A Market Square Business Closes to End the Year

Trio, 13 Market Square, Knoxville, December 2017

For a spot that sits at the heart of who we are as a city, a place that we consider the center of whatever good has happened to Knoxville in recent years, Market Square showed a remarkable volatility in 2017. Do you realize that through the year two businesses closed (Cocoa Moon, Rita’s Ice) and three left the square (Local Motors, Bliss, Tori Mason Shoes)? New entries included the Knoxville Chocolate Company, Rock Paper Hair Studio, Lillian Ruth Bride by Wedding Wonderland and 19 Square Bar and Asian Kitchen.

And that was before New Year’s Eve which saw a final change as Trio closed at 13 Market Square where it had operated since 2007. A final party was held that night for employees, featuring bonuses and interviews for positions elsewhere. Owner Adrienne Knight has always valued her team and she ended the run by showing that.

In recent months her attention had been divided between that location and Holly’s Gourmets Market where she is Director of Operations.”Obviously it’s an emotional time for all of us, the last few months balancing the intense catering season at the Gourmets Market, the busy season on square with the addition of the ice skating rink and turning around to shut down Trio has stretched me very thin.”

Trio Cafe, 13 Market Square, Knoxville, January 2015

She was put into the position when her Trio investor also bought Gourmets Market just over two years ago. She loves working with Holly and says, “Holly and I do make a great team! We come from completely different angles with the same goal in mind which makes it fun and interesting! We plan on doing some trailblazing ourselves inside the Gourmets Market in 2018 but that’s probably a story for another day.”

And so, an eleven-year run that saw its share of awards (“Best Salad” in several publications, multiple years) and successes has been shut down. Businesses, like all of us, have life cycles and this one ran its course. That eleven year span represents some remarkable shifts for Market Square specifically and downtown in general.

Trio Cafe, 13 Market Square, Knoxville, January 2015

I’ll end with a personal side note: My wife and I, along with friends discovered Trio early. I loved a particular breakfast dish they had when they opened, but eventually stopped carrying. We must have found it very early because by Labor Day, 2009, when Urban Woman (to-be) and I realized we had no obligations for the day and decided to go downtown for the morning, we naturally went to Trio, as had become a habit.

How do I remember the day so specifically? Because that was the day we made the decision that put us downtown. After breakfast we walked around day-dreaming about “one day,” and talking about which buildings were our favorites. We’d been on a number of the City People Home Tours, so we had some knowledge of many of them. One, in particular, caught Urban Woman’s eye that she’d never noticed before. She fell in love.

Owner Adrienne Knight and Bartender David Jones, Trio Cafe, 13 Market Square, Knoxville, January 2015

Three units were for sale and she made me leave a message for a realtor immediately. Within eight weeks we’d sold our west Knoxville suburban home, bought one of these units and moved. It was a sudden decision unlike any other we’d ever made before, to move to a place completely different than any we’d lived before and it would change our lives in great ways we could not imagine. And it started with breakfast at Trio.

I’ll miss Trio as a go-to spot on Market Square for a quick, inexpensive and good cup of coffee. We’ll miss the patio as a great place to people-watch and run into friends on a Saturday morning at the Farmers’ Market. I’ll miss knowing Adrienne is downtown, even as I wish her and Holly the best out west. I may even venture that far toward the burbs to see them sometime.


  1. Oren Yarbrough says:

    I noticed this sign on Sunday when I tried to go grab something quick to eat before going to a movie downtown. I am terribly saddened to hear the news of its closing. I can’t think of Market Square without thinking about some of the older businesses that were part of the genesis of the downtown resurgence. Trio is in the same category as Tomato Head, Cafe 4, Uncorked, and Preservation Pub to me (and also sadly the former Cocoa Moon). I really hope whatever fills this restaurant’s spot is a good business. Thank You Adrienne for your vision, both as a restaurateur and as an entrepreneur; you saw something in downtown at a time no one else could see it. Alan, I especially loved in the end of this article when all of the readers get to see a small window into the origin story behind Urban Guy and what would eventually become this blog. Such a bittersweet ending, but all good stories usually do end leaving me feeling nostalgic.

  2. Tim Lucas says:

    I loved this place! This news really bums me out!

  3. Lisa Sorensen says:

    We will miss Trio and Adrienne downtown but glad to know she is still doing amazing work at Gourmets Market!

  4. Terri Karlsson says:

    I will miss Trio – a great place to order lunch and get the iced tea refills!

  5. Aaron Thompson says:

    Sorry to hear that Adrienne. May the future bless you!

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