Restaurant Review: Calhoun’s on the River, Knoxville, TN
When a conference agenda calls for dinner a local restaurant it can be assumed that the experience will probably be good. The conference hosts desire that their attendees sample local flavor from both a taste and atmosphere standpoint. My recent visit to Knoxville, Tennessee for a conference included dinner at Calhoun’s, located downtown on the Tennessee River waterfront. Calhoun’s did not disappoint.
Being a Southerner and a road warrior I get exposed often to barbecue. It verily permeates the air in towns where smokers emanate their flavors from beside convenience stores to log-built barbecue joints to converted downtown buildings. And of course in the South the barbeque is almost always pork. Out West they prefer beef. In my humble opinion barbecue is judged on two main factors: tenderness and the sauce. And on those categories Calhoun’s scored high. The sauce is among the best I have ever tasted, and the tenderness is the best I have ever experienced. A person with no teeth could enjoy this stuff.
Being as I was with a group we had our meal upstairs in a private dining room. We had a buffet setup so I cannot really tell you a whole lot about the menu items. Calhoun’s claims to have the best ribs in a America. They do have an award from the National Rib Cookoff to support that claim. Our meal included barbeque pork, grilled barbeque chicken, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, salad and bun. From the dessert table I chose my personal favorite dessert, which is key lime pie. It was all delicious and worthy of the Calhoun’s reputation.
Even if the food had been average I would still recommend dinner at Calhoun’s simply because of its atmosphere. Located dockside on the river it provides a spectacular view. It is accessible by boat and even has its own mooring. I can only imagine the scene on University of Tennessee game days in the fall when the river is covered with houseboats. They call it “sailgating.” That’s because Neyland Stadium is also practically waterfront and only a few football fields distant downriver.
Oh, and the service was exceptional.
Conclusion: highly recommend.
photo from http://www.calhouns.com/CalhOnTnRiver.shtml.