Friday, July 30, 2021

Visitors and a Series of History Related Tours (#1)

Our friends Gary, (one of my former high school/prep school classmates), and his wife, Belinda, had been roaming about on an extended road trip and we were the final stop on their agenda…  Given the fact that history and historic sites are a major point of interest for them, I planned a few appropriately focused days for us.

I took this photo of Gary and Belinda on our deck.  Of course, we weren’t on the road to historic sites all the time that they were here.  We spent lots of down time at our house, sharing stories and learning about each other’s life styles.  Life is a lot different in East Tennessee than it is in the high desert near Tucson Arizona! 

I kept the first day simple and close to home.  We started out at the Fort Loudoun State Historic Park.  This park covers 1,200 acres and it is the site of one of the earliest British fortifications on what was, in 1756, the western frontier.  Not only does the visitor’s center provide information and a chance to visit the Fort’s gift and book shop, it also offers lots of information on the area’s history.  FYI…although donations are appreciated, admission to the Visitor’s Center and the Fort itself is free!

The Fort Loudoun Visitor’s Center is really a mini museum that serves to provide a bit of background for the fort and what life was like for those that lived here.  The visitor’s experience starts with a 15 minute introductory film but then one can tour the exhibits of artifacts recovered from the site as well as period pieces from that era.

In the photo above, one can spot the famous or infamous ‘red coat’ uniform worn by the British during the time the fort was in existence.  Among other items, the display case to the left contains a “Brown Bess”, the standard issue .75 caliber musket used during this era.  Accurate to only about 100 yards at the most, the “Brown Bess” was supported by light cannons and “wall guns”, both shown in the photo.  Basically, a wall gun was just a beefed up musket that had up to a 1 inch, 25.4 caliber bore and filled the gap between the cannons and the standard firearm.

I included this photo showing a model of the fort just to give some overview of the fort itself…something that is hard to capture with a camera unless its drone mounted.  The area encompassed by the fort is really quite large.

What caused the fort to be built in the first place?  During the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763) the British Colony of South Carolina felt threatened by French activities in the Mississippi Valley.  So, to counter the threat, the Colony sent the Independent Company of South Carolina to build and man what became Fort Loudoun.

Why all the concern?  Well, like almost everything else now and then, it came down to commerce and trade.  The addition of the fort helped to ally the Overhill Cherokee Nation with South Carolina and guarantee that trade would continue as normal between the Cherokee and South Carolina.

British traders provided European goods to the Cherokee.  These items included kettles, textiles, scissors, knives, guns, ammunition, metal hatchets, hoes, brick tea (see above), beads and other trinkets while the Native Americans provided deerskins, beeswax and river cane baskets.

After leaving the Vistor’s Center, the path wanders through some trees before it emerges near the fort’s ‘sally-forth’ or “sally port” on the land side portion of the fort.  There were several huge trees along the way…some perhaps as old as the fort itself.  I couldn’t resist my photo op!  I love anything that makes me look small!

FYI, a ‘sally port’ or ‘sally forth’ is any small defensible opening in a fort’s perimeter through which troops or other personnel regularly enter and exit the fortification.

This is a broad view of one section of Fort Loudoun.  The fort and its close by areas of historical significance occupies about 50 acres in the Park itself.  There is a block house located just across Tellico Lake from the fort.  This British stronghold, on what was then the frontier of the colonies, was named after the Earl of Loudoun, who was the commander of British forces in North America at the time.  Keep in mind that back in the late 1750s, this strategic fort overlooked the Little Tennessee River...and the lake didn't exist. 

Visiting Fort Loudoun during “Garrison weekends” is the best way to visualize life at the Fort during the French and Indian War.  There are daily demonstrations of artillery and musketry, the infirmary, blacksmithing, wood working, laundry, leather working and other trades.  Garrison weekends are also free…the exception being the 18th Century Trade Faire.

