I’m often asked, “Are they open?” The object of the question may be different from one conversation to another, but people forget or miss an article (can you believe that?) and they aren’t sure. Hopefully, this will cover some of the places I get asked about often, as well as another couple I wanted to mention – and one that has closed. We’ll start with the good news. Ready?
Yes, my friends. As I wrote a few weeks ago, they are open. I know there was a false start a year ago and question marks still dangle in people’s brains, but the place is open, had a pre-party, an opening night and it’s waiting for you to get your Jamaican on. Some nights they have live music – including an upcoming show with the Natty Love Joys. Every Sunday they have an afternoon reggae jam. They’ve also added a Jamaican cook and are featuring a new Jamaican section on their menu (not sure that’s been added on the website version of the menu). For lunch you’ll find Cuban and Caribbean light dishes and and Caribbean fusion dinner served until late night. They have an outdoor fire pit, specialty drinks and more. And if you mention that you saw it here, you can snag a free appetizer! Give them a try. Their hours are 5:00 PM to 3:00 AM daily and 2:00 PM to 3:00 AM on Saturday and Sunday.
When I wrote about the new brewing company in July, brewer Adam Ingle and his partners were in the last throes of prepping the business for opening. It was a struggle to cross the regulatory finish line, but they made it and I’ve heard raves ever since, though I hadn’t made it out to the brewery. Figuring I needed to officially state on the blog that they are open, I made my way out there last weekend, only to find overflow parking in every direction, a nascent beer garden serving as overflow for customers and children and an absolutely packed business. New beers are coming online, including a coffee-based (using Three Bears beans) brew that I enjoyed a bit (Long time readers will understand that is an amazing sentence to travel through my fingertips). Get out and check out this incredible south Knox brewing scene that’s hopping just a bit over the Gay Street Bridge from downtown.
Another July article, I wrote about owner Jeff Scheafnocker’s pending move to 1120 Sevier Avenue – just two doors down from Alliance Brewing. I’d not stopped by and took the opportunity this past weekend to find the shell of a space I’d photographed earlier now holding all the equipment for the roastery along with large burlap sacks of beans waiting for processing. Jeff offers fresh cups of coffee or bags of his excellent beans from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday through Friday and from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturday. You really can’t pick up roasted coffee beans any fresher than this in the city. Stop in, soon.
Opened just over a couple of months ago, this has to be one of the most fascinating spots downtown. You can watch glass art being made by hand from start to finish, as well as the beer glasses for which the business is famous. Additionally, they’ve recently been allowing customers to make their own pieces. You may purchase a pumpkin($45) or Christmas ornaments($25) or you may choose to make your own – with help – for $60 or $45 each. They’ve planned a big holiday sale event on December 5 from 7:00 AM – 1:00 PM – some of the glasses will sell out early – and they’ll be open for “Blow Your Own” ornaments throughout the day. Regular hours are 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM M – F, plus 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM on Friday and 1:00 PM – 7:00 PM on Saturday.
I know Yassin has been around for a good while – I first wrote about his opening over a year ago – but he’s recently added hours and is now open in the evenings and I’m not sure everyone has gotten word about that. He’s open for both lunch and dinner from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM. The dinner menu also includes a few special items: a chicken plate, a sampler plate and (my favorite) a grilled vegetable plate. Yassin was featured on WATE recently and has been rather outspoken about the fact that he loves his adopted country and that four years ago he was a refugee from Syria. It’s a good time to show him that he’s part of our family.
I’ll not go so far into the others because I’ve written about them recently, but if you haven’t already, check out Agora, which opened in late September, The Royale, which opened earlier this month and Babalu, which opened yesterday.
Then, there is news of a not-so-positive sort: Cafe de Soleil has closed its doors. It marks the third closure of an upscale French restaurant at 416 Clinch Ave. It’s a good spot, in my opinion. Urban Woman and I loved it when it was first taken by Coffee and Chocolate and offered reasonably-priced, delicious paninis. We also liked the food we had at Cafe de Soleil, though it was expensive enough that it was not an automatic go-to sort of place for us. I hope someone can take over that spot and make it a cool spot, again. We love the porch and we love the pace on that street – just enough foot traffic to keep it interesting, but not so busy as Market Square. Somebody?