4143 Wears Valley Road
Multiple readers have recently sent me e-mails urging me to try out Elvira’s Cafe in Wears Valley. It’s been open for just a few months now, but based on my pre-visit research online, the new eatery seems to have already gained quite a loyal following from Sevier County locals and out-of-towners alike.
The Grub Spouse and I dropped in for a recent noontime visit since the restaurant hasn’t yet expanded into evening hours. We found Elvira’s on U.S. 321 at the far west end of Wears Valley. Even though the weather was yucky that day and the peak tourism season hadn’t kicked in yet, they seemed to be doing a fairly brisk level of business.
Breakfast is served all day, and lunch starts after 11 a.m., so we were given menus for both meals. We decided to divide and conquer, with me focusing on the lunch fare and The Spouse taking on a breakfast item.
We had learned going in that Elvira’s takes a farm-to-table approach to its cuisine, offering cage-free brown eggs, scratch-made dressings, meats that are cooked on site and as many locally produced ingredients as possible.
For breakfast, their signature items are their buckwheat (or buttermilk) pancakes — topped with your choice of fresh fruits and nuts — and their sweet or savory European-style crepes. Other items include scratch-made biscuits and the Mountain Man Omelet — a three-egg omelet filled with vegetables, Swaggerty sausage, Applewood smoked bacon and ham, cheddar cheese and topped with sausage gravy.
The Spouse tried the steak and eggs crepe ($11), which also includes caramelized onions and mushrooms and is topped with sausage gravy.
On the lunchy side, I saw items like the Benton’s Bacon BLT, a chicken salad sandwich, several savory crepe configurations, and The Bavarian — house-cooked roast beef, red cabbage, sautéed mushrooms, Havarti cheese and homemade horseradish sauce served on pumpernickel bread.
I went with their Reuben sandwich ($10), made with house-cooked corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and homemade Thousand Island dressing on rye.
Both choices were good ones. The crepe was quite large, and the fillings were superb, from the delectably grilled steak to the caramelized onions and mushrooms. It was a great mix of flavors, and the cage-free eggs were delish.
The Reuben did not disappoint either. It was tasty, satisfying and put together the way a Reuben was meant to be, except that the dressing is served on the side.
The restaurant doesn’t really offer dessert items per se, although the sweet crepes — which feature a variety of fruits, nuts, spreads and creams — would certainly satisfy any sweet post-meal cravings.
The two servers working the floor that day seemed like they had their hands full, but they got back-up from the woman we presumed to be the owner, Elvira. And the attention we received was adequate. Hopefully, they’ll be prepared when the real busy season kicks in.
We’d be happy to put Elvira’s on our repeat-visit list next time we’re in the valley, although we may just wait until next winter when the traffic dies down again.
Food: 4 stars (out of five)
Address: 4143 Wears Valley Road, Wears Valley
Hours: 7 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
No alcohol service
Dept. of Health score: 100
Bottom Line: When visiting the mountains this spring or summer, consider this new Wears Valley dining spot a main culinary attraction.
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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