Friday, August 17, 2012

Hot Rod’s 50’s Diner - Tennessee

Laurie and I had purchased a ‘Groupon’ deal for a restaurant over in Alcoa/Maryville Tennessee.  We decided to ‘spend’ the deal so we asked our friends, Larry and Bev, if they’d like to go out for lunch.  They said they’d meet us at the restaurant.  They’d eaten here once before and they thought it was pretty good… (Larry, aka ‘Big Dude’ also publishes a blog.  It can be found at

Other than the neon sign, the building looked OK…if not much like a diner.  Still, as the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover!

This discounted meal was our first purchase from/through Groupon.  They send us deals every day.  For more information about Groupon and how it works, go to 

Oh yes…There was a very retro looking ‘hot rod’ parked out front.  This is a Chrysler Prowler. (At first they were sold as Plymouth Prowlers) The Prowler was built between in 1997 and then again from 1999 through 2002.  They could go from 0 – 60 in 5.9 seconds.  Only 11,702 of these hot rods were ever built.  For more on the Prowler, just go to

Well…the outside might not spark memories of the 50’s and the diner scene…but the blue neon lighting combined with the stamped metal ceilings, the black and white tile floor and the blue-green vinyl booths…definitely make the point!

There is even a little counter seating available for the truly nostalgic patron.  Note the Chevy grill and hood décor...

OK…what about the food?  I’m not an fan of onions or onion rings but everyone else at the table likes good onion rings.  Hot Rod 50’s rings are coated with beer batter before dropping them into the deep fryer.  The hand breading and the size and quality of the onion rings earned high praise from my dining companions.  Cost = $4.99.

Another appetizer is Loaded Fries, ($6.99), with a choice of hand-cut ribbon fries or French Fries…loaded with chili and cheese, brown gravy or cheese and bacon.  Then, among others, there are Fried Pickle Chips ($4.99), Fried Green Beans ($5.99) and Fried Jalapeno Bottle Caps ($4.99) Perhaps you noticed a theme here…’Fried’… This is indeed a retro restaurant that, much to our delight, ignores current health conscious trends.

For a second appetizer, I ordered the large order of Buffalo Shrimp. (16 shrimp for $9.99) The choices for the sauce were mild, medium, hot or Flame Thrower.  The waitress warned me that the Flame Thrower was very hot and since I didn’t want to suffer and since this appetizer was to share, I just ordered hot. (Bev, Laurie and I like a bit of heat)

Holy Mary and Joseph!!  These weren’t just hot…they were HOT!  I can’t even imagine the Flame Thrower version… Bev ate just one, Laurie just smelled the ‘heat’ and I ended up eating the rest myself.  It took a full day to recover…but I couldn’t just let them go to waste.

OK… If you’re from the Midwest, you’re very familiar with a pork tenderloin sandwich.  They consist of a piece of tenderloin that has been pounded thin and flat, then breaded and fried…then served on a toasted bun with lettuce and tomato, etc.  This was not a typical Midwestern pork tenderloin sandwich!  It was huge and by that, I mean thick too!  Consuming this sandwich was like eating a giant breaded pork chop on a bun.  It was a great sandwich…

This monster sandwich is listed on the menu uder "Specials".  It had a name…”The Hog”…and it cost only $6.99. 
There are 16 Classic Sandwiches on the menu… They range from $5.99 to $8.99 with one side.  Three of these sandwiches are open faced…hot turkey, pot roast and sliced roast beef. ($7.99) One special creation is the Thanksgiving Day Sandwich. ($8.99) It consists of fried turkey breast slices on Texas toast with stuffing and cheddar cheese…served with a side of cranberry sauce and gravy.

This was the least exciting as well as the smallest offering that any of us ordered.  Believe it or not, this is a Bacon Sloppy Joe with a side of Fried Okra. ($5.99) I struggle with the idea that this is called a Sloppy Joe… Its definitely not sloppy and it’s much smaller than the standard 10 oz. burgers served at Hot Rod 50’s.  Usually, a Sloppy Joe overflows the bun and they’re difficult to eat without a knife and fork.  Larry said that the flavor was ok…and he rated the Okra as ok too.

