You all know we have some go-to spots that we find ourselves at multiple times a month and they are just so familiar, we forget to post about them. The Plaid Apron is one of those places. When people ask us for recommendations, they are always on the list. Drew and Bonni McDonald are heading into their fifth year at the Plaid Apron. What started as a solid breakfast spot has turned into a 6-day a week breakfast, lunch, and dinner spot with a newly established bread program offering bread 3 days a week for pick-up hidden away in Sequoyah Hills. You have to know you’re going there, you probably won’t stumble on it so ask Siri for directions if you haven’t been!
A university trained chef, Drew spent time at the prestigious Blackberry Farm resort before traveling, and doing the sous chef-gig at The Capitol Grill in Nashville. He then headed to Knoxville in 2011 to open The Plaid Apron.
A champion of utilizing local farmers and artisans in his kitchen, you will find dishes with similar names on the breakfast menu each week, but seasonal ingredients that change weekly, sometimes daily depending on what is currently growing. Chef Drew told us the cold weather vegetables had been a challenge this year but you would never know it when dining. On recent trips, we have had the amazing Breakfast Burger (one of our top 3 burgers in Knoxville), which is hard to pass up with a perfectly cooked egg sitting atop a generous Mitchell Farm patty. This week, the winner was a Steak Sandwich with Short Ribs, charred Brussels Sprouts and a rich Duck Egg on house-made Onion Bread which had the perfect crunchy crust and pillow light center.
For dinner, fish shows up frequently, but rarely is the same species from week to week. If you can catch Drew’s Fried Chicken on the menu, don’t spend a lot of time reading and just order it! He ran a Fried Chicken and Champagne Monday special for much of the second half of 2015 which was a particular treat and the best way to get over the Case of the Mondays. Drew uses only Chicken Thighs and Mr Knoxfoodie has never been a fan of thigh meat, but Drew demonstrated that when done correctly, it is truly delicious. We secretly think it’s his mission to convert Knoxville to a Chicken Thigh Capital…we’d buy into that!
Drew is putting together a few special dinners for the spring. He tells us, “April is still coming together and May will be a biggie – 7 to 9 courses depending on how big we go on the wine. It will be a “tour de France” hitting each region and pair food according to each region.” So keep an eye out for that and arrive hungry.
The Plaid Apron is open Monday-Thursday 7am-8pm, Friday 7am-9pm, and Saturday 8am-9pm and is located at 1210 KENESAW AVE KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE 37919.