Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Riverwalk Grille – Loudon TN

Laurie and I had purchased a Knoxville “Lifestyle” coupon book some time ago and we decided that we’d better start taking advantage of the savings involved.  Basically, one entrée is free when you purchase one of an equal or lesser value.  What we really like about these books isn’t even the savings…it’s the fact that using them forces you to experience restaurants that you might not visit otherwise.

Since we moved to East Tennessee about 3 years ago, this old building, the Carmichael Inn in Loudon, has been occupied by 3 or 4 different restaurants… The Riverwalk Grille at the Carmichael Inn is the latest iteration on the theme.  It’s definitely a positive note in that they’ve survived for a year now.  More importantly, we’d heard some upbeat reports about the place from some of our friends and neighbors...

The main portion of the Carmichael Inn/Riverwalk Grille was constructed back around 1810.  This is the oldest building in Loudon…although it was pointed out to me that it was originally built on the other side of the Tennessee River…opposite today’s downtown Loudon.  The city moved the structure to its current site in order to save it.

This "I" was originally built as a 2-story log cabin that served as a stagecoach inn at this former key ferry crossing on the Tennessee River. (I learned that an “I” house is basically a building that is only one room deep and 2 or more rooms long)

As a restaurant, the ambience is rustic and interesting.  The rough hewn walls and brick accents certainly add interest.  There are 3 or 4 big historical ‘posters’ on the walls that provide a great deal of information about the Carmichael Inn, the Carmichael’s and the Blair’s.  One chart provides a historical timeline for Loudon…and another history ‘board’ references local citizens who went on to marry into the Astor and Vanderbilt families.

We started out with the what is now, a standard spicy shrimp appetizer.  A version of this can be found on many menus.  Ruby Tuesday may have started the trend…but for some reason it’s no longer on that restaurant’s menu.

At Riverwalk Grille it’s called the “Kickin Shrimp”, ($9.95), but we’ve also enjoyed this dish when it was referred to as “Boom Boom Shrimp” or “Bang Bang Shrimp”, etc.   We really like spicy food and we rarely pass up this offering, whatever it’s called!  This version was very nice with just about the perfect amount of spice, at least for our taste.

Our dinners started with nice salads and some decent bread…and you may note the glasses of wine on the table.  They were the house Pinot Grigio and the house Chardonnay. ($5.00 each) Both wines were smooth and easy to drink…

I just continued the shrimp theme with my dinner entree.  This is the Charleston Shrimp and Grits. ($15.95) It is described as ‘spicy shrimp in a creamy Charleston style andouille gravy served over grilled yellow corn cakes.  This was an excellent dish…a great combination of flavors!

Other dinner offerings include a 12 oz. ribeye steak ($16.99); a beef filet…6 oz. or 10 oz. ($17.95 or $22.95); stuffed barbeque pork shanks ($12.99) and; roasted vegetable fettuccine ($9.75).  Salads and burgers are also available during the dinner hour.

The other item on the dinner menu…listed under ‘Evening Offerings’, was the Daily Fish Special.  That’s what Laurie ordered.  I’m not sure of the price but I do know that it didn’t cost more than my dinner…because I wasn’t charged for this entrée.  The fish that evening was Flounder and for a side, she chose the Corn Pudding.  She really liked her dinner! It was delicious!

Laurie wanted me to advise those who enjoy outdoor dining that the Riverwalk Grille at the Carmichael Inn does have an extensive outdoor dining porch or deck.  Personally, I don’t need to sit outdoors to eat…sharing the ambience with insects, hot weather or passing traffic…but, Hey!  That’s just me talking…

Normally the story would end here…but Laurie’s sister Bonnie and Bonnie’s husband Bill recently visited us and we decided to take them to the Riverwalk Grille for lunch. 

These are the sisters…Bonnie and Laurie. (Bonnie is a perfect houseguest…never complains, likes to do almost anything and she’s helpful too!)

Of course, this photo is of me and Bill. (Bill is a perfect guest too…as long as you furnish him with an ironing board and an iron.  He irons everything he wears, even t-shirts!) Bill is also laid back and is willing to do just about anything for entertainment…and, oh yes, he likes to cook too! 

OK…back to the Riverwalk Grille, the food and a little more input…

This was our luncheon appetizer…Homemade Tortilla Chips and Queso Dip. ($6.99)  The chips were pretty good but needed a little salt.  The queso dip had no flavor, zero, zip…no popping of the taste buds…bland.  Our sandwiches were good but the soup, (nice corn chowder), could have been warmer.  My sandwich came with decent homemade potato chips.  Our biggest problem was that our service was uneven…and Bill’s luncheon salad wasn’t what he ordered.

OK…two meals at the Riverwalk Grille!  We will return for another visit.  The food is generally quite good and the prices are reasonable.  The service is uneven but at least the server’s attitude is positive…they’re trying.  
The Riverwalk Grille at the Historic Carmichael Inn is located right off of US 11 in downtown Loudon Tennessee…right at the south end of the bridge over the Tennessee River.  The restaurant is located right on the edge of the Loudon County courthouse square at 600 Hackberry Street.  Phone: 865-657-3222.  The Riverwalk Grille does serve breakfast daily as well as Sunday brunch.  They are only open for dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Website: www.riverwalkgrille.com.
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave   


  1. Dear Dave, I love the look of the place. It makes for great conversation..to talk about the history.
    The first meal seems like you both enjoyed the meal and not too pricey.
    Unfortunately, your second visit did not live up to the first. The cook was probably different. This happens, the place should try to keep up standards with their cooks. Unfortunately, sometimes they lower expectations with lunch and therefore loose business at the same time. This does not make for good business or return visits. Especially in this economy, who wants to waste money!
    Well, I am going on too long....have a beautiful day friends. Blessings, Catherine

  2. I love these pictures especially about the house/restaurant!

  3. looks and sounds like a really charming place to have a nice lunch!

  4. The food looks great and it sounds like you had a fun time with relatives. Guess a third visit will decide. Maybe the lunch crew needs to work on it! Your house guests are the perfect kind! I fully understand Bill, as I love to iron about everything. Have a good evening, Dave!

  5. That place has terrific ambiance. It is a shame that you found the food and service to be uneven. I really appreciate your honesty. I hope you have a great day, Dave. Blessings...Mary