OliBea Opens in the Old City

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Several weeks ago I told you about a breakfast restaurant coming to 119 S. Central Street. You’ll get the background there regarding Chef Jeffrey DeAlejandro’s new venture which opened this week. Currently serving breakfast from 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM, the hours will eventually be expanded to include late-night hours, which will be perfect after a long night hopping around the Old City.

What you will find when you visit is an attractive store front in the spot adjacent to Crown and Goose, most recently home to Lil’ Vinnie’s. Marshmallows hung in the windows look like snow falling and invite passersby into a warm space. Inside you’ll find lots of exposed wooden beams, attractive and comfortable seating – both a tables and at a bar.

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

The space includes two rooms and is decorated with art ranging from the whimsical to the less so. Artist Whitney Ellison is one of the currently featured artists and I noticed some of her paintings have already sold. She’s definitely worth checking out. In addition to the larger art pieces you’ll also find smaller works on shelves that also include canned foods for sale.

The counter is fronted by a chalkboard with just enough information to make you demand a menu, but the eye-catching portion is  a pig divided by cuts. Chef Jeffrey is serious about his pigs. The top of the counter holds pastries made by Stephanie Russo, including an eye-popping, massively beautiful cake. Jeffrey pointed out that a piece of cake and coffee make a pretty good breakfast. The coffee is important to me, as my readers know and it is very good Stumptown Coffee originally located in Portland, Oregon.

Chef Jeffrey DeAlejandro, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Chef Jeffrey DeAlejandro, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Desserts by Stephanie Russo, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Desserts by Stephanie Russo, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

The drill is you step up to the counter when you enter and place your order and pay there, then your food is brought to you at your table. The prices cover a range, as you can see from the menu, but plan on around $10 to $12 for your breakfast. I have to add an asterisk to that, however. I ate at 8:00 AM and my breakfast was so filling I didn’t get hungry again until dinner time, completely skipping lunch. So, for me, it was around $12 to take me through the whole day.

Menu, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Menu, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Menu, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Menu, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Menu, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Menu, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

You can spend less if you want something smaller like a biscuit (which comes with sausage gravy) and coffee for about six dollars. You can spend more if you want steak and eggs, but you are getting a NY strip with those eggs and you can throw in a drink for around $20. But at any cost, the real question is quality and taste, right?

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

I talked more about the quality of the food offered in the last article, so check that out. Suffice to say when you eat there you are getting a large dose of organic, local and made-from-scratch. And the taste? Amazing. It really is. I selected the Carnita Tostada ($9) from the Mexican section of the menu. Described as “confit cheshire pork shoulder, frijoles, queso fresco, eggs, salsa Roja” on the menu, it was spicy, delicious and filling. Jeffrey added a biscuit. There are good biscuits to be had downtown. My favorite is probably Just Ripe. Pete’s and Tupelo Honey do justice to a biscuit. This held its own against your granny’s biscuits. I’m serious. Check it out.

Carnita Tostada, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

Carnita Tostada, OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

OliBea, 119 S. Central, Knoxville, December 2014

I’m very excited about this place. It’s somewhere that I’ll be pleased to take out-of-town guests. It’s a place I can eat and feel I’m getting real food. We’ll likely have breakfast/dinner there once the evening hours start. You really need to give this place a shot. If you do, you’ll be back.

Comments

  1. Chris Eaker says

    I look forward to visiting. Now, if we could get a decent breakfast place (i.e. not fast food) on the UT strip, we’d be set.

  2. Whit Ellison says

    Oh! How exciting! Thanks for the shout out – would you mind terribly fixing the small typo – pretty please??? “Some of HER paintings have already sold.”

    Thank you so much!! OliBea is a fantastic joint 🙂

    • KnoxvilleUrbanGuy says

      Ouch. I’m on it. When I saw “Whit,” I assumed male and wrote the sentence, then later found “Whitney,” but forgot to change the personal pronoun. My bad.

  3. Tempeh bacon, soy chorizo, and a squash special! Thanks for the veggie offerings chef! Definitely going there soon.

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