Fun Ideas for Dining Out in this Time of Social Distancing
COVID 19’s social distancing protocols in the 9 Lakes Region has generated some fun ideas for changing up your routine for dining out.
Mini outdoor picnic areas are flourishing in the 9Lakes due to COVID. Take out used to be limited to pizza and Chinese food, but today, the sky is the limit. Yep, you can hire Uber Eats, but part of the dining out experience is the atmosphere. East TN is an outdoor paradise, so why not enjoy the beauty of the sky and dine al fresco. Want to bring your furry friend along? Most of these sites are pet friendly.
Consider these five fun ideas for that next dining experience:
Street food and Food Carts: Food carts pop up across the region every weekend. Two locations to check out are Food Truck Fridays in Anderson County and the weekend schedule at the Central Filling Station in Knoxville. Both locations have a rotating schedule of food trucks each week, so while the location is the same, the menu is ever changing.
Marinas and patio seating- Nothing says summer in the 9 Lakes like the seasonal restaurants at the marinas patios with their incredible views and sublime sunsets. Wow. Lakeside Marina and Off the Hook at Black Oak Marina on Cherokee, Caney Creek Grille on Watts Bar, Cove Lake State Park, Arjay’s at Hickory Star and perennial fan favorite, Bubba Brews at Beach Island on Norris Lake all offer boat up or drive parking. With live entertainment weekly, the atmosphere is beach casual.
Open air gathering spaces- Tucked away in tiny Lancing is the Hopyard and Sauced Frog, a casual gathering micro-brewery and café. The venue is only open on weekends and your dining room is the breathtaking Obed. Or travel to the rafting community of Hartford where Bean Trees is offering southern comfort food menu written on a chalk board daily. Enjoy your meal while seated along the Pigeon River.
Sidewalk cafes- Who doesn’t love people watching? Family owned Calhoun’s restaurants offer year round patio dining along several of the region’s lakes. Two of our favorite people watching locations are Calhoun’s on Melton Hill Lake and Calhoun’s at the Loudoun Lake dam. The location at Melton Lake is home is adjacent to the NCAA championship rowing course, while the Loudoun Lake location offers a view of the dam. The river’s activity can be seductive with the comings and goings of boats, paddlers, and rowers.
Take it to Go: and Picnic Upscale- You are missing your favorite restaurant and they are missing you. Why not cater your picnic with meals to go. Pick a location- on river bank, in a tree shaded park, or under a star filled sky. Set out your blanket or chairs and enjoy your chosen meal. Social distancing naturally.
When visiting, help our communities by practicing safe guidelines for social distancing. Enjoy your outing, take only pictures, and Leave No Trace.