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Aug 23, 2010 06:39 PM

Nice Surprise in a "Right Off the Interstate" Wasteland

Flew into Knoxville and commenced my drive to Kingport where I had business the next day. Needing dinner I plugged a safe choice chain into my GPS that was on my way. Luckily, off the same exit, I spotted Puleo's Grille. Ignorning my GPS' pleas to make a u-turn, I pulled into the parking lot. I'll admit to some skeptism at this point. The restaurant's facade is rather "ruby tuesday/applebee-ish".

My favorite thing to do when dining alone while traveling on business is to sit at the bar. I was greeted by a friendly bartender going by the name Rick who helped me choose my entree, a citrus grilled chicken. My special request to sub the sweet potatoes for the regular mashed was no problem. I started with a house salad, which had some nice touches in the form of grated cheese and sliced almonds. The cukes were also deseeded. My chicken was nicely grilled and juicy. The citrus glaze was subtle, not cloying. A side of broccoli and baby carrots still had some nice crunch. The sweet potatoes...oh my...I think I might dream of that side dish. Not overly sweet with a nice spice and kissed with butter.

The menu had some great eclectic choices. Spotting the entrees of neighboring barstools (one steak and one lasagna) I would conclude if they tasted as good as they looked...then they were winners as well.! I had a nice view of the kitchen from my seat. I saw lots of attention to detail, including the chef as the pass taking painstaking care to wipe the rim of the plates before sending them out.

A manager (owner maybe?) came by to ask about my meal and service. A nice touch indeed. I'm wondering if my scheduled will put me back in the Straberry Plains area for lunch tomorrow?

Puleo's Grille
7224 Region Ln, Knoxville, TN 37914

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  1. Any of the Puleo's restaurants are worth the drive. There are four or five in the K'ville area. I particularly enjoy the Fried Green Tomato BLT for lunch. We have more choices than you might know about...but this area is FAR from a wasteland.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Brawny

      I agree....they are all good tasty options for an on the road lunch!

      1. re: Brawny

        Hey Brawny, meant no offense with the wasteland reference. My hometown is in KY after all, so I have an affinity for the south. I was referring mainly to almost all "just off the interstate" type places...consisting mostly of fast food or chains and that would be any interstate...any region of the country.

      2. The is the original Puleo's and you did notice the fresh basel growing out back? You need to try their fried green tomato appetizer with great fried green tomatoes on chesse grits served with two sauces: one classic southern white sauce with pork sausage and the other a red gravy with either Tasso or Andouille Sausage.

        Would that all defunct Perkins' restaurants would be repurposed thusly.