Review: Tupelo Honey Cafe


During my recent trip to Knoxville, we got together with friends, and they wanted to meet us for Dinner. Since I talk about food a lot on this blog (seriously, I have no idea when I became a foodie. I like food, but I’m happy with the simple stuff, too!) they wanted to go to a place with really good food, interesting flavor combinations, and… I squee’d when I saw the name of the restaurant. With a beekeeper father, I knew exactly what the reference was.


You can find the Tupelo Honey Cafe on the Market Square, where Knoxville has been working at reviving their downtown. I was tickled at the little ones playing in the water close to the restaurant. It was a hot night!


For starters, you get a biscuit with blueberry jam! We were going through the menus, trying to pick just one thing, and failing. It’s always a great sign when you find far more possibilities on the menu than you can possibly eat in one sitting. The Tupelo Honey Cafe specializes in Southern food, but elevated. Oh, and the biscuit? Delicious. Soft, fluffy, with a nice flavor of cheese and butter that paired beautifully with the sweet-tart blueberry jam (homemade, I do believe).


As a table, we shared what the cafe calls a ‘small plate’ which is an appetizer of fried okra. This was my first taste of okra. I’ve read a lot about it, and I know that I’m not fond of a slimy texture in food – which is what okra is notorious for. This was very good. You could feel – especially if you ate two or three in a row – the mucilaginous texture of the okra, but it has a pleasantly nutty flavor reminiscent of zucchini, and the breading was well seasoned and proportional to the pieces of Okra. Also, the portion was large enough that four of us could not finish the ‘small plate.” Of course, some of that was deliberate holding back for the main part of the meal!


I ordered the fish – specifically, Carolina Mountain Trout. Although I think I was more excited about the prospect of the fried brussels sprouts. I wasn’t the only one, everyone at the table ordered them too! The fish was nicely cooked, lightly seasoned which was right for this delicate fish, and I really enjoyed it. The Appalachian Corn Souffle was a fluffy version of corn pudding (I’ve made that. May have to try this) a trifle sweet, but not too much. The brussels sprouts? Darn good. The flavor was spot on. The sprouts were a little tough, but I ate them all up.


and there was the Dastardly Gentleman and his extra shrimp. This, ladies and gentleman, was love in action, as he proceeded to share most of them with his lovely wife.


The Charleston Chicken Sandwich, with it’s intriguing cranberry mayonnaise. And a side order of brussels sprouts!


Grilled Atlantic Salmon… and guess what?


We were seated right next to the kitchen pass through, purely by luck – it was a busy Saturday evening and we had a thirty minute wait to be seated – and I really enjoyed seeing what was coming out for the other diners, too. The conversation was too much fun to neglect for long, but I did manage to catch a snapshot of the action. The meal was wonderful – I paired mine with cherry coke, if you’re wondering. I had more work to do after the meal, and wine would have been sleep-inducing, unfortunately. I really enjoyed everything, and already plan to return next time we are close to Knoxville. There are other locations, I understand, as it is a growing business. If you have one near you, check it out! I highly recommend reservations if you plan to go, however. The Market Square was enjoyable to stroll through and explore with my friend giving me neat details, but it would have been nice to eat, then do that.

Here’s the menu, if you’re curious what I was drooling over.


A sort of a selfie and the decoration in one of their windows.