CNN Visits Boyd’s Jig and Reel?!?

CNN Visits Boyd's Jig and Reel, Knoxville, January 2012
CNN Visits Boyd’s Jig and Reel, Knoxville, January 2012

It seemed odd: a notice on Facebook last Thursday night that CNN would visit Boyd’s Jig and Reel. When I learned that it centered on a food topic, that seemed even more strange. First, since when did CNN do food shows? I held the impression that cable news networks did news. There’s a whole network devoted to food and others that liberally sprinkle food related shows throughout the lineup.

Then there was the question of the selection – and do not get me wrong on this point – why Boyd’s? Now, I’ve eaten at Boyd’s on several occasions and I have loved everything I’ve eaten. The drinks are good, the service is good and I love what they do for music. But if you were CNN and you arrived in Knoxville to report on food news would you immediately think of Boyd’s? I mean nothing negative at all when I say it wouldn’t be the first place that comes to my mind.

CNN Visits Boyd's Jig and Reel, Knoxville, January 2012
CNN Visits Boyd’s Jig and Reel, Knoxville, January 2012

Since it seemed so odd, I questioned whether it was true. I double checked before I headed down the hill on Friday afternoon. By that time Metropulse had posted the news to their site. From what they said, it appeared Boyd’s was one of several places on the local list. So, I walked down the hill to investigate.

I’ve had several occasions to investigate Boyd’s just after work on a Friday. I’ve found each foray to be very satisfying. JC is always working the bar and ready to whip up whatever one desires. Food may also be ordered at the bar and I love the seafood chowder and the smoked salmon. Shaft has tried the Scotch Egg and declared it a winner. Mostly what I like about the just-after-work time slot is that it isn’t nearly so crowded as it becomes later in the evening and quiet conversation flows easy with the drink and food.

I arrived in time to find a representative of the bar being interviewed just outside the front entrance. Inside a group of musicians tuned up for filming in the back room. I believe they are the regular Tuesday night crew but they came in for the filming. Along the beautiful bar in the front nothing belied the distinction of this particular Friday. JC poured the drinks while silenced televisions overhead covered sports news (Monte Kiffin, after ditching Lane, took a pro job).

Bill Alexander and friends at Boyd's Jig and Reel, Knoxville, January 2012
Bill Alexander and friends at Boyd’s Jig and Reel, Knoxville, January 2012

The guy from CNN told us he and the cameraman drove up from Atlanta. Despite our suggestion that they stay and hear Blue Mother Tupelo and see Boyd’s really packed out that night, they planned to drive back that evening. They are, indeed, doing a food show focusing on one hundred local places to eat. JC said it was before you die, but I’m not sure I got that from the CNN guy. He did say that Boyd’s was recommended by a “local food critic.”

He wanted to interview myself and Shaft, but we demurred. Bill Alexander, the Appalachian Hippy Poet sat at the bar along with others who are much more regulars than the two of us. Besides, if our pictures were shown on CNN, who knows what that might stir up from the past? No need to take the chance.

So, what do you think? If CNN asked you where they should go for the best local food, where would you suggest? Here are a couple of Boyd’s Dishes to show you what they’ve got: