Out to Lunch: Spring City Marina’s homemade chips have a crunch

-A A +A

By Bethel Poston
I asked Spring City resident and Harriman Fowler’s Furniture salesman Jerry Lyke about the restaurant at Spring City Marina.

“It’s almost across the street from my house,” he said. “My wife, Pam, and I enjoy walking down for lunch. We’ve tried a bunch of things, and they were all good.”

Jerry was the youth minister at Bethel Baptist Church in Spring City for several years. He now preaches at revivals. Cartoon character Snuffy Smith says preachers always know where good food is being served.

To get to the marina from Rockwood on Hwy. 27, turn left on New Lake Road at the traffic light in Spring City by the Shell gas station. The marina is about two miles on the left.

If you want to go by water I suggest you go to www.springcitymarina.com for directions and additional information — or call 877-365-5150.

Joining my wife, Carol, and me for this “Out To Lunch” adventure was our son, Buddy, and his wife, Faye. They have just moved back to West Knoxville from Kentucky.

When we arrived, it took me a moment to remember that we were at a boat dock and not some fancy restaurant at Turkey Creek in Knoxville.

Until leaving, we didn’t discover that for the dining area featured on the website, seating about 40, we should have entered at the door marked “Office.”

Parking is at each end of the restaurant. We found an almost-hidden side entrance that took us into a bar area that can seat about 40 people.

Carol wanted to eat on the outdoor patio with umbrella tables for about 60 people.

The patio is surrounded by large shade trees and overlooks the sand beach swimming area with a panoramic view of the many boats at the docks.

Buddy decided on the Boat Dock Burger, made with fresh (never frozen) ground beef, grilled and served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and onions.

Restaurant manager Stephen Best told me they hand-shape the hamburger patties from fresh ground beef purchased locally every day.

They also purchase fresh lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables on a daily basis.

Faye chose a summertime favorite — bacon, tomatoes and lettuce on grilled Texas toast.

So we would all have different selections, I waited until Carol made her choice.

I was pleased she didn’t decide on the Old-Fashioned Reuben of grilled corned beef served with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on grilled rye bread with made-in-house dressing, so I could order it.

All burgers and sandwiches are served with house-made fresh seasoned potato chips or regular chips.

We all went for the homemade chips. I did add salt to mine.

Carol’s choice was a salad of fresh salad greens topped with grilled chicken, Cheddar cheese, tomatoes, boiled eggs and ranch dressing.

When server Kristy Finley brought our orders to the table, we had to again remember we were at a boat dock, because the food presentation equaled a fancy restaurant at Turkey Creek.

Everybody but me cleaned their plates. I needed both hands to pick up and hold half of my Reuben, which could have easily been served as a complete sandwich. I gave Buddy half of my other half, which was large enough for him to share with Faye.

The menu also includes chef and house salads, homemade chili, and appetizers of potato skins, spinach queso dip, hot wings, chili cheese fries and a nacho platter.

As we ate, we enjoyed watching six youngsters playing in the sandy beach. They soon joined us on the patio, giving me an opportunity to visit with them.

Crossville business folks Skip and Lori Freitag have kept their boat, Knotty Lady, at the Spring City Marina for five years. Skip owns Freitag Construction and Lori owns Crossville Insurance Group.

They had just had a slumber party on the boat for their grandchildren and nieces.

Nieces Molly Jane Neal, age 3, and sister Morgan, age 5, were doing good jobs on grilled-cheese sandwiches and french fries from the kids menu.

Grandchildren Olivia Freitag, age 6, chose a hot dog with fries; sisters Reagan, age 7, and Keaton, age 9, had chicken tenders with french fries.

Twelve-year old niece, Sienna Howe, also had fried chicken tenders, but went for curly fries.

Skip chose the Boat Dock Burger, and Lori selected a hot ham-and-cheese sandwich.

The well-mannered young ladies passed on the only other kids menu item, a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.

Other menu items that I didn’t catch anyone eating were a popcorn shrimp basket, a catfish sandwich on a hoagie roll, a pepper jack cheeseburger and a chiliburger.

When I approached Randy and Susie Caudill at a nearby table, I was informed I had written about them in a previous “Out to Lunch” article. My later research revealed it was over two years ago at a restaurant in Harriman.

Randy and Susie retired a few years ago to live on Watts Bar Lake. They went on their boat with retired friends, Bill and Mac Lysett, who also live on the lake, during our visit.

Randy, Susie and Mac all were having the Old Fashioned Reuben. Bill ordered the French dip of shaved roast beef on a toasted hoagie roll, topped with melted cheese and served with a side of au jus.

Spring City Resort & Marina restaurant opens at 11:30 a.m. seven days a week until Nov. 1. After that date, it opens at 4 p.m. and is closed on Sundays until the following April.

Domestic, imported and draft beer, in addition to traditional beverages, are available.

Folks can enjoy live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. The hot-wing special on Wednesday night draws a large crowd.

Michael Woloszyn, a project manager at TVA Watts Bar, has kept his trailer across the lake in the Marina’s RV Park since January 2009. He is a regular customer at the restaurant and was having a mushroom bacon cheeseburger the day of our visit.

“I like everything I’ve had here, including shrimp basket, Reuben and the hot ham-and-cheese sandwich,” he said.

His lunch companion, Julie Kuhn, had a grilled boneless chicken sandwich, served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and mayo. She is an info tech at Fountainhead College and lives in Knoxville.

The marina’s website says, “Watch the VOLS in action on two 62-inch televisions screens on the patio and deck. Television sets are located inside the restaurant and the boathouse as well.”

Michael, a Florida graduate, was wearing a Florida T-shirt, and his e-mail address begins with “mwgator.” I wonder if he shows up at the Marina to watch the Vols on TV.

We didn’t find desserts on the menu, but Faye saw a “Homemade Fudge” sign on a dry-erase board as we were leaving. We were too full for dessert anyhow.

• • •

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.