Big Tiny's Grill
Critic's star breakdown
- Food: 3.5 stars (out of five)
- Service: 3.5
- Atmosphere: 3
- Overall: 3.5
I hadn't been out South Knoxville way in a while, so The Grub Spouse and I decided to stop by Big Tiny's Grill, which opened last fall in the Chapman Ford Crossing shopping center on Chapman Highway. The plaza itself is practically a ghost mall, but you'll find Big Tiny's very near the still-popular I Love New York Pizza.
There were several parties seated in Big Tiny's open main dining area, but we were both astounded by how quiet the restaurant was when we walked in. No conversation, no music. That quickly changed, however. Soon a soundtrack of '70s hits was piped in, and two unruly tots at a nearby table fussed, whine and cried unchecked during our entire stay.
Our chances of receiving good service at Big Tiny's looked pretty ugly early on. The one server working the floor had her hands full with the larger party (the one with the loud children), and we waited nearly 10 minutes before we were given any attention. During that time, another worker dropped a couple of menus off at our table, but that was it.
Speaking of which, Big Tiny's fare can best be described as pub grub, which is a fair evaluation. The bar does offer beer and wine service, has a pool table for recreation and hosts karaoke on Thursday nights. None of the fried appetizers like jalapeno poppers or corn pups or deep-fried dills interested us, but we did note that they had several varieties of wings.
The remainder of the menu features familiar sandwiches like burgers, a Reuben, a club, BLT, grilled chicken and, interestingly, a grilled cheese made with a quarter-pound of cheese on Texas toast. Wow. They also offer roast beef, ham and a turkey club as oven-roasted subs. With a classic oxymoronic name like Big Tiny's, I almost expected to see jumbo shrimp on the menu, but no such luck.
When our server finally got to our table, we were ready to place our entire order, which included a basket of 10 wings in hot sauce, a Philly cheese steak sandwich with fries for The Spouse and a Big Tiny cheeseburger for yours truly — a half pound of meat with the cheese of my choice melted inside (I went with pepper jack) and onion rings for my side. For drinks, we ordered waters with no lemon. I was concerned that our server wrote none of this down, and I saw mistaken orders in our immediate future.
However, I was proven wrong when all items came out on schedule, exactly as ordered. The wings were fair, not remarkable, and the "hot" sauce didn't strike my palate with much of a punch. Likewise, the Philly sandwich and burger were pretty good but not particularly noteworthy. The hefty burger patty itself — embellished only by the zesty, molten pepper jack cheese — could have used a little ingredient doctoring of some kind. I did appreciate the sturdy, squarish bun, and the O-rings were excellent, although I suspect both the rings and fries were of the bagged, frozen variety.
The only desserts available were some brownies and some chocolate cake that was left over from a group function two days earlier. No thanks.
Price-wise, I'd say Big Tiny's rates were in keeping with most national chains. Appetizers are around $5, and most sandwiches and burgers are in the $7 to $8 range.
All I know is that when The Spouse and I stepped back out into the parking lot, we were happy to again be surrounded by the sound of silence.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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