Louis Restaurant in Knoxville, Tennessee has been a mainstay for years. To appreciate the food you have to know the story behind the “mom and pop” diner. In case you don’t know where it is here is the address:
Louis Original Drive-In Restaurant
4661 Old Broadway St.
Knoxville, TN 37918
Phone (865) 688-4121
Once upon a time in 1958, two brothers went into business. They opened a restaurant in Knoxville and called it Louis’. Then, there was a falling out. One brother decided to build a new restaurant in Knoxville right next door to the first one. It was called Louis’. Then, the other Louis’ decided to name the restaurant Louis’ Original Drive-In restaurant.
Things went along fine for a few years. Then, the powers that be decided that a new road needed to be built. Specifically, it was a new interchange. The restaurants would have to go. Only one would emerge. About a block down the same street from the first locations the new Louis’ emerged.
This Louis’ restaurant is a newer, expanded version of the Louis’ Original Drive-In Restaurant. The menu is the same. Most of the people are the same. This was about 5 years ago. Diners are once again flocking to Louis’ for great Italian food. (The owner is actually Greek. Most Knoxville southerners have never noticed.)
Louis Original Drive In Restaurant has a seating area for eat-in dining. The name is something of a misnomer. It’s not just curbside. In fact, few people even realize that you can still get curbside service here.
Hubby and I visited today for lunch. Louis’ is, was, and will forever be, one of Hubby’s favorite restaurants. We go there as often as he can drag me there. He says the meatballs, veal cutlets and chicken parmesean is also as good as mine. The onion rings (he says) are better than mine. (That’s because I’m allergic to raw onions and have never, ever made onion rings.)
The menu is as varied as they come. Louis’ serves pizza, spaghetti, the above mentioned items, ravioli, sandwiches, steaks, fried chicken, seafood and sometimes, turkey and dressing. Appetizers include breaded mushrooms, fried zucchini, soup, onion rings and chicken strips. For desserts you can have your choice of several different types of pies.
For lunch today Hubby ordered the veal cutlet with a side of onion rings. I chose the turkey and dressing. My side choices were mashed potatoes and green beans. The meals came with salad. We also ordered the breaded mushrooms.
Now, I have to say that Hubby loves the salads at Louis’. You get an overfilled bowl of shredded lettuce. There is a little cabbage thrown into the mix. It comes with two packs of crackers and a pat of margarine. Salad dressing is served on the side in a cup. The flavor is usually good but to me, it’s a mess to cut and eat.
The breaded mushrooms came out right after the salads. These were served piping hot and tasted great (as always).
In a few more minutes the server brought out a basket of bread along with our entrees. The sliced Grecian bread is about 3″ thick and 5″ or more long. It too is usually served warm.
Hubby’s entrée was a veal cutlet smothered in Louis’ famous spaghetti sauce. This sauce is what many people come for. It is spicier than most Italian sauces. I never have added red pepper to it. Hubby likes it pretty well. As usual, he said that he enjoyed his lunch.
I had never tried the turkey and dressing from Louis’ before and was pleased with my choice. It was flavorful and very hot. The mashed potatoes were a little on the lumpy side which makes me wonder if they were real.
The server did a good job. He was a little slow with the refills. That was a disappointment. Louis Original Drive In Restaurant was not busy while we were there.
Overall, lunch was a success. The price for 2 entrees, with iced teas and an appetizer was about $30. It’s a little steep for an average lunch.
However, in a few days I am leaving and will be gone for about a month. We wanted a nice lunch out without the kids. Louis’ Original Drive In Restaurant fit the bill nicely.
Louis’ Original Drive-In Restaurant in Knoxville is open for lunch and dinner. They are closed on Monday. Open 11:00 am – 10:00 pm.
The Tennessee Health Department Score of 6/2009 was an 81. The health department considers a score below 70 to be unsanitary. For the full health department report use this link.
My rating: 4 Stars
Louis’ Original Drive In Restaurant
For a slideshow of the entrees and to see the interior of Louis’ Original Drive In Restaurant click here.