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Taste the flavors of East Tennessee with Knoxville Food Tours


Enhance a group’s visit to Knoxville, Tennessee, with an award-winning food tour. Knoxville Food Tours, established in 2010, gives groups the chance to learn the history of the city, including local culture, art and architecture, while savoring multiple food tastings from local, iconic restaurants. 

Strawberry salad at Bistro at the Bijou in Knoxville, Tennessee

Photo: Bistro at the Bijou Strawberry salad, Bistro at the Bijou, Knoxville, Tenn.

“My goal is to help guests learn details about Knoxville that they were not familiar with, and to facilitate a positive experience in the city,” said Paula Johnson, owner of Knoxville Food Tours.

In addition to running Knoxville Food Tours, Johnson is a local historian and author of Lost Restaurants of Knoxville.

Groups can get their hands on authentic Southern and Appalachian cuisine, and can also add pairings with wine flights, handcrafted cocktails, Tennessee whiskey, bourbons, moonshine and local craft beer.

Johnson offers four options for private tours: Original Food Tour, Lunch & Learn Guided History Tour, Lunch & Learn Lost Restaurants of Knoxville, and Bus tours. Tours can be customized to fit each groups’ needs.

The most popular tour is the Original Food Tour, which includes a guided history tour throughout Knoxville, along with food tastings at different restaurants. The walking tour is about 1 mile in length.

Sandwich at Bistro at the Bijou in Knoxville, Tennessee

Photo: Bistro at the Bijou Sandwich, Bistro at the Bijou, Knoxville, Tenn.

The Lunch & Learn Lost Restaurants of Knoxville tour includes a presentation on Johnson’s new book, Lost Restaurants of Knoxville, a copy of the book for each guest and a lunch at one location.

“A favorite stop on my tours is Bistro at the Bijou, which opened in 1980 and is currently the oldest restaurant in our downtown, and is located in the fourth-oldest building in Knoxville,” Johnson said. “Also, the Oliver Royale and Tupelo Honey are popular, which are both located in a historic building built in 1875 by a Civil War veteran.”

Tours can be customized to fit a group’s needs. Two weeks’ notice is preferred for larger groups, and motorcoach parking can be arranged prior to tours.

For more information, call 865-201-7270 or visit


About Author

Kelsey Smith, Associate Editor

The more wine columnist Kelsey Smith travels, the more tales she can’t wait to tell. She especially likes to discover how destinations and attractions can accommodate groups. To earn a star on her travel checklist, there better be parking for a motorcoach and dining, at least nearby. Watch for the debut of her blog, “Wine Wednesday.”

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