SEVIERVILLE — A new restaurant designed to bring a modern approach to traditional Appalachian dishes opens this week in downtown Sevierville.
The Appalachian is opening on Bruce Street, co-owned by local developer, Austin Williams, and chef, David Rule.
“It’s made for the locals, but I’m sure we’ll have tourists come as well,” Williams said. “It’s just something you can’t find anywhere else in East Tennessee.”
The new restaurant is open for dinner, Tuesday-Saturday. The bar area opens at 4 p.m. and dining room reservations begin at 5 p.m. Seating occurs up until 9 p.m. through the week and 10 p.m. on weekends. Reservations aren’t required but are highly recommended.
“The concept of this restaurant is a contemporary look at Appalachia and Appalachian cuisine,” Rule said. “Especially with the modern-day diversity of Appalachia, it kind of gives us the opportunity to do whatever we want in terms of food.”
The restaurant pays homage to regional foods of the past with menu items like Apple Stack Cake and Roasted Peanut Soup, and includes influences from other American-style dishes. There’s Grilled Mountain Trout, Duck Breast, a White Oak Burger and a selection of steaks, including a Dry Aged 32-ounce Tomahawk Ribeye or a 10-ounce Prime Bone-In Filet Mignon.
“We didn’t want to open a restaurant and call it The Appalachian, with a sense that it was met with some of the traditional connotations of what people think when they hear the word ‘Appalachian.’ They think backwoods hillbilly and moonshine and banjos playing, and there might be a few of those things mixed in, but definitely a more grown up and modern version,” Rule said.
“We try to make this place a reflection of time and place, so here we are in the Appalachian Mountains in 2021.”
A centerpiece to the new restaurant is a wood-burning hearth with open flames visible throughout the dining room, made by Knoxville-based Specialty Stainless. The multi-functional piece of equipment sits in the center of the open kitchen at the back of the dining room.
“Everything that we produce will probably be kissed with a little bit of smoky wood-charred flavor,” Rule said.
Among the farms being used to produce for The Appalachian are Mountain Roots Farm in Sevierville, Cruze Farm in Knoxville and Sugar Tree Farm in Red Bud. Several other farms are listed on the menu from throughout the multistate Appalachian region.
“We focus on quality first and foremost. Beyond that we love to support local and regional farmers and artisans, “ Rule said. “We’re kind of trying to follow that Appalachian Mountain chain from Northern Georgia all the way up into Maine.”
Downtown Sevierville has seen upgrades in recent years with the city’s Streetscape program, new restaurants like Graze Burgers opening and renovations to existing locations, like the historic Central Hotel. Williams, who is also chairman of the Sevierville Commons Association, said he expects more restaurants and other businesses to move into the area as it continues to develop.
“Central Hotel’s unique — it’s high-quality. Graze is the same and this place will be the same,” he said. “Hopefully in the next six months or so we’ll have another concept or two that pops up.”