I love a local restaurant where I can eat a big, juicy burger for dinner and follow it with a nice slice of homemade pie. So I search for that combination when we’re traveling, and that exploration led me to Litton’s Market, Restaurant & Bakery in advance of a recent visit to Knoxville in eastern Tennessee.
Litton’s is a decades-old icon in Knoxville that, as I read on several food and travel sites, is a longtime favorite of both local residents and University of Tennessee Volunteers supporters who are in town for sports and other events. That must be true because we saw plenty of Vols orange occupying tables and booths around us as we ate lunch.
I would characterize Litton’s as a casual diner that offers a premium menu complete with burgers and other sandwiches; special home-cooked plates of meatloaf, fried chicken and biscuits, and fish; a host of decadent desserts from the bakery counter; and much more.
Since a cheeseburger is my usual measuring stick of a great local restaurant, I ordered the Litton’s Cheeseburger Platter with hand-cut fries. The burger was big and juicy, cooked well done to my liking, topped with two slices of American cheese and sandwiched by a soft, hearty, buttery bun.
My burger was accompanied by a very tasty tray of French fries that were definitely freshly cut. No complaints here about their natural potato flavor! However, our waitress told us quite bluntly that she doesn’t like Litton’s fries. I can’t imagine what kind of fries she does prefer. Litton’s has the recipe right and even offered a container of seasoning at my wife Molly’s request for her fries.
Molly loves a good grilled chicken sandwich, and Litton’s met her appetite with a charbroiled version she loved. She remarked that she could sense the grill taste, and she enjoyed toppings of Swiss cheese, onions and mayo. Her sandwich also came atop a soft, hearty, buttery bun, a luxury that’s harder to find in a specialty restaurant sandwich than you might think.
We were quite full from our lunch, but I couldn’t pass up a piece of pie for dessert, so I ordered a slice of Coconut Cream to go. It was huge, and the package included a plate, a fork and a napkin for eating later! That’s service!
I’ve never eaten a piece of pie with so much coconut in it. For me, someone who loves coconut, that was a pleasure, but I caution anyone who’s not a big coconut fan to beware Litton’s coconut cream pie. If you ask for coconut, Litton’s will deliver! No matter what pie you request, you’re going to love the crust—flavorful and very flaky. It definitely complements the filling well.
In addition to its sit-down restaurant operation, Litton’s sells a variety of its products through specialty orders, so check them out for that. It’s also a great place for a large family or office group to dine because of the dining room setup of larger tables on one side and small-party booths on the other.
Litton’s has the feel of a place where I’d be a regular if I lived in Knoxville. Since I’m just a guest in town, I’ll keep it on my list of favorite places for burgers and pie, and I’ll tell you not to miss it when you need a great meal while traveling Interstate 40 through eastern Tennessee.
Litton’s Market, Restaurant & Bakery, 2803 Essary Road, Knoxville, Tenn.