It appears that Knoxville is not on a lot of food lovers’ radars, but this city boasts Marie’s all-time favorite breakfast, at The French Market Creperie, and her all-time favorite pizza, and so, since we visit very infrequently, I kind of want to make sure she gets one or the other on a visit. That way, she’ll indulge my need to drive everywhere and document everything with a brighter smile than usual.
We found Pizza Palace about seven years ago, following a tip from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. (Here’s our original story.) The Peroulas family opened the restaurant in 1961 and it has weathered bad economic slumps and the gradual decline of the Magnolia Avenue corridor, bringing in tourists for the last nine years since its appearance on the program. It certainly made us into semi-regulars. Guy Fieri gets a fair amount of stick for being ridiculous and calculated, but we’d probably never have heard of this place without him, so we can’t hate the guy too much.
Marie’s go-to here is a sausage and mushroom pie. They take about twenty minutes to come up, plenty of time for an energetic four year-old to burn off some energy walking back and forth along the side of the building with you.
I’m not anywhere near as wild about this place as Marie, but it’s still a really, really good pie. They get the crust just right, and the sauce is delicious. We were sticking to a budget since we had several stops on this trip and sort of threw the idea together on a whim, and so we didn’t get their spaghetti with meat sauce or their onion rings this time. Honestly, I like each of those even more than the pizza.
After our lunch, we drove over to Ijams Nature Center to get some more exercise. After several very cold days, and a little snow, it was nice to get out and enjoy some glorious 70 degree weather. There were so many other people enjoying the unexpectedly warm day that we had to park a good ways from the visitor center. We enjoyed a wildlife show and our son got to meet a red-tailed hawk up close, and we had a long, leisurely walk around the river trail. That was an absolutely terrific way to spend a couple of hours.
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!