…continuing with our ‘adventures’ related to Laurie’s sister Bonnie and her sister’s husband Bill’s late winter visit to our home here in East Tennessee.
The “Old City”, located adjacent to the Knoxville’s downtown area, is really an historic neighborhood…that is part of the city’s core area. Originally it was part of a boisterous and vice-laden area known as “The Bowery”. It wasn’t part of Knoxville until the 1850s when the arrival of the railroad spurred the city leaders into action…and they annexed “The Bowery”. The arrival of the railroad brought many Irish immigrants and they opened the Old City’s first shops and saloons. After the Civil War, Knoxville’s Old City became one of the Southeastern USA’s largest wholesaling centers. This was where East Tennessee merchants and grocers came to stock up their store shelves.
By the early 1900s, Central Street…the main street through the Old City…was lined with saloons and brothels. Businesses left the area over the years as violent crime and prostitution became a problem. These issues persisted well into the 1960s. Finally, in 1986, redevelopment began to revive this area of town and today “Old Town” is home to restaurants, bars and restaurants, along with apartments and condos. The next step will be the construction of a new multi-use baseball stadium on the fringe of the area. Old Town is well on its way to gentrification…hopefully providing housing for some of the displaced.
When we saw this storefront, we recalled having amazing tamales made by Good Golly Tamale at the farmer’s market in Knoxville’s Market Square. At that point…actually years ago...they were selling them from a hot box attached to a ‘tricycle’. Back then they were making the tamales in a space they rented or borrowed from another local restaurant. We were unaware that they had since opened a store in Knoxville. Obviously we need to visit downtown Knoxville as well as the “Old City” more frequently.
Inside Good Golly Tamale, the décor is colorful…sort of a casual or shabby chic. Back in my earlier days, this look would have been termed as “hippy chic”. In any case, the décor fits the product as well as the neighborhood. Everything was neat, orderly and clean.
To bring everything into perspective…Good Golly Tamale debuted at Knoxville’s Market Square Farmer’s market in the early fall of 2013. It was a couple of years later when our foursome bought the tamales from that tricycle hot box.
Like so many fast food casual restaurants in this day and age, Good Golly Tamale’s customers order at the counter and pick up their food when it’s ready. The practice holds down costs, simplifies the operation and works better in our current labor market. (Sorry for the blurry picture of the counter)
The menu is equally simple. You can order tamales, tamales or tamales. Well, you could just order a side or two… Business must be good. This store has been open and selling tamales since 2015…8 years surviving on the sale of a filling of ground beef, beans, chicken, pork, cheese and a variety of vegetables wrapped in a soft corn ‘shell’ of masa and then finished wrapped in corn shucks/wrappers…
It was disturbing when we learned that the tricycle with its hot box had been stolen…never to be seen again.
OK…once again, sorry about the photos! We’d all started eating our tamales and salsa was applied before I remembered to take a photo or two. I will attest to the fact that we all loved our tamale choices!
Although we can’t claim to be tamale professionals, we’ve had enough tamales over the years to state that the taste and quality of a tamale starts with the corn masa that the meat and vegetables are wrapped up in… Quality ingredients make Good Golly Tamale’s customers come back for more… They use organic non-GMO corn masa and locally sourced meats and produce when they are available.
Good Golly Tamale is located at 112 South Central Street in Knoxville Tennessee. To learn more, go to https://goodgollytamale.com/.
Here are a couple of street views from one section of Knoxville’s Old Town area. Shops include wineries, breweries, restaurants and night clubs as well as specialty retailers. Young folks are flocking to the area and adapting to an urban lifestyle… Currently, builders and developers can’t keep up with demand.
The restaurant with the turret down at the end of the street in the second photo is The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro. It is very much a high-end ($$$$) establishment. Our own dining experience at Lonesome Dove back in 2019 wasn’t very positive but the restaurant is rated at between 4.5 and 4.7 on various rating sites so perhaps we just visited on a bad night. See their website at https://lonesomedoveknoxville.com/. That building dates back to 1888, when it was a saloon in a truly tough area of the city…
But now I digress…
I thought that I’d pay tribute to Regina, our United States Post Office mail carrier. She works hard and she is the best! However, we’re lucky she’s still on the job. She was in her delivery van when this huge branch crushed the front end…just missing her. She just suffered a couple of scratches and bruises. A couple of feet further back and she would have been seriously injured or worse. The USPS may not be perfect…but Regina is an exceptional mail carrier and our neighborhood is very happy that she is still following her daily route!
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave