Nearly Native Eats: Myrtle’s Chicken + Beer

Beer and chicken – two words more beautiful have never been uttered together (according to my boyfriend). My southern boy is the epitome of “meat and potatoes”, raised on home cooking, his diet is generally guiltless and you better believe he’s never gone anywhere near the words “gluten-free”.  So when Myrtle’s Chicken + Beer opened it’s doors on Market Square in downtown Knoxville, you better believe it jumped all the way to the front of his new restaurant list. Me on the other hand, I’m pretty basic when it comes to staying healthy, meaning that I try to stay away from all the carby fried goodness, but it’s hard to pass up old-fashioned southern fried chicken, so we quickly made our way to this southern comfort spot.

Offering a convenient Market Square location and a food genre that the good southern people of Knoxville, Tennessee absolutely love, Myrtle’s is a recipe for success. The menu is pretty straightforward, dressing chicken several different ways, whether it be in their starter baskets, sandwiches, or entrées. You can pretty much be sure that if you’re ordering something from Myrtle’s it probably has chicken somewhere in it, save for a few side items, a salad, and in their tomato pie. I’d say if you’re vegan, this probably isn’t the spot for you. But you can bet this was the spot for my boyfriend and an indulgence for me.

Myrtle’s Famous Fried Chicken can be prepared with light or dark meat, in chicken tender form, as wings, and slathered in one of their many sauces. I’m no connoisseur of fried chicken, but whatever Myrtle’s is doing works – the buttermilk taste lingering on every bite of the fried chicken is worthy of any southern home. If that’s not your thing, their classic American sandwiches and wraps will feel familiar. Plus, they’ve got several salads to choose from if you’re simply not ready to dive into something fried. Even if you skip the fried chicken, don’t skimp when it comes to the sides because the tomato pie and grits are not to be missed! And, y’all, they have brunch. The chicken and waffles are calling my name.

Don’t forget to try one of their cocktails, featuring some local spirits, or barrel-aged classic cocktails to wash everything down with. Needless to say, my boyfriend was in heaven – this joint is perfect for a casual date night, especially if you’ve got a fried chicken lover. Belly up to the bar or find yourself a booth, it’s a small space, so it won’t get too loud. Of course, this is a fried chicken, southern comfort restaurant, so don’t expect much of anything as far as calorie redemption goes. Just indulge and enjoy it because a trip to Myrtle’s is totally worth it.

Check out their website on the Eat Like a Native page!

The Outdoor Patio Guide to Knoxville, TN

As Tennesseans we are blessed with generally nice weather most of the year. Sure, it’s not Southern California, but our winters are mild and our summers are long. While we may get melt-worthy heat here and there, our state is generally pretty primed for patio season. So, why wouldn’t any major city have massive amounts of outdoor options of drinking, eating, and generally merriment? Knoxville is no exception when it comes to a plethora of patios, so as we inch close to those glorious days of summer, I’m here to prepare you with an outdoor patio guide.

Larger Capacity Spots

Limited Seating

More and more are popping up every day – if I missed one you think I should include, let me know!

Nearly Native’s City Guide: 24 Hours in Louisville, KY

Traveling in the winter can be tough. Unexpected weather leads to accidents and delays that leave you wondering why you ever left the comfortable cocoon of your own bed. Call me when it’s Spring, please! However, despite the dreary skies and colder temps, I’m still always in favor of getting out of the house and mixing things up a bit. So, in the spirit of not letting things get stagnate, my manfriend and I decided to take a quick trick up to Louisville to meet some friends. While we only had 24 hours to explore, we tried to make the most of it! Here’s a rundown of what we did to help you plan your next trip to the city that’s home to the Kentucky Derby and some seriously delicious bourbon.

First, from Tennessee, Louisville is totally driveable, taking anywhere between 2 to 4 hours (in general) to get to, depending on where in the state you’re located. This close regional distance made the trip even more appealing for a quick 24-hour trip. We arrived in Louisville early afternoon, just in time for quick bite to eat before we checked in to our Airbnb.

Garage Bar: Located on Market Street in downtown Louisville, this eclectic little spot is perfect for sharing one of their brick oven pizzas on the patio. Their pizzas are great for one person (if you’re really hungry) or good for splitting if you just need a little something in your belly. While their menu changes seasonally and their craft beer list is massive, it’s easy to find something that satisfies. We had a Margherita pizza and some samples from the Ham & Cheese Bar. Highly recommend this spot for a casual bite in a popular part of town.

Next, we checked in to our Airbnb and relaxed for a bit before making our way to another spot for a some pre-sports game bites. The main even of the night for us was the Louisville vs. UNC Men’s Basketball game because go sports, so we decided to grab an early bite beforehand.

The Hub Louisville: Our pre-game meal was at this trendy sports lounge on Frankfort Avenue and we couldn’t have picked a better spot! This place was lively, had plenty of bar space and televisions, plus, pool tables. We decided to split a few of their bar bites between the four of us – everything looked so yummy we couldn’t decide on just one thing! The food was perfect for our pre-game food needs, but most notable for me was their Gin and Tonic. It might sound generic, but if you like Gin, this drink is a must-try because of their house-made spiced tonic. Seriously, it was too drinkable. I wanted to take some home with me!

From The Hub, we made our way to the KFC Yum! Center for the basketball game. This arena was a great place to watch some college ball. Even if you don’t root for any team in particular, live sports, like college basketball, can be fun to enjoy with friends. After the game we decided to head back towards the part of town that our Airbnb was in, which happened to be in the Highlands off of Baxter Avenue and Bardstown Road. This area was hopping with bars and restaurants lining the streets and people out and about for their Saturday night. If you’re looking for walkable entertainment from your apartment rental or hotel, this is the neighborhood I’d recommend.

O’Shea’s Irish Pub: We ended the evening at this cozy pub that you could tell could definitely get rowdy. I bet their St. Patrick’s Day celebration is something else! This was a great spot to end the night because we could enjoy a little live music, but still chat with each other. They also have a patio that would be great for a warm afternoon.

Sunday

We had time to grab a quick brunch on Sunday before heading back home, so we made our way to a restaurant known for its brunch called LouVino. Sadly, when we arrived we found out that all their tables were reserved for the next several hours. Obviously, we weren’t the only ones looking for some southern-style sustenance that morning. We walked out of two more restaurants due to crowds and our lack of reservation until we found one we liked without a wait. Moral of the story is: make reservations for Sunday Brunch.

Harvest: We happened on this gem of a brunch spot near downtown on Market Street. It’s hard to miss, as their name is painted across the facade of their store front. We parked on the street and made our way into this locally grown restaurant. What I mean by “locally grown” is that Harvest sources its ingredients from the local economy, turning out delicious southern dishes that are perfect for a Sunday morning. From their Fried Bologna and Smoked Pork Belly to their Harvest Salad and Farmer’s Omelet, Harvest is just the place for trying the delicious dishes you expect from the South.

After a very short, but amazing 24 hours, we had to make our way back home, but here are a few other great things to try while you’re visiting Louisville:

Why not plan your next easy getaway to Louisville, Kentucky? Seems better than sitting on the couch to me!