However, during our visit, we were on our own as we checked out the barracks, shops, storehouses and other structures at Fort Loudoun.  Around the outside there are examples of defensive ditches, hedgerows, movable wooden spiked fences or “Cheveaux-de-Frise”…and even a guard house near the main gate.

Feelings between the garrison at Fort Loudoun and the local Cherokee were friendly at first but in 1758 hostilities arose between the Anglo-American settlers and the Native Americans.  After the massacre of several Cherokee chiefs who were being held hostage at another fort, the Cherokee laid siege to Fort Loudon in March of 1760.  Although the garrison held out for several months, dwindling supplies forced them to surrender in August of the same year.  Hostile Cherokees attacked the withdrawing garrison during its return to South Carolina…killing more than 2 dozen and taking most of the survivors as prisoners.  Many of these captives were ransomed… When the fort was next revisited by British troops, it had been destroyed.

Laurie and I have visited the fort when reenactors were spending the weekend living life as it had been back in the late 1750s.  Crowded into the cabins, with wool uniforms on the men, the ladies dressed in multi-layered clothes, insects, heat, etc., we could only imagine what the fort’s inhabitants experienced when the fort was active defending the frontier.  Those bunks look cozy don’t they!?  Imagine the bedbugs, lice and other nasties…

Mother Nature reclaimed the site and there wasn’t any public recognition of the fort until 1917.  Late that year the Colonial Dames of America placed a market at the site of the fort.  In 1933, the Tennessee General Assembly purchased the land and created the Fort Loudoun Association to manage it.  After archeological excavations were completed by the Works Progress Administration, the fort was reconstructed.  It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1965…and when Tellico Lake was created in 1979, the fort was once again reconstructed, this time high above the water levels of the new lake/dam impoundment.

To learn more about historic Fort Loudoun and the state park, just go to  

The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum is located just across the road from the Fort Loudoun State Historic Park.  In this case, the museum is a property of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians.  The goal of this museum is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the history of the Cherokee people.  This museum was built in 1986 on the shores of Tellico Lake but it had been several years since we’d visited and it had been totally renovated with a new exhibit being installed in 2018.

The featured exhibit is entitled “The Story of Sequoyah”.  He was born ca. 1776 at the village of Tuskeegee, a village which was located near where the museum is today.  Sequoyah’s father was a Virginia fur trader and his mother, Wut-the, was the daughter of a Cherokee Chief.

Sequoyah was born into changing times.  European traders and settlers were moving into the land causing conflict and interrupting the Cherokee’s way of life. He adapted to the changes, marrying another Cherokee and becoming a silversmith by trade.  Sequoyah and many other Cherokees even enlisted on the side of the United States and fought under General Andrew Jackson to fight British troops and their Creek Indian allies in the War of 1812.

He’d been exposed to the concept of writing early in his life, but Sequoyah never learned the English alphabet.  However, he’d observed that white soldiers could write letters to their families, read military orders and record observed events while the Cherokee could not… When the war was over, his thoughts about Cherokee literacy blossomed into a full-blown effort to create a writing system for his people. 

Sequoyah’s quest was a single-minded focus on solving the mystery of the “talking leaves” (alphabetic letters).  He spent years almost alone, facing social derision, tribal suspicion, enduring a family rebellion…but he was determined to create a written language for the Cherokee

After many efforts…and almost as many failures…Sequoyah reduced the thousands of Cherokee thoughts to an alphabet consisting of 85 symbols which represented different sounds.

Sequoyah’s next quest was to convince the Cherokee leaders that his new language was actually functional…and that it could help the tribe more positively communicate and deal with changing times.  He started out by making a game of the new writing system and teaching it to his daughter Ayoka.  After 12 years of trials and tribulation, Sequoyah used Ayoka to help demonstrate the language to tribal leaders and that changed their attitudes!  They bought into his alphabet and their new written Cherokee language.

Although Sequoyah didn’t have a formal education, he combined his Cherokee heritage, his skills as a silver artisan and his hopes for the Cherokee people…and translated the sounds of the Cherokee spoken language into symbols that his people could easily understand and learn.  In just a few months after Sequoyah and Ayoka introduced the written language to tribal leaders, the Cherokee began using his syllabary to change themselves into a literate society. 

