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8 Ultimate Comfort Food Dishes

Food & Drink

Comfort. Food. Just the thought of those words makes us salivate. Explore these 8 comfort food dishes in Downtown Knoxville that will rival your Grandma’s cooking! That is, if your Grandma is Southern.


Cafe 4’s Mac and Cheese


Pretty much what Cafe 4 is famous for! Savor it with decadent lobster, add a kick with grilled chicken and jalapenos, or go for the original three cheeses. You can’t go wrong. Pair your mac and cheese with their tomato bisque, and oh my, you have yourself the ultimate comforting meal.




Knox Mason’s Cornmeal Crusted Catfish Sandwich


This crunchy fried fish sandwich from Knox Mason is served on a Paysan brioche bun with lettuce, Sweetwater cheddar cheese and dill remoulade. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the homemade pork rinds, deviled eggs, pimento cheese, and sausage gumbo!




Sweet P's Banana Puddin'


Don’t dare put a “g” on the end when you order this deliciously sweet homemade southern dessert from Sweet P's BBQ. You can order this puddin’ as a side, but we say grab the whole pint of it, because you’ll scrape the bowl when it’s gone. You’ll soon see why Sweet P’s has been featured in a number of articles, including “Cooking with Paula Deen,” National Geographic, and Travel Channel.




The Southern Grit’s Fried Green Tomatoes


The Southern Grit is the epitome of southern comfort foods...I mean it’s in their name! Their fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese and spicy honey drizzle is a perfect appetizer for their fried chicken, shrimp and grits, or chicken pot pie with a side of fried okra and sweet potato casserole. To round out the comfort food meal, order their Just Peachy cocktail or sweet tea.




Tupelo Honey’s Sweet Potato Pancakes


Why order regular ole pancakes when you can order a high stack of sweet potato pancakes drizzled with maple syrup at Tupelo Honey. But why stop there? Add fried chicken, scratch-made blueberry compote, or order them banana puddin’-style. Don’t forget to start with two cathead buttermilk biscuits served with blueberry jam and whipped butter.


Photo Credit: @hungry_hungry_hanley



Pete’s Sausage & Gravy Biscuits


Some things are too good to ever change, and that’s why Pete’s has filled Knoxvillians bellies with sausage & gravy biscuits for over 30 years. If you want comfort food for breakfast or lunch, this is your place. They serve up daily meat-and-three lunch specials like meatloaf, chicken and dumplings, and chicken fried steak, and breakfast items like country ham and chicken and waffles. Pro tip: add gravy on literally anything you order.




City County Cafe Meat & Three’s


If you want to-go comfort food, stop by City County Cafe for their daily meat-and-three specials, like this meatloaf madness with greens, pinto beans, mac and cheese, and cornbread. If you’re not drooling yet, how about their chicken pot pie casserole, fried pork chop with mash potatoes and gravy, or chocolate layer pie? Yeah, get there ASAP!




Duncan Cafe’s Cookie Dough Tubs


You can order just one or a dozen of Freeda's Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Cranberry cookies from Duncan Cafe, but why stop there when you can buy the whole tub?! Freeda has been perfecting her homemade cookie dough recipe for years, and the only extra thing you need is a tall glass of milk.




We know one list isn’t enough to capture all of the delicious comfort foods downtown. So, if you haven’t had your fill with all of these options, we also recommend the Bistro at the Bijou’s pimento cheese with chow-chow burger, Davinci’s late-night pizza, Downtown Grill & Brewery’s beer cheese dip, Petro’s Chili & Chips, and the Tomato Head’s peanut butter pie (and mac and cheese pizza on the kids menu).