Coming to Sister Cats Cafe (7326 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., 865/448-0033, Mon.–Tues. and Thurs.–Sat. 11 a.m.–3 p.m., $9) is a highlight of any trip to Townsend . This casual yet sophisticated restaurant offers refreshingly creative fare. Entrées include smoked chicken salad and an array of paninis—including a vegetarian smoked portabella. A changing daily special may be spinach enchiladas or Italian-sausage lasagna roll. Sides are creative and unexpected: grape salad, mandarin muffins, and corn-bread salad are a few favorites. A unique feature of Sister Cats’ menu is that all lunches cost $9, and include one entrée and one side. Every other Friday evening, Sister Cats puts on a special romantic dinner by reservation only.
Miss Lily’s Cafe (122 Depot St., 865/448-1924, Mon.–Fri. 10:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Sat. 8 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.–2 p.m., $11–20) serves Southern food, but with a freshness unknown at many country-cooking-style restaurants. Try the Yankee Pot Roast or Fish and Grits. Salads are fresh and filling. The pulled-pork sandwich is a favorite at lunch or dinner.
Miss Lily’s Cafe is next door to the Lily Barn, a venue for weddings and other special events. The barn also sells daylilies, and the gardens are ideal for a picturesque stroll after dinner.
You can catch your own supper at the Tuckaleechee Trout Farm and Restaurant (142 Tipton Rd., 865/448-2290). Spring-fed trout ponds teem with fish, which are caught and prepared for dinner. It doesn’t get any fresher, or more fun, than this. The trout farm is open afternoons and evenings from April to October; call to confirm.