The Cherokee syllabary was introduced to the Cherokee Nation is 1821.  By 1825, much of the Bible and many hymns had been translated into Cherokee.  By 1828, they were publishing the “Cherokee Phoenix”, the first national bi-lingual newspaper, along with numerous religious pamphlets, educational materials and legal documents.  Within 5 years, the Cherokee literacy rate surpassed that of surrounding European-American settlers.

It was quite an accomplishment!  In the history of the world, no one other than Sequoyah, who himself wasn’t literate in any language, perfected a system for reading and writing an existing spoken language.  To recognize his accomplishments, the Cherokee Nation awarded a silver metal to him that was created in this honor, as well as a lifetime literary pension.  He served his people as a statesman and diplomat until his death in 1843.

It is said that Sequoyah’s work has had international influence, encouraging the development of at least 21 syllabaries impacting perhaps as many as 65 languages in North America, Africa and Asia.

To learn more about Sequoyah you can just go to:  For more information about the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum here in Eastern Tennessee, go to

That’s about it for now.  We will continue with our historical adventures with Gary and Belinda in my next post! 

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

More Exploring plus Greek Dining

…continuing with our day trip down to southeastern Tennessee and the Cleveland Tennessee area.  There was more to see in Cleveland, plus I had a destination in mind that was on our way home where we could stop for an early dinner.

This is historic St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, located at Ocoee and Central Streets NW in Cleveland.   This Gothic Revival-style church was built in 1873 and, given that fact, it is one of the city’s oldest building as well as the second oldest church in town.  The church building features stained glass windows, intricately carved wooden arches and that 3 story bell tower.

The building was established by John Craigmiles, a member of St. Albans, the church which had preceded St. Luke’s.  It was built in the memory of his 7-year old daughter Nina.  She was killed by a passing train while riding in her carriage on St. Luke’s Day in 1871.  If you remember my previous posting, downtown Cleveland also features the Craigmiles Opera House.

Along with the church, the family had that marble mausoleum built on-site to house the remains of Nina and the rest of the Craigmiles family.  Every year, the mausoleum is opened to visitors as a witness to Christ’s open tomb and as a reminder that one can look forward to the resurrection of the dead at the last day… 

The first home shown above is located at 340 Centenary Avenue in Cleveland.  It is a Colonial Revival style home that was built ca. 1910.  The second home…which I thought was quite attractive…is in the same neighborhood.  The Centenary Avenue Historic District is one of the oldest in Cleveland Tennessee.  Homes in this area were built between 1850 and 1949.  But, in reality I included these homes and this historic district as a vehicle to lead into a ‘spooky’ story. 

The Centenary District of Cleveland was the object of national attention from 1980 until 1998.  A house owned by businessman Allan Jones, (founder of Check into Cash and CreditCorp and other entities), became the site of Halloween appearance by the famous “Tall Betsy” goblin…who stands over 7 feet 6 inches tall.  Jones actually started the “Tall Betsy” rage based on stories that he’d heard from his mother when he was growing up in Cleveland. 

Tall Betsy made annual appearances from 1980 until 1998.  According to Jones, the real “Tall Betsy” was a very tall woman who walked the streets of town in the 1920s.  She was always called Tall Betsy, Black Betsy or the Lady in Black.  The goblin became so popular that block parties were organized for the trick or treaters and in 1993 the Jones house set a world record by giving away 11,201 pieces of bubble gum between 5 PM and 8 PM.

After drawing a crowd of 25,000 in 1998, Jones ‘retired’ Tall Betsy and moved away from Centenary Avenue.  The goblin was said to have vanished forever to a mausoleum in the town’s Fort Hill Cemetery.  However, in 2005, Jones through a Block Party marking Tall Betsy’s 25th anniversary.  It drew more than 30,000 attendees and they were entertained by the cast of ‘Leave it To Beaver’ and musician Little Richard.

As we headed north along US 11/Lee Highway, toward the restaurant where I’d planned to have an early dinner, we passed this enormous mansion!  I’m guessing that this ‘home’ has quite a story to tell.  It was built in 2006 and for quite some time it was for sale…and listed as an ‘unfinished’ mansion.  The home sits on 6.26 acres of land and the living space for the house itself is listed at 13,837 sq. ft.  It has 2 kitchens, 4 fireplaces, 6 bedrooms (2 masters), 8 full baths and 2 half baths as well as a 5 car garage.

The original listing, which showed it to be unfinished, listed it for $985,000.  The most recent recorded sale of this home showed that it was purchased for $1,816,989.  Zillow estimates its current value at $2,205,000. 

No, this home is not the residence of William Allen Jones… This controversial entrepreneur still lives in the Cleveland area but his home and property are much larger than this.  Jones is worth something north of $500 million.  FYI, one of his neighbors is Forrest Lee Preston, the founder of Life Care Centers of America.  His net worth exceeds $1.2 billion.

We continued on north along US Hwy 11 toward an early dinner and eventually, our home.  Our destination for dinner was a café that makes up part of the Silver Springs Vineyards and Event Center in Riceville Tennessee.  While we didn’t venture into this building at the site, we assumed that it is the event center…

The Parthenon Pavilion is home to wine tasting and the Greek Café.  The interior of the Café is very casual…with lots of wood and plastic chairs paired with a bit of industrial style lighting.  We were a bit surprised with the chairs but in the end, it almost always comes down to the quality of the food presented in any restaurant…casual or formal.

The cake/bakery display cases reminded both of us of the giant cases of Greek bakery products that we used to see in many of the Greek corner restaurants that we used to frequent in the Chicago area.  Looked great!

In addition to a printed menu, these 2 menu boards provided other glimpses of the variety of offerings available at the Café.  The fact is that we were here for just one thing…real Greek food.  We stuck to the printed version... 

Laurie started with the Klassiki Salata or Classic Greek Salad. ($9.00) This salad was made with a mix of spring greens, imported Greek feta cheese and olives along with beets, pepperoncini, red onions, green peppers and cucumbers…all served with the Café’s homemade Greek olive oil vinaigrette dressing and pita bread.  As an option, diners could add grilled chicken or gyros to the salad for another $5.00.  Laurie kept her salad simple…but I did have to 'help her' with that giant slab of feta cheese.

We were starved for genuine Greek cuisine…so I started out with one of my favorites…Avgolemono Soup. ($4.95) This thick rice soup consists of a nice broth loaded with chicken, lemon and egg…and it’s served with pita bread.  Truly, this was a meal in itself!  It was very good and I was worried that now I’d be too full to enjoy my entrée. 

One of the entrees that I’ve missed most since leaving Chicago was what I call Greek Lemon Chicken.  At the Café, it is listed as a Roast Half Chicken. ($14.00) This half organic chicken is served with roasted lemon potatoes, a small Greek Salad and pita bread…and it was sided with more pita bread.  The roasted chicken with lemon was nice and moist!  It was an excellent choice!  I did end up taking a big hunk of the chicken home with me…way too much food! 

Laurie and I had both been dying to find some real Greek style gyros.  Consequently, Laurie went for the Gyro Sandwich or wrap…siding hers with an order of pickled beets instead of French fries.  The gyros sandwich was served with homemade Tzatziki sauce.  It was all good…with the big difference between Riceville Tennessee and Chicago Illinois being the Tzatziki sauce.  The chef/owner’s version was his grandfather’s and it didn’t include very much garlic in the recipe. 

We were quite full and very content when we left the Greek Café at Silver Springs Vineyards, headed north to our home.  It was a very nice meal.  Now we just have to return for more Greek food and to sample their wines…

Silver Springs Vineyards and Event Center (with the Greek Café), is located at 3725 Highway 11S in Riceville Tennessee.  The restaurant and tasting center is open from 11 AM until 8 PM Tuesday through Saturday and they are open for brunch on Sundays…from 11 AM until 2:30 PM.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 

Monday, July 26, 2021

Just Exploring…

Laurie wanted to go to a ‘vendor event’ near Cleveland Tennessee so she could pick up some health and beauty products from her favorite goat farmer…and just to see what the event was all about.  I thought that it was a great idea too, yet another reason to explore parts of East Tennessee.

This vendor event was held at JNK Farms at 1685 Walker Valley Road.  Lots of folks showed up to check out the various vendor booths set up in a field across from each other.  A food truck, “The Hungry Hippy”, was providing refreshments.  There was so much traffic when we arrived that a couple of people were providing guidance for parking…

It turns out that JNK Farm is more than a farm.  The JNK Farm Boutique is a year around shopping destination.  The website states “From our farm to your home…a variety of home décor, painted furniture and antiques, with a great Southern/farmhouse style.  Laurie’s efforts to buy an item she liked in this store was foiled as she decided to check out the vendor’s booths before making her purchase.  When she returned to buy the item she wanted, there was a long, long line checking out so she gave up the idea…

FYI…the JNK website is found at:

Here is Laurie with Suzanne from Udder Joy Farms… Suzanne and her family have been raising goats and producing various products for 15 years now.  They moved to East Tennessee from California…definitely a good move!

Udder Joy Farms markets their products in local shops, directly from their farm and via on-line orders.  Their artisanal products include creams, soaps, an anti-itch stick, therapeutic oils, lip balm, insect repellent, body and face scrubs…and more.  Website:  

Once we were finished at JNK Farms, we headed over to nearby Charleston Tennessee to check out a couple of historic properties.  This is the Henegar House.  It’s located at 428 Market Street and it was built in 1849, making it the oldest surviving brick structure in Bradley County Tennessee.  The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

This Federal style home was built on the former site of the military headquarters of General Winfield Scott at Fort Cass.  Henry Benton Henegar was the wagon master and secretary under Chief John Ross during the ‘Cherokee Removal’ to Oklahoma, also known as the ‘Trail of Tears’.

During the Civil War, the home was used as headquarters for both Union and Confederate generals…including William T. Sherman.  Most of East Tennessee including Bradley County had voted against secession and sympathized with the Union. 

According to historic records, the back porch of the Henegar House was the site of a tense conversation between Mrs. Henegar and General Sherman.   The General advised Mrs. Henegar, who was a supporter of the Confederacy, to leave the South for safety…claiming that “not even a bird would remain” in the south once he was finished.  Mrs. Henegar rejected Sherman’s advice and they didn’t leave their home.  Mr. Henegar was a Unionist…that had to make for some interesting dinner conversations!

Our next stop was the Charleston Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Railroad Street in Charleston… The church was built in 1860 in the Greek revival style.  I love those windows!  During the Civil War…in 1863…Confederate forces used the church as hospital.  Later, Federal troops used the building while they were stationed in the area.  Fifty years after the Civil War, the Federal Government paid the congregation damages totaling $424.00.  The congregation peaked at 120 members in 1890.  The churchyard and cemetery is enclosed by a 1910 cobblestone wall.  Many of the graves are from the 1800s…

Charleston has a population of about 697.  The town began as a trading post in 1819.  It was located in the Ocoee District prior to the organization of Bradley County in 1836.  It was the first white settlement in the county and it’s one of the oldest towns in southeast Tennessee.  FYI, Charleston was the first city in Tennessee to elect a black mayor and the first city to appoint a black police chief.   

This depot…or railway facility…is located right across the road from the Charleston Cumberland Presbyterian Church.  I was hoping for an old depot but this newer building didn’t fit my wishes.  More on the critical history of area railroads will follow later in this post.

This cypress grove or swamp in the middle of Charleston certainly grabbed our attention.  This haunting little forest is one of the very few cypress groves in Tennessee.  Plans are underway to connect a walkway in the grove to a new trail behind the Hiwassee River Heritage Center. 

