This past weekend, my husband and I went on our first city food tour. We received 2 tickets for the Knoxville Food Tour from Experience Days. This was a 2 hour walking tour of several restaurants and food vendors in downtown Old City Knoxville. We got to experience several brand new to us local restaurants and sample food from the best Peanut Shoppe I’ve ever visited.
This may have been our first city food tour, but I’m already looking into taking another tour in other cities. This is a great way to experience and learn about the downtown cities and enjoy their best food offerings.
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Knoxville Food Tour Experience Day
We started our Knoxville Food Tour at the Visitors Center on Gay Street. I have driven through Knoxville many times over the past 20 years and even gone shopping, eaten in restaurants and visited family hundreds of times, but I rarely take the time to experience downtown Old City Knoxville.
The Visitors Center is the home to WDVX which hosts the Blue Plate Special with live music shows scheduled.
We tasted local BBQ meatballs, cheese spread, pizza from a local diner and specialty cupcakes from a local bakery – Cities Cupcakes Boutique! My favorite was the Richmond cupcake with peanut butter and Reese’s Pieces toppings!
We took time to visit The Peanut Shoppe in Market Square where there were over 30 varieties of flavored peanuts out for sampling. We tried salt & vinegar, hot pepper, dill pickle, wasabi, chocolate covered cashews, walnuts, almonds, toffee and more. I think my favorite was the White Chocolate Cashew Toffee!
We spent a few minutes at Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt where we were able to sample as many different flavors as we wanted. The Melting Pot in Old City Knoxville served us 2 different fondue cheese pots where we dipped different breads, fruits and vegetables. Then we ended the tour at Boyd’s Jig & Reel – one of my favorite stops. They served us Scottish Eggs and some of the best fish and tarter sauce I’ve ever tasted.
Knoxville Food Tour
Discover some of Knoxville’s most notable foodie districts for yourself as you enjoy gourmet fare and meet the people who bring this unique culinary scene together. Whether you are looking for fun things to do in Tennessee or a deliciously unique gift, this fun Knoxville Food Tour is the ticket!
Tips for this Food Tour
- Wear comfortable shoes. You will do quite a bit of walking so wear comfortable shoes.
- Take a bag to carry your loot. Some of the businesses give out coupons or menus. You also have the opportunity to buy from some of the merchants and you need to have something to easily tote your stuff.
- Take a camera to capture some of the unique things you find. On our tour we saw everything from protesters on parade, a zombie gathering, public art sculptures, historical architecture or more.
- Be ready to meet some new people and learn some history about the city. I never realized that Knoxville’s Gay Street was built up and there is an ‘underground’ area that houses apartments and basements for the local businesses. There are usually between 10-15 people on the tour with you. It is interesting to hear their stories and get the opportunity to interact with others who are interested in the city like you are.
- Not a tour for small children. This is not really a good activity for children. I don’t know if there are age restrictions but I’m one of those people who have taken our children on just about every activity we’ve ever enjoyed. But this was definitely more enjoyable without a stroller or children.
- This is a tasting tour, not a full meal. We finished the tour comfortably full, but this is not a sit-down restaurant experience at each of the stops. You get a taste at each tour stop and by the end of the day you have eaten a full meal, but don’t expect to get a full dish at any of the stops.
Is there anything I didn’t like or was disappointed in? Yes. I was really hoping that all the stops would be for the local diners and eateries. Instead, we stopped at 2 national chains. I can eat at those stops anywhere, USA. But it did work out well. I had been wanting to try one of the chain restaurants here in my home town and this gave me the opportunity to try it without having to wait till I had a night out at home. The tour stops are different based on which day you book your tour. So, it would be interesting to try the Sunday afternoon tour to be able to experience some different diners and restaurants.
Have you ever taken a food tour like this? What’s your favorite restaurant you discovered? I’d love to hear your favorite stories!