We’re told Chesapeake’s downtown opened around the time of the 1982 World’s Fair and not much has changed about it since then. So guests familiar with that downtown fresh seafood restaurant are in for a surprise when they visit the new Copper Cellar’s new Chesapeake’s on Parkside Drive in West Knoxville. From the street, the bold blue hue of the interior lights echo a trendy, upscale feel. We were invited to a preview night last week and were surprised with the contrast. We’d known about the construction for some time. We’d expected it to open last fall, but as anyone who has built a commercial project knows, these things take time. The entry is somewhat oddly placed as it is on the left and almost hidden. Once inside, you’re greeted with a space that beautifully blends industrial sleek with shipboard comfy. There’s just enough kitsch with large fish owner Mike Chase has landed throughout the years.
The expansive interior has comfortable seating throughout and a large bar that we’re certain will be packed with West Knoxville regulars once they are fully open. We sat at the bar and our Copper Cellar friend had ordered a platter of grilled oysters as well as seared Ahi tuna. An entire oyster board will soon be in place with seasonal choices. The bivalves were grilled perfectly and topped with plenty of butter and parmesan cheese. The tuna was spicy on the outside and cool on the inside served on top of an asian slaw with a ginger soy dipping sauce. It’s a great way to start the evening!
Moving on, we placed our order. The menu we had was a limited ‘practice’ menu and with us being on Whole30 for January, we had to be very careful to stick as close to plan as we could. We each ordered the Salmon with broccoli and Neva’s Potatoes. If there’s one word to describe the meal, it would be “butter”. Not in a bad way mind you, but each item we had that night was definitely rich with butter. The salmon came out quickly and was hot and well-prepared. As was the tender flavorful broccoli. Neva’s Potatoes we only had a few bites of because of the dairy, but we can’t wait to go back in February and have more of these! It’s an old family recipe reinterpreted for Chesapeake’s and we’re certain they will become the ‘must-have’ menu item.
After our main course, we had a tour of the facility. A large lobby affords guests a comfortable area while waiting on their table. The dining room is expansive, but because of the well designed partitions, it still feels comfortable. Two very large banquet rooms, one with a private patio, are available as is a smaller private dining/meeting room by the bar enclosed in glass. It was snowing when were were dining so we didn’t spend much time on the patios, but a large main patio is divided from a smaller, as yet incomplete patio that will be available to smokers… and possibly the addition of some interest for cigar smokers too!
We can’t say enough how beautiful this space and, to think, it was once a tire warehouse! Chesapeake’s West is excited to open this week for dinner service and beginning next week will be open for lunch and dinner. So, when will we see you there?