To learn more about the Hiwassee River Heritage Center, its programs and goals, go to

Moving on to Cleveland Tennessee… Craigmiles Hall was built in 1878 on Cleveland’s town square.  This iconic building once served as the social center of the city…with businesses on the first floor and the ‘opera house’/entertainment venue located on the second floor.

In a related bit of history, Tennessee has its own song, titled “The Diplomat”.  The song was composed by marching band king John Philip Sousa.  “The Diplomat” was played for the first time over 110 years ago when Sousa performed it at Craigmiles Hall. 

The Banner building was built in 1854.  The Cleveland Banner newspaper was founded here in that same year.  Although the paper’s offices have moved, what is now called the Cleveland Daily Banner, is one of Tennessee’s oldest newspapers.

The newspaper was founded on May 1, 1854.  The editor was a supporter of the Confederacy during the Civil War.  He was arrested by Federal troops in the fall of 1863 and the paper ceased publication.  It wasn’t out of business very long though.  The former owner resumed the newspaper’s publication in September of 1865. 

Cleveland’s downtown area, referred to as the “Cleveland Commercial Historic District, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The listing includes a total of 65 structures, mostly built between the 1850s and the 1960s.  To me these older architectural styles are the most interesting.

Cleveland’s Southern Railway Depot featuring Craftsman style details was built ca. 1911.  Not too long ago, the depot was purchased by the Southeast Tennessee Human Resources Agency. (SETHRA) Their goal was to restore the depot as per the US Department of Interior’s standards for rehabilitation.  The best news from my viewpoint is that SETHRA has restored the terra cotta tile roof… On the negative side, there were so many small buses and vans parked around the depot, it was hard to photograph...

At the onset of the American Civil War in 1860, Bradley County voted 2 to 1 not to secede from the Union.  Actually, like the rest of East Tennessee, there was an effort to seek independent statehood from the Confederate middle and western portion of the state.  However Confederate forces seized East Tennessee with many Unionist fleeing north or going into hiding.   

It was all about trains and rail lines… The only copper mine in the south was in nearby Polk County and the Confederacy desperately needed this resource.  Copper was brought to Cleveland, put on trains and then distributed throughout the south.  With authorization of President Abraham Lincoln, a local minister proposed to destroy 9 strategic railway bridges.  They managed to destroy 5 of them including the nearby Hiwassee River Bridge.  Unfortunately the Union Army failed to make a timely move into East Tennessee and the sabotage was in vain.  Those involved were arrested for treason by Confederate forces and were executed.

I included this photo of a building with figures posed in upper windows just because I thought that the idea was very whimsical.  The building is just across from the former Cleveland Railway Depot.

Cleveland Tennessee was named in honor of Revolutionary War Hero Benjamin Cleveland from North Carolina.  Part of the reason was that many Tennesseans hoped to attract the favor of a prominent North Carolinian family.  Despite this attempt at a form of ‘bribery’, General Cleveland was worthy of the honor.  He commanded North Carolina’s militia during the Revolutionary War with his most notable heroic actions taking place at the Battle of King’s Mountain.

I include this photo of the building occupied by the “5 Points Café’ because I liked it’s off the beaten track location and the fact that it seemed really popular.   After going on-line to check their menu, I would definitely give this restaurant a try!  Website:

Despite the damage done during the Civil War, Cleveland recovered rapidly.  In the 1870’s, the town grew quickly and it became one of the first cities in Tennessee to actually develop industry.  The nearby copper mines reopened and by 1878, they produced more than 12,000 tons of copper!  Other businesses included the Hardwick Stove Company, the Cleveland Woolen Mills and the Cleveland Chair Company.  By 1890, the city supported 9 doctors, 12 attorneys, 11 general stores, 14 grocery stores, 3 drug stores, 3 hardware stores, 6 butcher shops, 2 hat makers, 2 hotels, a shoe store and 7 saloons!

