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Lunch while driving on Interstate 40...NC & TN

We would love to stop, while on a long trip, & eat a decent lunch. No fast food. We will be on I 40 going thru Dandridge, Newport, Hartford, Waterville, Cove Creek or Jonathan, just in time for lunch. We would like to find a restaurant that is not to far from the exit, & kind of casual. Any recommendtions?

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  1. I don't recognize many of the towns you mention...I think they are all in TN? Will you be in NC?

    1. If you want to stop in Knoxville which is just before you get to Dandridge, I recommend taking Wright's Cafeteria. Home made yeast rolls, home made pies, sweet tea, southern veggies. It is on Middlebrook Pike. Take the Gallaher View exit off 40/75 and go Left, west, until you hit Middlebrook(if you pass Sam's Club you are going in the right direction) When you come t Middlebrook, turn Right and go about 5 miles. You will a Hardee's and Wrights is just across from the Hardees.

      1. Also if you want to get off the interstate and go over to Dandridge, there a a couple of places. Dandridge has the court house so there are small place to eat near that. Can't think of any names but I ate at a sandwich shop that was tasty.

        1. About ten miles west of the first Dandridge exit on I 40 is the Strawberry Plains exit. Puleo's there is the first of what's become a local chain. The food is fresh, and good with everything from small pizzas to excellent fried green tomatoes to southern favorites to salads. Quiet and relaxed and a local favorite.
          We've eaten a few places in Newport and now wait until we are closer to home so we can stop at Puleo's.

          1. From Dandridge I-40 Exit 417 you can easily access two of my favorite local eateries. Heading north from the interchange, turn left at the light that would take you to the Pilot Truck Plaza. Pass it and continue up the hill for 1/4 mile. Grandslam Pizza and Wings will be on the righthand side. Great BBQ and ribs and more.

            If you head south off the interchange for a couple of miles you will come to a right turn into the Dandridge Downtown area (all two blocks of it). Caddy corner at the stop sign is Smokey's Restaurant. Good stuff! Enjoy your lunch, wherever it may be.

            1. My standard answer whenever Knoxville comes up, assuming you like truly authentic Chinese food, is a place called Hong Kong House. You can search it on this board and get more info. It's a long story that starts in the DC area and passes through Atlanta, but the short answer is you will be hard pressed to find better Sichuan food anywhere in the US, and yes, that is a true statement and we are talking about Knoxville. The place is a short hop off I-40 in the western sector, between exits 379 and 380.

              Should you go, they have a lunch buffet but stay away from that and order from the menu. Their best dishes are pictured on the wall as you walk in. Dry-fried eggplant and roasted fish (the one served on the woven bamboo) are both to-die-for, but don't order both as the spicing is similar. Fish with cilantro rolls is the best app. Last I heard Chef Chang isn't there on Tuesday, so be aware of that.

              Hong Kong House
              8079 Kingston Pike Ste X, Knoxville, TN 37919

              3 Replies
              1. re: johnb

                Thanks for all of the suggestions. They all sound great! Hong Kong House sounds like a must. Has anybody eaten at Pizza Palace in Knoxville?

                1. re: HFandRB

                  Whatever you finally do, be sure to post a report.

                  1. re: HFandRB

                    UPDATE--I don't know the date of your trip, but I learned yesterday that Chang is no longer at Hong Kong House. He is now in Charlottesville, Va., and apparently has been for a few weeks at least. HKH may still be a worthwhile stop; the place he used to cook in in Atlanta is still very good because the management replaced him with great chefs, but I have no way of knowing that about HKH. Sorry.

                2. The only reason to eat at Pizza Palace is to eat food in your car and hope that you don't spill it all over your lap. Sorry, but I found no reason to ever go back there.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: LGD

                      Wow, what a disappointment. I guess all of the hype is because of FoodNetwork? I'm sorry to say that Driving there for the pizza was a waste of time!

                    2. Rock slide at Mile Marker 458 has kept 40 closed and will be closed for quite some time. Clean up estimated over 10 million dollars...so it was a big one. Your detour will take you around Newport etc. but many possibilities will be available.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Brawny

                        Current estimated clean up time is four months from the slide time, that takes it into January.
                        This might give a needed boost to some of the small cafes in Hot Springs. Hopefully someone will report on them here.

                        This may also be the time to discover Ridgewood BBQ, for those who never get to that part of Tennessee.

                        For Pizza, Marco's (two locations) in Asheville is our favorite (and that place on Magnolia is only 16 miles from us. Mellow Mushroom on Cumberland Ave and Stefano's also on Cumberland are our local alternatives.