Back in early 2016, we’d stopped by a local restaurant that was well regarded by the locals. We’d had a positive experience on our first visit. Recently I realized that we hadn’t been there in a long time…and decided it was time to give it another try.
This is Nick and J’s Café and Diner. It occupies an old Huddle House location at the highway interchange for the Pellissippi Parkway (TN Hwy. 162) and Lovell Road just a couple of miles north of I-40.
I checked the ratings for Nick and J’s before our return just to see how the dining public felt about this diner. Yelp had 164 reviews with 88.4% of them giving the restaurant 4 or 5 stars. Only 6.1% gave it 1 or 2 stars. Then I looked at TripAdvisor. They had recorded 540 reviews…94% of which graded their experience as excellent or very good and 1.9% rating theirs as terrible or poor. Similar results were noted on Zomato/Urban Spoon.
I found it interesting that on TripAdvisor Nick and J’s Café and Diner was ranked sixth overall among all 904 restaurants in Knoxville!
The interior of Nick and J’s hadn’t changed a bit since our last visit. It definitely has that diner feel. Considering that it was about 2 pm, the place was quite busy. Maryville’s East Tennessee Knockouts Girls Softball Team and their coaches and supporters were enjoying a post-game victory luncheon.
Najwan Natour is the owner and operator of this restaurant. It was named after his children, Nicholas and Jordan. This is a family affair…with Najwan’s father, mother and wife also assisting with the operation. This is Najwan’s third successful restaurant in Knoxville.
After a couple of false starts, I ordered a medium rare ‘Hot for the City Hamburger” with Jalapenos, hot mayo spread and cheddar cheese sauce along with a side of French fries. ($8.25) It was an excellent hamburger. I believe it was Najwan himself who stopped by our table to ensure that my burger was medium rare. He’d grilled it and it was perfect! The fries were fine.
However…just a little on the negative side. My first choice for lunch was a Tuesday special, the Chicken Fried Steak with Sausage Gravy, 2 vegetables and a roll or corn muffin. ($6.99) The waitress told me that they were out of sausage gravy… So then I went to plan “B” and ordered the Old Style Hot Roast Beef Sandwich on 2 pieces of white bread with gravy and 2 vegetables…one of latter being the oven roasted potatoes. ($8.25) Najwan had rejected his order of roast beef because it was too fatty so it was off the menu for the day. They had the roasted potatoes earlier in the day but as per our waitress, they’d run out of them. Double bummer!
Looking back at my previous review of Nick and J’s, I discovered that on that visit, I’d ordered the Pastrami Sandwich. In East Tennessee, a good pastrami sandwich is hard to find so on this occasion, Laurie repeated my order from the previous visit. Nick and J’s Pastrami Sandwich is served on grilled marble rye bread with spicy mustard and Swiss cheese. The keys to the top notch quality of this sandwich are the use of great beef brisket plus the fact that they grill the bread for that extra something.
Laurie was very happy with her sandwich! There was plenty of pastrami and lots of flavor… I also noted that in the 3.5 years since we last dined at Nick and J’s, the price for the Pastrami Sandwich with French fries had stayed the same…only $7.75! All of the prices at Nick and J’s are more than reasonable. Its ‘cheap eats’ with quality food!
I can assure you that we’ll return to Nick and J’s at least one more time this year… I need to try that chicken fried steak with sausage gravy and the old time open face roast beef sandwich!
Nick and J’s Café and Diner is located at 1526 Lovell Road in Knoxville Tennessee. They are open from 7 AM until 4 PM Monday through Friday and from 8 AM until 2 PM on Saturday. Phone: 865-766-5453. Website: www.nickandjscafe.com.
Now onto one more food item. We recently had dinner at Thai Bistro in Loudon Tennessee. It is one of our preferred places to eat and I’ve written about it before. However, we’d never tried this dessert so I decided to include it in this posting.
Following a nice dinner, Laurie and I decided to share an order of Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango. ($7.00) It’s a seasonal dessert that is served with coconut milk and topped with sesame seeds. We were quite pleased with our choice. This dessert was sweet yet refreshing and it served as a palate cleanser following our spicy Thai entrees.
Thai Bistro is located at 222 Lakeside Plaza in Loudon Tennessee. It’s open for lunch from 11 AM until 3 PM and for dinner from 4 PM until 8 PM Tuesday through Sunday. Phone: 865-657-6440. Their website is at: https://www.thaibistrotellico.com/.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave