Southern Grit Opens at 126 South Central Street

Southern Grit, 126 South Central Street, Knoxville, November 2019

Downtown’s newest restaurant opens today in the Old City with a familiar face greeting new customers. I first introduced owner B.G. DeHart on this blog in 2013, with the opening of Stock and Barrel, for which he was partial owner. He’s since sold his interest in that restaurant and is back with his latest concept, Southern Grit.

B.G., originally from Morristown, attended the University of Tennessee where he received his degree in logistics and transportation. After working in the field for a year in Charleston, South Carolina, he realized that while he loved Charleston, he didn’t love the work. He moved to Nashville where he attained an MA in business. He’d always wanted to own a business and had some background in restaurants, so he joined with friends to open Stock and Barrel on Market Square.

Southern Grit, 126 South Central Street, Knoxville, November 2019

Southern Grit, 126 South Central Street, Knoxville, November 2019

He said what he loves about the restaurant business is that every day is different. He’s been working on the menu and developing recipes for the last year with chef Daniel Mendoza. They picked the location in the Crozier building at 126 South Central Street over a year ago. B.G. recognized that downtown development has spread much further from Market Square in the years since he helped open Stock and Barrel. He also loved the windows in the new location and decided it was the place he wanted to build his new business.

As with most business owners, he’d hoped to be open much earlier. Working through each phase with the architects, city permitting, and construction took longer than he’d hoped, but he’s been very pleased with the outcome at each step. Gregor Smee and Scott Busby provided the architectural drawings, and Reagan Construction handled the build-out.

Southern Grit, 126 South Central Street, Knoxville, November 2019

Southern Grit, 126 South Central Street, Knoxville, November 2019

Southern Grit, 126 South Central Street, Knoxville, November 2019

Southern Grit, 126 South Central Street, Knoxville, November 2019

While the concept evolved over the last year, it remained the same at heart: B.G. wanted to provide southern comfort food. For him that started with fried chicken and biscuits, and it never really wavered from that. He said he now understands why so many chefs are guarded about their recipes, saying small amounts of one spice or another completely changed the dishes. In the end, they kept what worked best, and he feels they have a strong menu to offer.

B.G. still considers Charleston his home away from home and travels there several times a year. He said it’s the perfect combination of beaches, interesting city, and great food. The influence of that food will be apparent on the menu at Southern Grit in dishes like shrimp and grits and crab cakes. He said he has tried to bring a little bit of Charleston to Knoxville. A full bar is available, including a range of wine and beer choices.

Southern Grit, 126 South Central Street, Knoxville, November 2019

Owner B. G. DeHart, Southern Grit, 126 South Central Street, Knoxville, November 2019

Dinner service will begin tonight as the restaurant eases into a full schedule. Initial hours will be 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Reservations will not be taken initially. The restaurant will be closed on Thanksgiving and will open on Friday with dinner service. Lunch service will be added in the coming days with the restaurant open from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. B.G. intends to add Saturday and Sunday brunch as the kitchen staff settles in with the initial menu.

In keeping with the theme of southern hospitality, B.G. wants the casual restaurant to feel as comfortable as home. The restaurant has seating for eighty, and patio seating will likely be added in the spring. You can follow the restaurant on Facebook, on their website, and on Instagram.



  1. Looks great and I am excited to patronize it soon. I think the lack of vegetarian options for full meals has already been discussed at length recently with the re-opening of Knox Mason, but is worth mentioning again. No one is asking for a full vegan restaurant to open every month, but a few well thought out vegetarian options seems to be standard at most restaurants in bigger southern cities now-a-days. Hopefully, Knoxville will join that trend soon.

    • Megan Waugh says

      I agree 100%, Andy, on the “well thought-out vegetarian options.” I’d love to see more options on menus in Downtown Knox.

  2. I’m disappointed that the menu looks nearly the exact same as about 5 other restaurants in the downtown area. Do we really need more chicken and burgers? Southern comfort food is passé!

  3. Cannot wait but I sure see a lot of hard surfaces. The banquette will help some but I foresee a noisy meal.

  4. Congrats! Can’t wait to try it!! Good peeps!

  5. I look forward to eating at your restaurant. Thank you for having the guts to take a chance in the restaurant business. Pay no attention to the haters.

  6. So glad to see that it’s not just another brewery! Glad to have a full bar!

  7. There’s an old adage that says you can’t please all of the people all of the time, just worry about the ones that you can please and forget the rest. Beautiful addition to downtown Knoxville. I wonder how many people visited Big Don’s Bargain Barn when it was there? The vegan thing really worked out for Market Square also. Now if they can get the old NV transformed, the Old City will be vibrant again.

  8. I don’t really like to be a naysayer, especially when it’s something new, but that is probably the least inspired menu I have looked at recently. There are at least 3 other joints with a near carbon copy of this menu within a 5 minute walk. Try something new and cool. Do southern food for real. This is just anywhere’s food.

  9. Good luck
    The space looks great
    Looking forward to dining with you!

  10. New to town , always looking for new places and things to see and do .
    see ya soon

  11. My table tried a few different items: the meat loaf, mahi, and pork chop. They were all fantastic. It’s disappointing to see so many hyper critical and negative comments from people who have not even tried the food.

  12. Its really hard to judge a restaurant by the first night. That being said, I think the food has to be right on opening day. I normally have a lot of grace for bad service since the kinks are getting worked out. And really unless im in a hurry, I don’t really care. But I care a lot about the food. If I’m spending money on eating out, it needs to bring me joy.

    The shrimp was bad. To the point where I didn’t eat the rest of the shrimp. You could tell it wasn’t fresh and had a metallic taste that was just very off. Nothing I love about shrimp was present. I hate to sound harsh but I’m shocked that it was even served to me. I wouldn’t have served it to a guest in my house. It was blatantly bad. Its sad, because I was really really excited about it.

    I know that sounds harsh. Hopefully they adjust so when I give it a second chance I can enjoy it.

    • I would hope that if the experience was that bad you would have reached out to BG or the manager immediately to give them a chance to make it right, rather than simply blasting the restaurant online. I can’t imagine the time invested in this project, but I would assume BG himself was there and would have valued the feedback as well as worked to make the experience one you enjoyed.

      Fair criticism is fine, but if not given directly to those it references what is its purpose…

  13. Nancy Sharp Voith says

    Welcome to the Old City. Very excited to try your Charleston-inspired foods. Great Southern food done right is always in demand.

  14. I was one of the people on the team involved with helping BG realize his vision for his Charleston meat-and-3 concept. The nay-sayers have no idea how much time and effort went into creating this very special place. All new restaurants need a breaking in period as training staff occurs. BG is committed to quality and excellence and is not afraid to try new things. I can’t wait to see this become an established downtown southern-staple restaurant. If you want to see something on the menu, stop complaining and ask the owner! Very proud of the way everything turned out. Congratulations BG!

  15. Evans Bennett says

    Curious to try a new restaurant, and also of the surprising critiques below, I’ve had the chance to dine with SG a few times now. This is a welcome addition to the Knoxville restaurant scene. 4 meals in, 4 excellent experiences in all aspects. Service has been friendly and fun, food has been extremely consistent and a perfect example of ‘core’ southern cuisine. Atmosphere especially is a selling point. It’s busy, loud (without being deafening), and generally inviting to sit, stay a while, and have a couple extra drinks in a semi-casual environment – an experience largely missing from downtown Knoxville. Regarding the menu, I think there’s something to be said for taking classics and executing them perfectly/consistently. Not every meal needs to be reinventing dishes that mostly don’t need reinventing. Also – glad to see a spot that says ‘hot’ chicken and actually follows through. Keep up the great work, and I’ll see y’all again soon!

  16. Carol Yates says

    First time visiting. There were four of us and we each tried something different. My meatloaf was excellent. My husband had the chicken pot pie and said it was also excellent. Generous portions and great service. Welcome to Knoxville, Southern Grit!

  17. Looks like he brought Charleston prices as well! $11 for for a leg and thigh? $14 for four tenders? C’mon man! Only out of touch hipsters who don’t mind being fleeced for their money just say they ate there and IG the experience would pay these prices. Save your money and go to Chandler’s. I wish the place the best because I don’t want to see anyone fail but can we get some original concepts in this town instead of clones?

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