Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Nick and J’s Café – Knoxville TN

Laurie heard about a restaurant that was mentioned on a local a television newscast.  When I checked it out on Trip Advisor, it came up as a winner with 81 excellent or very good reviews, just 3 average reviews and only 1 terrible rating.  Yelp and Google also yielded positive feedback. 

I liked the odds and it was definitely worth a try for lunch one day in early January…

Nick and J’s Café is located next to a gas station and a highway interchange.  From the outside it doesn’t look like anything special.  Laurie and I thought that this might have been a former Huddle House Restaurant…

The inside of Nick and J’s Café was just what one might expect for a diner style restaurant.  It was clean and bright and the staff was friendly when we stopped by for a mid-afternoon ‘lunch’.  Monday through Friday, this restaurant opens at 7 AM and closes at 4 PM.  On Saturday, they are open from 8 AM to 2 PM.

Given the hours they’re open, you would be right in assuming that Nick and J’s Café only serves breakfast and lunch.  One plus for me right up front was the Tabasco sitting on all the tables!

Unfortunately for us, breakfast is only served until 10:30 AM Monday through Friday and until 11 AM on Saturday.  We would have probably ordered breakfast for our late lunch if we could have…

The good news was that since we had to order off the lunch menu, we had to broaden our selection process beyond a basic breakfast.  Laurie went for the 8 oz. Mushroom Swiss Burger and Fries. ($7.99) The French fries were decent but the hand formed burger was excellent!  There were lots of mushrooms buried under that melted Swiss cheese… She was happy indeed!

The menu features 13 burgers plus add-ons such as bacon, city ham, jalapenos or a fried egg.  Monday through Friday Nick and J’s features 3 different daily Signature Lunch Specials.  For example, on Monday diners can chose between the Chicken and Dressing, the Meat Loaf or the Country Style Steak with Brown Gravy.  Each entrée comes with 2 vegetables and a roll or corn muffin. ($6.99)

I checked out the extensive items listed on the Specialty Board and the Sandwich Board…a total of 28 choices…not including the burgers!  My search revealed Pastrami Sandwich served on grilled marble rye bread with spicy mustard and Swiss cheese. ($7.75) The sandwich normally comes with French fries but I opted for the coleslaw instead…

The coleslaw was far better than average but the Pastrami Sandwich was truly top notch!  The secret is that the restaurant uses beef brisket to make his pastrami.  They don’t skimp on the meat either!  This was the best Pastrami Sandwich I’ve had anywhere in the mid-south…and I’ll be hard pressed to pass it up on our next visit. Laurie said SHE was going to try it next!

After our visit, it was easy for us to understand why this little diner is so highly rated.  They serve excellent diner food and it’s a real value too!  Nick and J’s Diner is located at 1526 Lovell Road in Knoxville Tennessee.  Phone: 865-766-5453.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for lunch!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. Sounds like a great find and easy to see why it had such good reviews. Gives me the urge to fire up the smoker and make some pastrami.

  2. Hi, Thanks for this one.. We've never heard of it---but I went to their website and looked at the menu... WOW---looks GREAT.... Sometimes the local restaurants which don't look like much on the outside, have the best FOOD... This one obviously is a WINNER.

    Thanks again...

  3. What lovely place David look vintage and so pretty!!
    Love it!