All you Blount County fans of Vienna Coffee Company should at least be familiar with the location of the new Grinder and Grains Cafe near downtown Maryville. It’s in the converted house that VCC did business in for years before moving to its current location. That left G and G a comfortable, charming space to settle into, full of character and ambiance.
The Grub Spouse and I had heard good first-hand reports about Grinder and Grains, and since we knew the setting was unique, we stopped in recently for a Friday bite to eat. The interior was largely unchanged since Vienna’s departure. There are now more tables in the building’s multiple rooms to accommodate diners, as opposed to just cozy couches and chairs for sipping cups of joe.
The Spouse and I headed back toward the counter area and spent a few moments looking over the menu, through which the proprietors attempt to present a selection of eclectic, healthy, American cuisine. Most everything is categorized as a gourmet sandwich, a leafy salad or a flatbread pizza.
The leafy options include a chicken Caesar, Cobb, Southwest and spinach apple salads. Flatbreads range from barbecue, chicken pesto and margherita to spinach, veggie and cheese pizzas.
The Spouse and I both decided to try a sandwich. The ones we passed on included the club, portabella chicken, roast beef and Spanish ham sandwiches, as well as the veggie and raspberry turkey wraps.
The Spouse chose the chicken cherry salad sandwich, made with a mixture of oven-roasted chicken, dried cherries and cranberries, toasted almonds and house dressing, all on a freshly baked croissant, with a slice of apple on top. That comes with a side item, and The Spouse got the Spanish salad — lentil beans, avocado, corn, grape tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms bound by a honey-thyme vinaigrette.
I chose half of a turkey avocado sandwich. That one is made with oven-roasted turkey, Swiss cheese, bacon, tomato, mixed greens and avocado spread on G and G’s nine-grain bread. For my side, I ordered the spicy Moroccan couscous, made with curry, cumin, red roasted pepper, red onion, mint, pine nuts and golden raisins.
By the way, smoked Gouda broccoli is also offered as a side, and any of the sides can be served in meal-sized portions in their own right.
I thought the quality of all the items was superb. The turkey avocado sandwich’s meat and cheese was kicked up a notch by the juicy, ripe tomato, crunchy bacon and delicious avocado spread. I wished I’d gotten the whole version instead of just a half. And the couscous was phenomenal. I could definitely see me eating just that as a light meal some time.
The Spouse’s chicken salad was also very enjoyable. A festive, fruity spin on a traditional lunch staple, this salad mix was sweet and savory and carried well by the fresh croissant bread.
Grinder and Grains also offers gourmet coffees, craft beers and assorted homemade pastries on a rotating daily basis. We didn’t try any that evening, but if we make a repeat dinner stop, we’ll certainly give them our consideration. I suggest that you Blount County folks (or anyone passing through Maryville) consider doing the same with this restaurant.
Grinder and Grains
Address: 321 High Street, Maryville
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
Beer service only
Bottom Line: This new Maryville eatery serves eclectic, healthy cuisine, with gourmet coffees and craft beers to boot.
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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