We decided to have an early dinner at Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen in Knoxville. I usually avoid large chains but Laurie really likes Cheddar's and she’d been wanting to go back again as it has been quite a while since our last visit to any Cheddar's restaurant.
This is the front of the Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen on Kingston Pike in Knoxville. (The chain was formerly known as Cheddar's Casual Café)
Cheddar's was founded in 1979 and it now has over 171 company owned or franchised locations spread across 28 states. Cheddar's has been owned by Darden Restaurants since 2017. Darden also owns and operates other popular restaurant chains such as Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille to name a few.
These photos of the bar and a small section of the dining areas was taken in mid-afternoon on a weekday. Trust me, during lunch and dinner dining hours, we’ve never seen a Cheddar's that wasn’t packed with folks!
FYI, my wife loves those ceiling fans. If you have ever visited a restaurant called the Bombay Bicycle Club, that’s where we first saw this type of fan.
This is part of the huge fish tank that separates the bar area from the dining areas. Fish tanks like this is a major decorative feature at Cheddar's. They are very appealing to the eye but I can’t imagine the maintenance it takes to keep these bit tanks clean and functioning!
We both started our early dinner with a very nice cup of Broccoli and Cheese Soup. ($3.49) We liked this soup so much that when we got home Laurie researched and found the Cheddar's recipe for it on line!
Laurie ordered a dinner salad for her entrée. This was her Crispy Chicken Tender Salad. ($9.29) Hand-breaded sliced chicken tenders, fresh greens, cheddar and jack cheese, tomatoes and carrots combined to make this salad large and tasty. Laurie isn’t a big fan of iceberg lettuce though, so she’d probably order a different salad the next time. She loved that flaky honey-butter drizzled croissant though…
The Crispy Chicken Tender Salad comes with Honey Mustard salad dressing but our they put Cheddar's Caesar dressing on it by mistake. She offered to correct her error and brought honey mustard dressing to the table just in case… However, it was a happy mistake and Laurie decided that the Caesar dressing was more to her liking anyway. She couldn’t finish this big salad but the remainder made for a nice lunch the next day.
I ordered a side Caesar salad with my entrée. ($.99 with the entrée) It was very nice and just the right size with plenty of Caesar dressing throughout… I’d take a couple of bites out of my tasty croissant before taking the photo.
So back to Laurie’s entrée. What is a chicken ‘tender’? Technically, a chicken tender or tenderloin is a strip of breast meat that is part of the breast but not really connected so that it can be separated and used as it is. The Puritan Restaurant in Manchester New Hampshire claims to have invented the chicken tender. However, on December 10, 1982, fried chicken tenders first appeared on a menu at the Sheraton-Aurora Inn in Aurora Ohio. By 1987, Banquet Foods was marketing 9 oz. packages of chicken tenders and the rest, as they say, is history!
I ordered the Country Fried Chicken as my entrée. ($11.49) The hand-battered chicken breasts (too large to be ‘tenders’) were served on a slice of Texas toast topped with a white gravy. It was served with mashed potatoes and Southern style green (Italian) beans. I skipped almost all of the mashed potatoes as it was overkill given the salad and croissant.
The potatoes were OK, the beans were good and so was the fried chicken. The white gravy was ‘just there’ and didn’t add much flavor to anything. (Bland for the masses?) A bottle of Tabasco saved the day! I certainly got a lot for the money! I brought home one of those chicken breasts for a future breakfast…but that’s another story.
This particular Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen Restaurant is located at 8390 Kingston Pike in Knoxville Tennessee. Phone: 865-851-923. The company’s website is at https://cheddars.com/.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave