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Feb 23, 2011 11:27 AM

Must-Eat Near Rutledge, TN?

My wife and I will be in Rutledge sometime next month for one night, and I would like to find a place in the area for dinner. I'm not looking for anything fancy, but nice would be nice. My wife isn't big on BBQ, so that is probably out. I figure there must be some memorable Southern home-style fare around (something that might remind me of what I used to find in the direction of Western Maryland in the distant past of my youth). Suggestions appreciated.

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  1. The "Down Home" restaurant is a meat and three a couple of blocks west of the county courthouse.
    A more interesting meat and three is on 25E, west of Rutledge where 25E goes over Clinch Mountain. Great views towards the lakes with the Smokies in the distance and the restaurant is well known for their Vinegar Pie (which doesn't taste at all vinegar-y, but good.)
    If you were looking for lunch later in the year Ritter Farms, north on 11W has very reasonable meals, but they are lunch only. They don't start serving lunch until later in the season.

    I won't recommend restaurants in Morristown, in part because I'm not sure what's still open near 25E and I am not sure where the speed cameras are set up. Those cameras make a reasonably priced lunch super expensive.

    6 Replies
    1. re: shallots

      Being from a border state and a county that lost its last gasp of Southern sensibility in 1966 (it happened on primary election day when the old guard Southern political "Lee" machine was tossed out), I will admit that I had to look up "meat and three."

      Down Home is a place I had found on Google (as too Sue's Restaurant). Of course, the "reviews" on those sites are always suspect, so a word from a fellow Hound is much appreciated. Do you happen to recall the name of the place on 25E? That sounds interesting. Thanks.

      1. re: pgreen

        There was a recent closure up in Rutledge that might have been Sue's (it was where the Blaine Ice Cream Parlor moved- a great loss to ice cream lovers all over the area) and then they tried to be a full service restaurant, then they became a unflavourful Mexican Restaurant, and then something else, and then they closed.) (I don't think the signs outside kept up with the changes.)
        Down Home is still where it's always been (for at least twenty years.)

        The one up on 25E says Restaurant. You go north on 25E off of 11W. You'll know when you start driving up the south side of Clinch Mountain- it's a 2000' climb straight up. There's a large scenic overlook to the south, just before the crest of the mountain. From there you'll see the restaurant at the peak. After that, the road goes down the other side of the mountain.
        Clinch is a long mountain that goes all the way north into Virginia where it's called Brushy Mountain. But the peak is so narrow you couldn't put a single wide across the peak without lots of cinderblock (local homage to Clayton Homes.) They had to carve out a place to put the restaurant and its parking lot.

        Down Home Restaurant
        Highway 11 W, Rutledge, TN 37861

        1. re: shallots

          OK, love the cinderblock and singlewide references. I also think this sounds lovely. Assuming our trip isn't cancelled, we will have to look for this place. Thanks!

          1. re: pgreen

            Looks like we might have a slight change of plans, and will be spending the night in Dandridge. I see a place called SMOKY'S STEAK & BBQ mentioned a few times on this board in Dandridge--much as I would love to try the vinegar pie up at the Clinch Mountain Lookout Restaurant (which I think is the place shallots was talking about before). That leaves a couple of questions. 1) Should we go to Smoky's? My wife isn't much for BBQ (although I am), but it looks like they have a pretty decent non-BBQ selection. Assuming we go, 2) what should we get, both in terms of smoked meat and non-BBQ entres?

            I did find a recipe for vinegar pie that purports to be from the Lookout, so one of these days I will have to try it (sort of a lemon cream pie, substituting vinegar for lemon juice).

            1. re: pgreen

              Sorry for the lack of responses. I've only heard good reviews locally for Smoky's, but it's very far from us (not as the crow flies, but as the roads and river/lake interruptions of roads are).

              Not that far from Dandridge down I-40 towards Knoxville is Puleo's at Strawberry Plains exit. Your heritage needs you to eat fried green tomatoes there. It's a favorite with locals who flocked to it in such numbers that it's become a mini-local-chain. (It replaced a Denny's that locals ignored.)

              1. re: shallots

                Sounds great! I think it depends on how tired we are after our 8 hour drive. Thanks for your counsel!