Grub Scout: Joshua's may be off the beaten path, but is spot-on for tasty food

Joshua's on the River

Joshua's on the River

Joshua's on the River

Sevierville

2004 Red Bank Road

865-366-7126

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Every now and then, I’ll learn about a restaurant I’ve never heard of through good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Such was the case with Joshua’s on the River, which more than one acquaintance (none of them knowing that I was The Grub Scout) gave high praise.

The Grub Spouse and I decided to sample the Sevier County eatery ourselves, heading just beyond Sevierville to Joshua’s location on Pittman Center Road (which happens to be a great back route to Gatlinburg). We discovered that Joshua’s indeed overlooks the Little Pigeon River, although the confined deck seating area offers partially obstructed views of the water itself.

The Spouse and I chose to dine inside on the muggy night we visited. We were promptly greeted and watered, and were looking over the menu in no time. The different items cover a fair bit of ground, but overall, the selection is modest.

I noticed familiar appetizers like spinach dip, Southwest egg rolls, chicken wings and mozzarella sticks but didn’t consider any worth venturing into. You can get a pound of fresh mussels sauteed in garlic white wine sauce, but we decided to save room for a potential dessert.

Several salads are offered as well, but The Spouse and I focused on the sandwich and entree fare. The former includes burgers, a club, Reuben, Philly steak or chicken, a BLT and paninis. Our server highly recommended the homemade chicken salad, so The Spouse chose that sandwich, opting for wheat berry bread instead of the default croissant.

Entrees of note include blackened salmon and tilapia, pork chops, pesto chicken or shrimp pasta, grilled shrimp and country-fried steak. Based on another recommendation, I went for one of the two steaks, choosing the 12-ounce rib-eye over the 10-ounce sirloin. Both of our meals came with sides (one and two, respectively).

I can only offer positives when it comes to the food. My medium steak was cooked to order, full of marbled flavor (though not excessively so), well seasoned and tender in the mouth. It was a thinner cut than most rib-eyes, but it was a truly enjoyable piece of steak. My sides of rice and sautéed green beans added to the visual presentation and my tasting enjoyment.

The homemade chicken salad was also wonderful, served on fresh bread and accompanied by some bomdiggity onion rings. The onion slices were thick, beer-battered and delivered a powerful flavor combo of onion and breading.

For dessert we split a homemade blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. This was delish as well, although our particular serving was a little lighter on the crust than I prefer. An apple crisp, chocolate cake and cheesecake round out the sweet stuff selections.

The service levels were inconsistent. When our server was there, she was very thorough, efficient and personable. However, she stayed out of sight for way too long at key points in the meal.

Those outside Sevier County may or may not consider the food alone to be worth the extra drive, but if you’re headed to Gatlinburg, the Arts & Crafts Community or the mountains, Joshua’s is a great alternative to the Parkway chains and tourist throngs.

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Joshua’s on the River

Food: 4

Service: 3.5

Atmosphere: 3.5

Overall: 4

Address: 2004 Red Bank Rd., Sevierville

Phone: 865-366-7126

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays

Beer service only; wine pending

Kids’ menu

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Bottom Line: Try landing on the doorstep of this Sevier County restaurant for Southern fare made with a hearty, homemade spin.

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