Downtown Knoxville Year in Review: 2023

JFG Sign, Labor Day in the City, Knoxville, September 2012
JFG Sign, Labor Day in the City, Knoxville, September 2012

Bob Dylan famously said, “Don’t look back,” and that is generally good advice. Once a year, however, I enjoy a peek back before we plow headlong into what promises to be a very, very busy year in the city. This is a look back through my eyes (and those of my co-writers), but also a look back through yours. What did you comment on the most? Which articles attracted the most readers?

The year was free of COVID-19 articles for the first time since 2019 and that probably explains that there were slightly fewer comments this year (1,971 – down about 75 from 2022). Nothing brought out comments like COVID. Still, we had plenty to talk about.

Readership (as measured in page views) surged in 2020 (I wrote a few hundred extra articles!) before leveling off in 2021 and 2022 at about 1.2 million page views each year, up from about 1 million each of the two years prior to the pandemic. This year, those elevated numbers bumped up to over 1.3 million pages viewed. My co-writers and I churned out over 300 articles for your amusement.

Great thanks, as always, goes to Scott McNutt who dwells in the details each week so you and I can easily plan our week. No individual weekly planner will rank among the most read articles, but make no mistake, the 10 Day Planner Page gets hammered (almost 39,000 times this year) along with each of his installments. I could not do this without him. Heather Ryerson has also stepped in this year in a major way, allowing me not to go crazy each and every week. As you’ll see from the lists, her articles were read about as much as mine. Special thanks, also, to Luke Frazier, whose quiet meditations, freely shared here, made 2023 a bit better for all of us.

The greatest thanks goes to each of you for reading, commenting and, in many cases, contributing to the support of the site. I also appreciate greatly the advertisers who’ve stepped in over the last couple of years. Advertising has still not recovered, but it’s getting better each year. Inside of Knoxville celebrated its thirteenth anniversary in June of 2023 and that would never have happened without each of you.

Contributing Writer Heather Ryerson (Photo by Caitie McMekin)

As I’ve said many times before, articles sometimes spur great conversation among the (relatively) few who read them, or are widely read, but don’t engender much in the way of discussion. Sometimes they do both. Turns out AI may be the most skillful at getting readers to talk! Here are the articles that inspired the most comments this year:

10. Marble City Market Introduces Major Changes (Heather Ryerson, March, 28 comments)

9. South Banks at Suttree Landing Hosts Grand Opening (Urban Guy, August, 29 comments)

8. JFG Sign on South Knoxville Hill Goes Missing: What We Know (Urban Guy, October, 30 comments)

6. (tie) 34 Market Square Sold to the Wests, Rooftop Expansion Planned (Urban Guy, January, 31 comments)

6. (tie) KAT Reimagined (Dustin Durham, February, 31 comments)

5. Formally Introducing Contributing Writer Heather Ryerson (Heather Ryerson, April, 32 comments)

4. South Knoxville Area Exploding with Development Projects (Urban Guy, February, 33 comments)

3. Parading Cars, Parking, Pedestrians, and Public Space (Urban Guy, September, 55 comments)

2. Demolition Planned for 115 East Jackson Avenue in the Old City (Urban Guy, February, 59 comments)

1. Homelessness in Knoxville and Possible Solutions (Chat GPT, January, 67 comments)

Owners Jocelyn Morin and Ryan Shanley, Fly By Night, 906 Sevier Avenue, Knoxville, June 2023

So, what were the most read articles? Do any of them surprise you or do they match your interests? Did you miss some along the way? (Now’s a good time to catch up!) Here is #25-#11.

25. 2023 Festival (and Other Big Events) Planner (Urban Guy, March, 7,752 views)

24. Nick Moran Purchases a Third Downtown Business: Bat ‘n Rouge (Urban Guy, April, 7,935 views)

23. St. Lucille’s Cajun Kitchen Brings Cajun Food to Emory Place (Urban Guy, November, 8,206 views)

22. When One Door Closes, Another Opens: What’s Coming to the Former Oli Bea Location? (Heather Ryerson, June, 8,247 views)

21. Tako Taco is Closed: What’s Up (Urban Guy, October, 8,382 views)

20. A Couple of (Near) Downtown Closures Announced Late in the Year (Urban Guy, January, 8,459 views)

19. Lilou, Downtown’s French Brasserie, Details Announced (Urban Guy, November, 8,694 views)

18. Fly By Night Opens in SoKno; Brings Back the Seventies (Urban Guy, June, 9,081 views)

17. Red Panda Grocery Opens in the Old City (Urban Guy, January, 9,103 views)

16. Monkey’s Bar Celebrates Its Grand Opening (Urban Guy, January, 9,258 views)

15. Potluck Café Has Opened at 1328 North Broadway Bringing a Little French With That Food (Urban Guy, August, 9,385 views)

14. Hip to be Square Bringing Big Names to Knoxville Comedy Scene (Heather Ryerson, March, 9,513 views)

13. JFG Sign on South Knoxville Hill Goes Missing: What We Know (Urban Guy, October, 9,683 views)

12. Stir-ring Up Some New Development in the Old City (Heather Ryerson, June, 9,989 views)

11. Long Awaited Yee-Haw Brewing Co. to Open in Late January (Heather Ryerson, January, 10,052 views)

Owners Jesse Newmister and Margaret Stolfi, Red Panda, 123 South Central Street, Knoxville, January 2023