Kay’s Restaurant is maybe one particular of the finest-kept 37-12 months-aged strategies in the spot, at least for these who don’t routinely vacation 11-W between Crown Colony and the Highway 394 turnoff to Blountville.
We were being alerted to go visit Kay’s by Arcadia resident Ricky Nottingham and his mom, Barbara Carr, who not long ago moved back again to Kingsport following a long time of dwelling in Georgia.
“We go at the very least once a 7 days, if not two times,” Carr mentioned, noting every thing Nottingham orders seems very good, but she can’t still pass up the prospect to have a Kay’s hamburger and tater tots to check out the relaxation of the menu.
“It’s the ideal hamburger I’ve ever had,” Carr said.
Kay Huffman is the proprietor and chief cook. She and her late partner opened the small business as a fruit stand. At the time, eating options among the John B. Dennis Bypass in Kingsport and Interstate 81 at Bristol were sparse, to say the minimum, on 11-W.
Consumers to the fruit stand started out asking if smooth drinks or espresso have been offered. By the next calendar year, they had been inquiring for gentle food stuff things such as sandwiches. So Kay’s additional a walk-up buy window to give espresso, tender beverages, treats and sandwiches.
“Then they began inquiring for scorching foodstuff,” Huffman claimed. “Property cooking.”
Kay’s little eating space was enclosed. And in the many years given that, it draws a regular stream of diners, numerous of whom are regulars.
Carr explained to us she achieved one diner, also a the latest transplant again to the location, who mentioned she’d eaten at Kay’s every single day for weeks.
Huffman mentioned the cafe does have a stable foundation of regulars, but newcomers are not abnormal and look to be on the upswing of late. Lover favorites consist of burgers, tots, cheddar rounds and other standard diner fare. But Kay’s everyday specials rate their personal team of devotees. Particularly well-liked are soup beans and cornbread ($5) on Mondays and what is detailed as roast beef, potatoes, gravy ($7) on Fridays.
Speaking of rates, Kay’s Restaurant is cash only. Credit history and debit cards are not approved.
The latter is a kind of upside-down open up-confronted pot roast sandwich, with mashed potatoes and smothered in rich brown gravy. The pretty tender, really lean shredded roast beef is initial on the plate. It is really topped with mashed potatoes flanked by two triangular 50 %-slices of loaf bread, and the gravy tops every little thing.
Kay stated she typically purchases a 20-pound roast for Friday’s special, but she trims off ALL the fat. Be warned, the roast beef particular is often offered out properly in advance of closing. The lunch rush commences close to 11 a.m.
The other times of the 7 days, the everyday distinctive is Kay’s selection. Vegetable plates are $5. Dinners are largely $7.
The full breakfast menu is offered all day, with two exceptions: Once the biscuits or gravy operate out, which is it for the day.
We requested Huffman and her workers to remedy the following inquiries.
Q: How prolonged has your cafe been in procedure?
A: Nearly 37 yrs. We opened on June 27, 1985.
Q: What do you look at the specialties at your cafe and why.
A: Soup beans with cornbread, biscuits and gravy, and our every day specials these kinds of as roast beef on Fridays. Our foods is specific since anything is created from scratch.
Q: What is your culinary schooling and how did you master to do what you do in the kitchen?
A: I began mastering property cooking at, very well, household, at the age of 11, Kay said. And she’s been doing it ever due to the fact. Kay’s proper hand in the Kay’s kitchen area is Becky Nelson. Becky reported she uncovered to cook from the best: Kay.
Q: Clarify in as substantially detail as achievable why your cafe is interesting to shoppers and how you keep that atmosphere.
A: House cooking geared up day by day. Our dining spot is little and cozy. We want our buyers to feel like they are at residence, and we do our greatest to treat them like family. We would not be who and what we are today with no all of our loyal buyers, new and outdated.
Q: Do you share recipes with your diners? If so, remember to share your beloved recipe.
A: No. We will not really use recipes. Almost everything we fix is a pinch in this article or a pinch there.
Q: How do you think your restaurant differs from other dining places in the Tri-Metropolitan areas location?
A: We are a relatives-owned state cafe. It truly is just occur as you are.
Q: What are the benefits and cons of your place?
A: An benefit is we are the only (non-fast food stuff) cafe on 11W among Kingsport and Bristol. No disadvantages arrive to mind.
Q: How normally do you improve the menu at the cafe and why?
A: The menu won’t alter, other than the each day specials on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And even those people are heading to be something experimented with and genuine.
Q: What is your most loved cookbook?
A: Kay claimed she enjoys previous-timey cookbooks but won’t have a certain favorite.