Grab a Quick Downtown Knoxville Lunch
Working Downtown means you're within walking distance to almost 100 lunch spots, and that means a new workday = new place to try. And some days it needs to be quick. Here are a few spots that offer counter service and/or grab-n-go coolers for quick and delicious meals.
Simple, healthy meals that are delicious and satisfying! Brown Bag is located in the Horizon Plaza, and they serve up daily specials along with their famous staples, like grilled chicken and spinach salad. The food is always fresh and nutritious, plus you can enjoy it while soaking up Vitamin D on the large outdoor patio. A popular spot among Downtown workers.
Café Vicolo has soups, salads, spreads, and sandwiches in their grab-n-go fridge, but their daily specials are where they really shine! Expect untraditional lunches like hamachi mixed greens salad, Mexican pork stew, chimichurri steak sandwiches, lobster rolls, and so much more. Follow them on Instagram to see the latest specials. Plus, grab muffins, donuts, cookies, and coffee for later!
Located conveniently in Embassy Suites, CJ's Tacos is a quick and easy place for delicious pan-fried tacos and build-your-own taco bowls. Choose from their specialty menu, or customize with as many toppings as you want. They have a spacious dining room, or take your food to-go.
If you need to stretch your legs, walk to the Old City to Curious Dog for one of the best hot dogs and sandwiches you'll ever try! Big statement, right? This "beer market" is constantly pushing flavor boundaries, coming up with new tasty combos. They make many of their toppings in-house, including kimchi, special sauce, potato salad, and even mayo.
Head down to the friendliest deli in town, Downtown Deli is located in the Horizon Plaza and boasts comforting soups, sandwiches, daily specials, and homemade pie. A lot of love goes into these dishes, and they'll remember your favorites – and might even take requests! You can expect a little bit of everything, from fried bologna sandwiches to fried okra veggie wraps.
This food truck turned brick-and-mortar restaurant knows how to dish out quality meals fast. Located on Gay Street, Fai Thai serves authentic Thai favorites like masaman curry, drunken noodles, and pad Thai. Plus refreshing iced green tea, coffee and Thai tea all brewed in house. Many dishes are vegan-friendly and/or gluten-free. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu!
The French Market
The French Market is known for their crêpes and for good reason. They use flour imported directly from France, so they are authentic and delicious. But they also serve up chicken salad croissants, apple brie sandwiches, French onion soup, pomme frites, and other items on a lunch menu you need to experience.
Good Golly Tamale
The Old City has one of the most interesting lunch places on our list: Good Golly Tamale. They debuted at the Market Square Farmers’ Market several years ago, and now serve their hand-rolled tamales from their Central Ave storefront. It's traditional comfort food that's fast, delicious, and nutritious! Vegetarian/vegan options are available.
Ham‘n Goody’s brought their world-famous lemon cookies to Gay Street, and they also brought yummy lunches to their grab-n-go fridge! They have wraps, sandwiches, pasta salads, quiches, soups and more goodies waiting for you. Just wait 'til you try their chicken salad croissant. YUM!
K Brew Coffee & Bagels
K Brew is known for their coffee, but they also carry homemade bagel sandwiches that are an easy lunch right on Gay Street! Try the hot Italian loaded with fresh mozzarella, capicola, tomato, red onion, green olives, and fresh basil. Or, the Margherita pizza on a roasted garlic and parmesan bagel. When you can grab lunch + coffee at the same time, sounds like a winner to us.
Knox Brew Hub
Around the corner from Market Square on Union Ave, you'll find Knox Brew Hub, a craft beer bar that is perfecting the art of hot dogs. We recommend the Southern Dog with pimento cheese and red pepper jam and an ice-cold (non-alcoholic) beer to get through the workday.
Head to the counter at KoPita and you might find Chef Avi Zenatti taking your order. He brings bold Mediterranean flavors to Gay Street sharing his Moroccan/Israeli family recipes, and many are vegan-friendly. Two of our favorites are the Seniya made of ground beef, tahini and pomegranates, and the vegan shwarma pita with seitan, tahini, harissa, arabic salad and more.
We love the Lunchbox for so many reasons! Quality food at great prices, plus a salad bar that can't be beat. They have grab-n-go when you're in a hurry, all made from scratch each morning. They also have comforting chili and soups to keep you warm throughout the winter. And don't get us started on their cookies!
Petro's Chili & Chips
Petro's has the perfect patio for a weekday lunch before a stroll through Krutch Park! Dive into an original Petro® piled high with chili and toppings and wash it down with a Hint-of-Orange sweet tea. They also have wedge salads, loaded potatoes, and BBQ chicken nachos right on Market Square.
At your lunch hour, you'll be saying it's "Primetime!" after you get your hands on the delicious dogs at Primtetime Hotdogs. Owner Chris Moore has been serving up delicious dogs, soups, and specials in the Horizon Plaza for years. You'll find him at the counter taking your order and making it fresh! His food and service can't be beat.
Sweet P's Downtown Dive
You might need a nap after lunch at Sweet P's, but dang, it's worth it! Their daily lunch specials include BBQ Burritos, Nachos, or Quesadillas (Tuesday), Red Beans and Rice (Wednesday), Smoked Meatloaf (Thursday), and Smoked Andouille Sausage (Friday). Plus, delicious salads and sides for vegetarian options and lighter fare!
Yassin's Falafel House
We might have saved the best for last! Yassin's is located on Walnut Street, making it a convenient walk to fresh-made falafel, homemade hummus, and scratch-made baklava. You may have heard it was voted the "Nicest Place In America," but we'll add "Delicious Lunch in Downtown Knoxville" too!
It's Noon O'Clock Somewhere!
We hope you have a delicious time trying out these spots for lunch and finding your favorites!