Recent visits to area restaurants included Mexican, a couple of steakhouses, Cajun, and American cuisines showing some dining options available.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill entrance Area Restaurants

First up is Firebirds Wood Fired Grill in Knoxville. Deb and I have, for a couple of decades now, a tradition of going out for a nice dinner on New Year’s Day. This year she chose Firebirds as it was new to us as well as serving a variety of steaks and seafood.

Deb opted for a Caesar salad and we shared an appetizer of deviled eggs. Both were quite good.

For a main course Deb picked a filet mignon, while I went with the crab cakes. I am quite picky on crab cakes preferring the version with mostly crab and little filler. G&M’s crab cakes have long been at the top of my list by far, but Firebird’s were a nice substitute. Given that G&M is near Baltimore it is not often I get the pleasure of dining there. My sides were their “ember corn” which is a riff on street corn, and an asian slaw, both of which were quite good. Deb had a loaded baked potato for her side.


Drake's dart board Area Restaurants

While running some errands in Knoxville I met up with a couple of old friends at Drake’s, near the West Town mall. I used to play here in a classic rock band back when it had a different name. Quite a variety in the menu that includes burgers and sandwiches, salads and soups, as well as steaks and seafood. The real surprise is an extensive sushi menu that is quite good! Fried bologna sandwich with tots for me, a chicken quesadilla for Annette, and two sushi rolls for Tom.

Paw Paw’s Catfish Kitchen

Paw Paw's Catfish Kitchen sign

A small cajun restaurant on Wears Valley Road in the southwest corner of Sevierville. I had been craving some gumbo for a couple of months, but seemingly too lazy to make my own! I stopped in at Paw Paw’s for lunch after a visit to Little River Coffee Company to stock up on coffee. Had a half shrimp po’boy along with a cup of shrimp & okra gumbo. I also ordered two bowls of gumbo to go as a winter storm was forecast for the area the next day. It seemed that some sausage and chicken, and more shrimp & okra gumbo would keep me warm! I do need to return soon and make my way through the rest of the menu!

Pancho’s Mexican Grill

Next up, on a quick stop for dinner one Thursday evening, is one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. Pancho’s Mexican Grill is located at 7509 Chapman Highway, just north of Gov. John Sevier Highway. I tried their Torta ahogada, or drowned Mexican sub sandwich, with the spicy hot sauce. Deb got her favorite, steak fajitas.

Chop House

The Chop House is part of a local chain of restaurants in the area. I have two Chop House locations listed in the area restaurant guide; one in Kodak plus the one in Sevierville I was recently at for lunch. The Sevierville location is in the middle of the Tanger Outlet Mall, which can make it a challenge to get to in the summer. While the Chop House is noted for their steaks and seafood, on this day I was craving a burger and that’s what I got. Bacon and bleu cheese burger with a side of mac & cheese. Very good!

bacon & blue cheese burger at The Chop House

JT Hannah’s Kitchen

JT Hannah's Kitchen entrance

Deb and I tend to go to the same restaurants time after time so we are trying to branch out and try new ones. On this evening we chose the JT Hannah’s Kitchen located at 3214 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. With a very large menu plus a full bar one should be able to find something of interest. We got an order of potato skins as an appetizer. They were pretty standard but ok and came with a side of sour cream. Deb ordered the ribs, which she said were very good! I chose the Smoky Mountain Cobb salad, which was quite large, with the house dressing. While I am not quite sure how to describe the dressing other than it was quite thick, and definitely mayo based. Still it was good and there was enough leftover for lunch the next day.

That’s it for this round of area restaurant visits. We will be visiting some more over the winter here and writing about them to keep you informed! Book a stay at The Sidecar Inn today!