Kay’s Restaurant is potentially one particular of the most effective-saved 37-calendar year-outdated tricks in the spot, at minimum for individuals who really don’t routinely vacation 11-W amongst Crown Colony and the Freeway 394 turnoff to Blountville.
We have been alerted to go check out Kay’s by Arcadia resident Ricky Nottingham and his mother, Barbara Carr, who not long ago moved back to Kingsport immediately after a long time of dwelling in Ga.
“We go at least at the time a 7 days, if not twice,” Carr stated, noting every thing Nottingham orders appears very good, but she can’t yet go up the possibility to have a Kay’s hamburger and tater tots to consider the rest of the menu.
“It is the ideal hamburger I have at any time had,” Carr claimed.
Kay Huffman is the proprietor and chief cook dinner. She and her late spouse opened the business enterprise as a fruit stand. At the time, eating selections among the John B. Dennis Bypass in Kingsport and Interstate 81 at Bristol had been sparse, to say the the very least, on 11-W.
Buyers to the fruit stand started off asking if comfortable beverages or espresso were readily available. By the 2nd yr, they were being inquiring for light-weight food items objects these as sandwiches. So Kay’s extra a walk-up order window to give espresso, tender drinks, snacks and sandwiches.
“Then they started asking for incredibly hot foodstuff,” Huffman said. “Household cooking.”
Kay’s small eating spot was enclosed. And in the a long time because, it draws a constant stream of diners, quite a few of whom are regulars.
Carr informed us she achieved one diner, also a the latest transplant back again to the location, who mentioned she’d eaten at Kay’s each and every working day for weeks.
Huffman explained the restaurant does have a reliable base of regulars, but newcomers usually are not unusual and feel to be on the upswing of late. Enthusiast favorites include burgers, tots, cheddar rounds and other typical diner fare. But Kay’s everyday specials price their own team of devotees. In particular well-liked are soup beans and cornbread ($5) on Mondays and what is outlined as roast beef, potatoes, gravy ($7) on Fridays.
Talking of costs, Kay’s Restaurant is income only. Credit rating and debit playing cards are not recognized.
The latter is a type of upside-down open up-faced pot roast sandwich, with mashed potatoes and smothered in abundant brown gravy. The incredibly tender, pretty lean shredded roast beef is to start with on the plate. It is really topped with mashed potatoes flanked by two triangular 50 %-slices of loaf bread, and the gravy tops all the things.
Kay claimed she usually buys a 20-pound roast for Friday’s particular, but she trims off ALL the body fat. Be warned, the roast beef special is normally offered out nicely just before closing. The lunch rush begins all-around 11 a.m.
The other times of the week, the daily exclusive is Kay’s preference. Vegetable plates are $5. Dinners are mostly $7.
The total 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 personnel to response the pursuing queries.
Q: How long has your cafe been in procedure?
A: Virtually 37 a long time. We opened on June 27, 1985.
Q: What do you contemplate the specialties at your cafe and why.
A: Soup beans with cornbread, biscuits and gravy, and our daily specials this kind of as roast beef on Fridays. Our meals is special because anything is produced from scratch.
Q: What is your culinary education and how did you learn to do what you do in the kitchen area?
A: I started off mastering dwelling cooking at, perfectly, home, at the age of 11, Kay explained. And she’s been accomplishing it at any time considering that. Kay’s suitable hand in the Kay’s kitchen area is Becky Nelson. Becky explained she figured out to prepare dinner from the best: Kay.
Q: Make clear in as much depth as probable why your restaurant is pleasing to consumers and how you maintain that ambience.
A: House cooking ready day by day. Our dining place is tiny and comfy. We want our customers to come to feel like they’re at residence, and we do our very best to take care of them like relatives. We would not be who and what we are these days devoid of all of our faithful buyers, new and outdated.
Q: Do you share recipes with your diners? If so, you should share your most loved recipe.
A: No. We don’t really use recipes. All the things we take care of is a pinch below or a pinch there.
Q: How do you assume your cafe differs from other dining places in the Tri-Cities region?
A: We are a family members-owned state cafe. It is really just occur as you are.
Q: What are the positive aspects and drawbacks of your place?
A: An edge is we are the only (non-quickly food stuff) restaurant on 11W between Kingsport and Bristol. No negatives appear to mind.
Q: How normally do you alter the menu at the restaurant and why?
A: The menu doesn’t modify, other than the every day specials on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And even all those are going to be anything experimented with and genuine.
Q: What’s your favored cookbook?
A: Kay mentioned she enjoys aged-timey cookbooks but will not have a particular preferred.