Fountain City staple Louis’ Restaurant and Drive-In celebrating 60th year

By Mike Steely

steelym@knoxfocus.com

What can you say about a 60-year-old family restaurant? How about its great food, great service and a great history of family owners has helped this special place survive and thrive through the decades.

Owner Jimmy Brinias told The Focus that the Original Louis’ Restaurant and Drive-In is surviving the Broadway and I-640 construction. The business has a history of survival and family ownership. The Brinias family purchased the Italian restaurant in 1976 with a partner and suffered a fire in 1988. Then the Broadway interchange on the Knoxville bypass took their building and they found another building just up the street on Old Broadway.

Plans for the current highway construction gave the family a scare when first proposed but eventually the widening of Dutch Valley Road was moved closer to I-640 and their location was safe.

Today Jimmy and wife Tammy, his stepson Michael Adams and his brother-in-law Jeff Foster offer friendly family service along with Louis’ staff of 50. They are open 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. every day except Monday.

The menu offers a wide variety of options but Brinias says spaghetti is the absolute favorite, saying, “We go through 600 to 700 pounds of noodles each week.”

“Our onion rings are immensely popular,” he added. The restaurant also offers pizza, steak, salads, sandwiches and much more. Jimmy said he hand cuts the choice Creek Stone beef.

The restaurant has been so popular that a number of celebrities have dined there. Among those are Kenny Chesney and David Letterman. Jimmy said he was delighted when Letterman mentioned the restaurant on the his late night television talk show.

While local residents love the lunch at Louis’ people from all over the area come for supper.

Louis’ Restaurant has room for 175 people and a banquet room that seats sixty. What’s a bit unusual is that the restaurant continues to have drive-in dining with curb service. Jimmy says many people phone in their orders and pick it up at the curb, to take it home or eat in their car.

“I’ve done everything here,” Jimmy said. He began working at the restaurant for his father, Gus, busing tables and anything he was asked to do. He said the restaurant always closes the week of July 4th, giving the employees time off and giving the family a week to catch up with things in the restaurant.

The nearby road construction has concerned the Brinias family but they’ve stayed at it, serving their customers with great food and service. They are looking forward to the end of construction and, in the meantime, welcome their friends and customers.

Jimmy said that after the current construction is done the family plans to renovate the restaurant inside and out.

The Original Louis’ Restaurant and Drive-In is located at 4661 Old Broadway. You can find them on the internet at “theoriginallouis.com” or call them at (865) 688-4121.

Drop by and wish them a Happy Birthday.

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