26 Basically Blount 2018 and Southern Staples From soup to sushi, the list of locally-owned restaurants that of- fer good Southern fare at work- ing-man prices are plentiful. The quality of the food is fine-dining class because these restaurants know what makes them good, and they stick with it. Here’s a list and a brief description: Allison’s Catfish Restaurant – It’s all about the catfish at Allison’s. Well, and family. This Friendsville restaurant is only open March through October on Fridays and Saturdays, and some- times Thursdays and occasionally Sunday, if it’s Mother’s Day. The menu is simple: Catfish, chicken and shrimp. The desserts are Southern gold. Check the Face- book page for hours, and just go. Aubrey’s – It’s the Maryville restaurant that everybody loves. Owned by entrepreneur Randy Burleson, Aubrey’s has a tag line of “Real Comfort, Real Food, Real Good,” and that pretty much sums up the American cuisine and generous portions. From salmon to catfish fingers, burger to steak to pot roast, the menu has choices for every appetite. Barley’s – Come for the wide se- lection of beer on tap, but don’t miss the food at this lively restau- rant in downtown Maryville. The shrimp and grits can’t be beat, and the pizza is excellent. Becky’s Grocery Grill – Hard to find, but worth the trip is first response when a local mentions Becky Cable’s off-the-beaten- path eatery. The Ross Burger is a favorite, and sides like fried okra, turnip greens and fried mac and cheese make you forget about the drive. Full Service BBQ – Anthony DiFranco III started his dream in Maryville in 2007 when the chef and entrepreneur turned an abandoned gas station on Maryville’s main drag into a drive- in barbecue joint. You can smell the goodness before you see the smoke rising. Menu choices are pulled pork, pulled chicken and beef brisket with a good sam- pling of sides. Gracie’s Fine Home Cookin’ – Breakfast, lunch or dinner, Gracie’s is akin to pulling up a chair at Momma’s table. Fried chicken, beef liver and onions and owner Ken Gentry’s famous cornbread salad bring customers back whenever they are craving a “meat-and-three.” Lemon Grass – When the sushi craze hit the country, Blount Countians were already ahead of the curve, thanks to Peter Dong, chef and owner of Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine. Peter’s dedication to quality made this a favorite, and it continues to delight. Midland Restaurant – Deeply rooted in Southern staples, Midland Restaurant offers down- home cooking for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Country din- ners – including ham steak with a pineapple ring and chicken and dumplings – are favorites. The Soup Kitchen – There was great moaning and gnashing of teeth when The Soup Kitchen left Maryville years ago. The welcome back was just as enthusiastic. Now in Alcoa, fresh, hot soups are prepared daily with good bread and homemade desserts. The peanut butter pie? Oh my… Sullivan’s Fine Food – Down- town Maryville is home to this locally-owned favorite. Sullivan’s offers everything from Blue Plate Specials to filet mignon. Owner Charles Irvine says “made-from- scratch” and fresh are the hallmarks of his business. (see more on page 45) READYTOEAT GoodEatin'