But we knew that Willie’s original restaurant in Seymour on Chapman Highway had ceased being Willie's as we knew it and is now open as his 'pizza only restaurant' and he had opened a replacement in another location just up the road from his first place. It was past time to check it out and determine if the food we liked so much had made a successful transition…
This is the sign out in front of Willie’s new restaurant in Seymour… We love Willie’s for its Italian cuisine but the sign’s only reference to Italian food is the spaghetti on the chef’s fork…
The original Willie’s Restaurant was kind of hard to spot at the end of a small strip shopping center a couple of miles down the road, (US Hwy. 441), that leads from Knoxville to Sevierville. This ‘new’ location, (that has housed at least 3 other restaurants), is an attractive large stand-alone building…all brick…and with the sign out front, it isn’t hard to find.
Willie’s new Seymour location is more than double the size of the original Restaurant! It has a log cabin interior with lots of space between tables. At the first location, if we’d arrived at dinner time, we would have had to wait. This place can handle the volume!
The restaurant has a friendly family orientated vibe... The log walls don’t make one think, “Eureka! Italian Cuisine”, but we didn’t let that divert us from our goal! We hoped that the menu hadn’t changed too much…
As it turned out, the menu is pretty much the same as pertains to the Italian selections. That was very good news as far as we were concerned!
To view Willie’s full menu for Seymour and Sevierville, just click on https://www.facebook.com/pages/WILLIES-RESTAURANT/128199593345?sk=app_205205622890888.
The single biggest change at this new location is the salad bar. At Willie’s former Seymour restaurant, your salad was delivered to you pre-made and chilled in a small salad bowl…along with a plastic container with your choice of salad dressings. We always thought that the salad, which was perfectly acceptable, could be improved on.
FYI…please note…that hand is not in the cheese. That gentleman is simply reaching for the tongs so he can add tomatoes to his salad…
The salad bar is a significant improvement vs. the pre-made salads! The base is romaine lettuce and then there are tomatoes, cheese, olives, beets, cottage cheese, peas, garbanzo beans, jalapeno slices, cucumbers, peach slices, strawberries, homemade croutons (very good!), as well as 6 different kinds of salad dressing.
The important thing to remember is that the salad bar comes with your dinner entrees… Don’t fill up on the salad!
Dinner also comes with garlic bread knots that are made from Willie’s pizza dough… We like them so much that we ate all but this one before we remembered to take a photo! Incidentally, the marinara sauce that comes with the bread knots is unnecessary…but excellent too!
We decided to try an appetizer…not too smart considering what we ordered for dinner…way too much food when you add in our trip to the salad bar! In any case, these are the Bacon-Shrimp Skewers. ($7.99) There were 6 large shrimp wrapped in Applewood Bacon, served with a sweet chili sauce. The appetizer was perfectly satisfactory…plump shrimp, not overcooked, with lots of crispy bacon. However, in hindsight we would have preferred the Fried Calamari. ($7.99)
This is Laurie’s favorite entrée at Willie’s! It’s the Maine Lobster Ravioli. ($10.99) It was every bit as good as ever…and there were at least 8 ravioli…more than enough to sate Laurie’s appetite! It’s all about the sauce… As we headed home, Laurie once again 'discussed the possibility' of maybe someday trying something else from Willie’s menu.
Service was friendly and efficient. We asked our waiter to take his time serving the appetizer and the entrees and he paced things nicely. The wait staff still helps each other clearing dishes, bringing out food…as they did in the old location. The food was very good indeed…and with the addition of the salad bar, the value of what you get for your money is top notch!
Now I personally have tried a few different Italian entrees from the menu… For example, I really like the penne pasta with Willie’s excellent meat sauce and his top quality plus size meatballs. But, I must admit that my favorite item on the menu, as shown above, is the Shrimp Fra-Diavlo! ($8.99) I always stress that I would like my sauce a bit extra spicy…and the chef always gets it right. There were 9 shrimp in this plate of goodness…and I scrapped up the remaining sauce and ate it by itself when the pasta and shrimp were gone!
The big question is… Will Laurie and I ever try anything on Willie’s menu that isn’t Italian? There are dinner salads, sandwiches, burgers, a pork chop, several steaks, seafood dinners, chicken dinners and oven-baked subs…and I must admit that neither of us have even tried, tasted or have even been tempted to try any of these non-Italian offerings. Maybe next time…and that next visit will be very soon!
Willie’s Restaurant in Seymour Tennessee is located at 10321 Chapman Highway (US Hwy. 441). Phone: 865-773-0170. The Sevierville location is at 737 Dolly Parton Parkway. Phone: 865-428-5002. Willie’s Pizza Parlor is at 11612 Chapman Highway (US Hwy. 441) also in Seymour. Phone: 865-773-0180. For more information, go to http://www.willies-restaurant.com/.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing our love for good food at good prices!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave