Blackhorse Brewery and Downtown Pub, 430 S. Gay Street, Knoxville, August 2018
Announcements of new downtown businesses are coming so hard and fast, that they are over lapping and the actual openings can get lost in the din surrounding the next big thing. This article is an effort to cycle back and document two businesses which were announced, but I haven’t photographed them since they weren’t ready for prime time and open to the public.
I gave the details of Cruze Farm’s new, permanent Gay Street location a couple of weeks ago. The business wasn’t ready to be photographed, let alone to open, so this is the first time I’ve been able to show them. Our family has already braved the lines and hit them up for some ice cream and there is always a crowd.
The store is, as you might expect, bright and pretty, open and fun. Merchandise is offered up front, with pints of ice cream, bottles of milk, tshirts and Mexican cokes (the best). The counter for ordering is also in the front, along with the necessary bands directing the lines that often form.
The back seating area features private tables as well as a communal table and both were in use when I dropped in around 7:00 PM on a Tuesday night. By the time my party passed back by around 8:00 PM, the line had grown and more people were entering. It’s safe to say they’ve gotten off to a good start.
We had dinner at Blackhorse Brewery across the street to check them out. The decor befits the pub atmosphere they are attempting to generate. Booths and more televisions have been added, the chandeliers are gone and a deliberately more casual feel permeates the spaces. The food reflects the atmosphere and is good and affordable.
We started with drinks. Urban Woman gave the chocolate martini a thumbs up. I, as many of you now know, do not drink beer. That’s a potential problem in a brew pub. As it turns out, they offer a small selection of good, solid wines. I had an Irony Pinot Noir and I noticed they have Kim Crawford, my favorite sauvignon blanc, so small is fine when it’s good.
We started with an appetizer of fried green tomatoes, which are topped with pimento cheese and tomato jam. Interestingly, for someone who says he doesn’t like tomatoes, I loved this dish and Urban Brother agreed (Urban Woman passed).
Urban Brother got (I think) the Steakhouse Burger, requesting no bun. He said it was a fine burger and the sweet potato fries with the sauce was delicious as we passed it around the table. Urban Woman went healthy with the garden salad and grilled chicken, which she really enjoyed.
I’m partial to flatbreads and ordered the Black and Bleu which has, “shaved prime rib, bleu cheese, spinach, tomatoes, caramelized onions, mozzarella, balsamic glaze.” It was delicious and it was huge. We all recoiled at the size of the dishes when they were delivered to the table. Then we ate every bite except for a few fries. I think we’d all order the same things again. You can find the Knoxville menu here, but it doesn’t precisely match the current downtown menu.
So, Urban Woman and I had a garden salad with chicken ($10.75), a Black and Bleu Flatbread ($9.95), a glass of Irony pinot noir ($9) and a chocolate martini ($9?) for a total of $41 (plus tip). We could have easily eaten for just over $20 without the drinks, so it’s a potentially tasty and lower priced option for eating out downtown. They also served lunch every day and brunch on the weekends.
The two, across the street from each other offer a boost to downtown dining. Each have similar competitors, but each are distinguished in their own ways. Stop in and give them a try and enjoy this era of ever expanding downtown options.