Blue Circle Hamburgers, Bristol TN

For our first of several stops in the Tri-Cities, an area that I very much want to revisit many times, we pulled into a 52 year-old burger joint. For quite some time, this place was the only survivor of a Tennessee chain that was founded way back in 1931. Continue reading “Blue Circle Hamburgers, Bristol TN”

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Hob-Nob Drive-In, Gate City VA

For the third stop on our August vacation, we stopped into a throwback little place in the middle of nowhere for a chili bun and some ice cream. Continue reading “Hob-Nob Drive-In, Gate City VA”

Dixie Barbeque Company, Johnson City TN (CLOSED)

When we went to the Tri-Cities, I knew that we’d be having some very unique and original barbecue at Ridgewood, but I wanted to try some more traditional pulled pork in the area as well. We arrived at Dixie Barbeque Company, a couple of miles north of downtown Johnson City and on our way back to I-81, in a quiet lull between their lunch and dinner rushes. A gentleman named Alan Howell opened this place in 1990, after spending almost twenty years in a couple of other restaurant jobs. In the 1980s, he owned a burger joint called Richard A’s, but eventually realized that he enjoyed barbecue even more than burgers. Apparently, some of the locals howled in protest when he closed Richard A’s, no matter how good his barbecue is, because while barbecue will always spark friendly disagreement, everybody concurs that the Tri-Cities haven’t had a hamburger as good as the ones that he used to make. Continue reading “Dixie Barbeque Company, Johnson City TN (CLOSED)”

Pal’s Sudden Service, Johnson City TN

So our spring trip was truncated from four days in western Tennessee to two days in eastern Tennessee. We started the road trip with the main destination, a very good restaurant that I’d wanted to visit for many years, but we weren’t about to leave the Tri-Cities area without a visit to a very neat little restaurant chain. Continue reading “Pal’s Sudden Service, Johnson City TN”

The Original Ridgewood Barbecue, Bluff City TN

Last month, the girlchild went to Knoxville for a week to spend her spring break with some of her other family up there. When it came time to retrieve her, I proposed a fun little two-day trip. We had originally planned to spend a long family weekend in Memphis when she returned, but some unplanned expenses killed that idea. We still needed to pick her up from her trip, but instead of a quick there-and-back day trip, I suggested that we take a little of the money that we didn’t spend and go visit northeastern Tennessee, come back to Knoxville in the evening and stay one night. We’d only driven through the northeastern region in a rush about five years before, on a long trip down I-81 from Baltimore to Asheville on our honeymoon. Continue reading “The Original Ridgewood Barbecue, Bluff City TN”