on the options of grilled chicken, chicken salad, onions, jalapenos, banana peppers, green peppers, black olives and mustard.

After devouring half of my sub, I thought about taking the other half home for a later snack.

I even cut off a little of the remaining half for an additional taste, still planning to take some home.

I was dipping it in honey mustard dressing, and it was so good I couldn’t resist consuming all of it.

I wouldn’t have finished it had I remembered the tempting dessert of an old-fashioned apple dumpling with hand-dipped ice cream.

We placed our order at the counter, and our food was delivered to our table. Maybe on my next visit, I’ll include dessert when I order my meal.

Our server, Jennifer Owens, lives is Ten Mile and has worked at Carter’s for two years.

Other dessert temptations were blackberry cobbler, Joyce Reed’s homemade coconut cake (among other cakes), hot fudge cake and soft-serve ice cream.

Seated near our table were three generations of the Wattenbarger family. Frances Wattenbarger has lived in the Ten Mile area since 1982. On her first trip to Carter’s, she had a cheeseburger and curly fries.

Daughter-in-law Natocha Wattenbarger, a Carter’s regular, also enjoyed a cheeseburger.

“We do a bunch of take-outs, usually on Wednesday when you can buy a pizza and get the second at half price, ” she said.

On this visit, she was taking home a pizza for her husband, Keith.

We saw a steady stream of folks coming in to pickup their carry-out orders.

From the kids menu, almost-5-year-old Gracie Wattenbarger had the two-piece chicken strips with fries and small drink. I asked if she was married.

“Not yet, but I’m looking,” she answered.

“Our hamburgers are very popular,” Patsy said, “because we hand-pat fresh hamburger every day for the burgers.”

Nearby TVA Watts Bar Dam employees Keith Dietrich and Alison Wiginton must have heard about the good reports on Carter’s burgers.

“Sometimes I have the grilled chicken salad,” said Alison, a repeat customer, “but today wanted a cheeseburger with onion rings.”

On his first visit, Keith also ordered a cheeseburger, but with curly fries.

Known for their pizzas, Carter’s offers a 7-, 12- or 16-inch size.

The Carter Supreme has pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, ham, green peppers, red onions, mushrooms and black olives.

There’s even a chicken pizza with barbecue sauce.

The Carters added a grill and deep fryers when they opened Carter’s.

Patsy told me country cooking, particularly on Sundays, is very popular with customers.

“Our best-seller is probably the two-piece boneless chicken breast,” she said. “The homemade meatloaf and chicken and dumplings are also very popular.”

The dinner menu has 8- and 12-ounce fresh cut Angus ribeyes, hand-breaded chicken livers, chicken Parmesan with spaghetti, fried shrimp and pork tenderloin.

“We make our potato salad, slaw, chicken salad, chili and other items on site,” Patsy added, “and hand bread our chicken.”

Carol later told me that she was tempted to order a vegetable plate just so she could try the fried cauliflower.

Other vegetable selections are macaroni salad, mashed potatoes, green beans, okra, corn, cooked apples and baked potato.

Some might be interested in a bowl of pinto beans and cornbread.

The sandwich menu has an 8-ounce chopped sirloin with cheese and sautéed onions, country-fried steak, chicken strip, BLT, grilled cheese and — one of my favorites — a hot dog with chili, slaw, cheese, onions, relish and mustard.

An assortment of fountain drinks and coffee are available. Visit www.cartersrestaurant.net, or call (423) 334-3300 for a complete menu and Sunday specials.

Carter’s Restaurant can seat 114 people. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

“Some folks do not know that when our front parking area is full, that there is plenty of room to park behind the restaurant, in the campground area,” Patsy said, “It’s usually during our Friday evening fish special.”

Before this article is published, North Meigs County Elementary School will have had its annual field trip to Carter’s Restaurant for lunch and time on Carter’s Putt-Putt miniature golf course next door.

Also scheduled is a future wedding rehearsal dinner for 32 people.
I’m still thinking about missing out on dessert.
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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.