The menu at Hot Rod 50’s Diner is loaded with sandwiches.  There are a number of Hot Dogs…including the “Woody”, a deep fried foot long hot dog wrapped in bacon and American cheese. ($8.99)
A huge variety of hamburgers dominates the menu.  There are about 30 choices.  Some are very creative…or weird…depending on your viewpoint.  In addition to the double deck “King”, a 20 oz. monstrosity ($10.99), there is the Hot Dog Burger with a split hot dog on the standard 10 oz burger patty ($9.99); the Country Fried Burger, a burger topped with a 4 oz country fried steak with a side of peppered gravy ($9.99); the Peanut Butter Burger…a burger topped with peanut butter and chopped bacon ($8.99) and; the Pepperoni Burger, the burger patty mixed with pepperoni and topped with provolone cheese and marinara sauce. ($8.99) 

Did I forget the "Chubby" that's listed under Specials?  Its a Triple Deck Cheeseburger...30 oz. of beef plus 1 lb. of French Fries for only $16.99!  

Bev ordered this monstrosity…the Steak Hoagie. ($8.99) The sandwich included roast beef, peppers, onions, mushrooms and melted provolone cheese.  For her side, she ordered the shaved fried potatoes, aka ribbon fries.  Her only complaint was that the fried potatoes had been stacked on top of the hot sandwich and the heat made them soggy.  It would have been much better if they’d been on a separate plate…

Among the 10 Hoagies on the menu are an Italian, a Ham and Swiss, a French Dip, the Buffalo Chicken and a Shrimp Po’ Boy.  Prices range from $7.99 to $8.99.
Desserts... In addition to floats, ($2.49), shakes and malts, ($2.99), there is a dessert section on the menu.  What can I say!  Just think ‘Fried Twinkie Sundae’!  Yup…also fried! ($3.99)

Laurie ordered the diner’s version of a Chicken Pot Pie… ($7.99) While it was certainly big enough and the filling was very good, she would have preferred it with a pie crust instead of just being topped with 8 biscuit halves.

The Pot Pie was one of the 19 items listed under the Dinner Entrees segment of the menu.  These Dinner Entrée offerings included: Meatloaf ($8.99); Salisbury Steak ($9.99); Fried Chicken Livers ($8.99); Liver and Onions ($8.99); Grilled Salmon ($11.99) and; a Full Rack of BBQ Baby Back Ribs ($15.99).  There are also 6 Italian entrees on the menu.
Hot Rod 50’s Diner is a fun place.  It does hearken back to the days when we didn’t understand HDL/LDL, Triglycerides, or much else as regarded healthy eating.  It is a great place for that occasional and satisfying ‘pig out’!  Service was great…friendly and very accommodating.  The ambiance was what one would expect for a 50’s diner.  For the most part, the portions are huge and the pricing is very reasonable.  Our food ranged from ok to very good. 
We will return… For one thing, we forgot to use our Groupon coupon!  I want to try a hamburger and a shake.  Hot Rod 50’s Diner is located very close to downtown Maryville.  The address is 373 Hannum Street in Alcoa Tennessee.  Phone: 865-984-7171.  For more information on the Hot Rod 50’s Diner, just go to  
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing this guilt ridden meal with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. Pork tenderloin sandwich, very Indiana! Ahh memories...I had to laugh that you forgot to use your coupon!

  2. Bev's sister decided to try "The Hog" and was also apparently shocked at it's size, but she really liked it.

  3. Dear Dave, Now you sound excited about your food!!! This place sounds GREAT! I would love one near me. I agree with you...when I go out I don't want to worry about HDL/LDL/or HDTV! It sounds like you all had a good time. Too bad about Larry's dish...but I am sure you all shared! Even the desserts sound fun. And most importantly, everything sounds reasonable. I hope you enjoyed some good Elvis music too! Take care. I hope you and Laurie enjoy your weekend. Blessings, Catherine