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Visiting Knoxville - Any restaurants near World's Fair Park?

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Hi there! I'll be visiting Knoxville with my 2 year old in a week. We plan to go to World's Fair Park since I heard it's a great place for kids--Would love to check out any chow worthy eats in that area. I'm completely unfamiliar with Knoxville so could use some guidance! We eat everything-including the kiddo. Also, any other recommendations that are kid-friendly and excellent food that is not to miss-we'll be staying in West Knoxville and would appreciate recs there as well? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Knoxville is my neck of the woods. Luckily for you. the World's Fair Park is right next to downtown and also close to the Old City (walking distance if you enjoy walking, or a quick ride on the free trolley), where there is a concentration of restaurants.

    Tomato Head on Market Square is my top pick: inventive pizzas, sandwiches, and salads. All of the dressings, breads, etc. are homemade. A large array of vegetarian items and pizza topping. Outdoor seating on the square which is nice for people-watching. My daughter has been going there since she was about 2. They were always willing (and often offered) to make up a special plate for her with fruit, hummus and things.

    I'm a fan of the pesto and smoked salmon pizza. The Kepner Melt is a strange combination of ingredients that somehow works and has achieved a bit of a cult-like status here.

    Calhoun's on the river is popular if you're a BBQ fan, and you'll get to eat right on the river. The atmosphere is a bit chain-y (it's a local chain.)

    Also on Market Square is Cafe 4, which has some upscale versions of classic Southern food (pulled pork quesadillas with Tennessee chow-chow, fried green tomatoes with goat cheese. It can be crowded and noisy in the evening, so it might not be as fun for the kiddo (lunch is fine, though.)

    I'd be happy to answer any other questions! have fun in Knoxville.

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    Tomato Head
    12 Market Sq, Knoxville, TN 37902

    Cafe 4
    4 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902

    2 Replies
    1. re: geniuswaitress

      Wow-you've been so very helpful. Thank you for the suggestions. We're definitely going to try Tomato Head because I've read so many wonderful reviews! I also want to try a cupcake place I read about in the NY Times which, I believe, is located in downtown. Off topic-is there a playground in the park, and if so, where exactly? Thanks again!

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      Tomato Head
      12 Market Sq, Knoxville, TN 37902

      1. re: Lotus7

        There's a children's playground called "Ft. Kidd" that's just above the Museum of Art which has a very nice cafe (on topic) on the first floor. Because all this is on a hill, if you are a flatlander, your kiddle will enjoy rolling down hills. Something that simple!

    2. After your World's Fair adventure...go to Market Square...just a few blocks away. Stand in the middle of Market Square and in any direction you will see anything from good to excellent. A stroll up and down Gay Street will also offer quite a bit to choose from! Good luck and welcome to Knoxville! The dogwoods and Bartlett pears are coming into bloom and it should be beautiful to see.

      1. Ft Kidd is great but also down on the park level is a big green area and splashing fountains that the kids love. The Knoxville Museum of Art is there and admission is free. They have nice bathrooms which may be hard to find in the area. Cupcakes are at Cafe 4. Crepes are at the French Market on Gay Street. Two cupcake places are on Kingston Pike in the Bearden area. So not sure which one you are referring to. Downtown can be a bit confusing but just keep walking and you will find interesting things. It is not very big and you really can't get lost.

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        Cafe 4
        4 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902