This is the old Sandia Hosiery Mill…another structure featured on the National Register of Historic Places.  Located at 140 Edwards Street, the mill was built in 1926.  This major local employer was originally called the Cherokee Hosiery Mill and was best known for producing “Famous Baby Bootie Sock” under the Humpty Dumpty brand name.  The mill also produced “Bobby Socks”.  All production took place in the mill…knitting, sewing, dying, packaging and shipping.  While most mills had closed by the 1990s, Sandia Hosiery Mills continued to operate until 2000…  

Today the city of Cleveland Tennessee has a population of over 45,500 residents.  While the city is only Tennessee’s 14th largest city, it is home to 13 Fortune 500 manufacturers and has the 5th largest industrial economy in the state…

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Friday, July 23, 2021

Revisiting Z Fish House

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, we hadn’t dined at Z Fish House in Loudon Tennessee in more than 2 years.  A seafood restaurant in a small town in East Tennessee can be a hard sell, that’s for sure.  During our previous visits, our usual menu choices were fried catfish and shrimp although we did try a couple of fresh fish menu items and they were quite good.

Partly due to the pandemic and due to the limited demand for fresh seafood in this small town about 25 miles south of Knoxville, owners Ed and Melissa Ziems were really struggling.  Quality suffered as the business’s sales slide further into red ink on their ledger.

The solution?  Along came Robert Irvine and the Food Channel’s “Restaurant: Impossible”.  Chef Irvine’s efforts took place in February of this year and our visit was in May as the area opened up with the pandemic’s restrictions being lifted.

Sorry for the poor photo of the exterior of Z Fish House, but my camera has a hard time with glaring sunlight…and/or I’m just not a talented photographer.

This photo of the dining area reflects the fact that although the décor is still simple, it has been enhanced with lighting, framed photos, etc.  Overall, it felt cleaner and more inviting than on our previous visits.

The fried catfish, shrimp and other basic items such as burgers, a steak offering, etc. are no longer on the menu.  While we both love fried catfish and shrimp, we also love good seafood.  The basic menu is much simpler and shortened than on our visits 2 years or more ago.  The specials on the chalk board added quite a bit of variety though…

Laurie started out with a bowl of Conch Chowder. ($10.00) It was a little spicy with lots of flavor going on…and Laurie thought it was great.  I had some of her chowder as well and I concurred with her opinion!

It’s worthy to note that Ed, the chef and owner, had spent many years working in restaurants in the Florida Keys so he had lots of experience in the preparation of fresh seafood.

For my appetizer, I chose the Sesame Shrimp with Brussel Sprouts and ginger wasabi cocktail sauce. ($12.00) It was an amazing dish!  Wonderful!  One of the best shrimp offerings I’ve ever had and much different too…

After that big bowl of conch chowder, Laurie decided that she couldn’t do justice to an entrée so to cap off her dining experience, she ordered an appetizer instead.  Her choice was this plate of luscious Coconut Shrimp with slaw and a special cocktail sauce. ($14.00)  It was another great choice!

For my entrée, I chose the Swordfish Milanese with an herb crust, arugula, capers and tomatoes. ($21.00) It normally comes with olives as well, but I had them left off…just not my thing.  My entrée was attractively plated and the portion was plentiful and it is one of Z Fish House’s best sellers, but the overall seasoning was just too bland for my taste. 

We were too full for desserts but we 'had to' order a couple of slices of Key Lime Pie to take home. ($6.00 each) After relaxing and giving our dinners some time to settle, we had our slices of pie.  It was very good indeed.

We would heartily recommend Z Fish House to those who really appreciate fresh well prepared seafood!  This restaurant is located at 846 Mulberry Street in Loudon Tennessee.  Phone: 865-657-6200.  Their website can be found at Home | Z Fish House and they are on Facebook at ZFishHouse - Home | Facebook. 

To view Robert Irvine’s segment about Z Fish House on “Restaurant Impossible”, just go to Floundering Fish House | Restaurant: Impossible (

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave