We are the kind of foodies that have to create a list of the area restaurants we want to try just to keep up with the ever growing number of new food purveyors in east TN. Knoxville is known as having one of the highest ratios of restaurants per capita so there are constantly plenty of choices. One restaurant closes? Wait 5 minutes and three more are bound to open up. It’s a good problem to have. Sure, we have a house to do list and a travel list, but our bucket lists also include what food we want to eat.
Well, we were able to mark one more restaurant off our list of those to try with a recent trip to the Powell area for a quick, affordable dinner of German fast food at GruJo’s. The trip made me nostalgic for a study abroad I did over a summer in college in Germany. Street food stalls shaving off döner meat, serving up curry wurst and frites are seared into my memory of that time. Germany was also where I really started to drink (and enjoy) beer. Beer is basically water to them after all. 😉 So here’s a quick review and recap of the food and our experience getting a taste of Germany in Knoxville.
Located in north Knoxville in the Powell neighborhood, GruJo’s is run by a husband and wife duo along with her parents out of an old gas station. He is ex-military and she is ex-German (err well I guess you never really lose your heritage). They moved back to his hometown and brought the in-laws over to help them open a German eatery. The space is bright and clean with plenty of seating. You order at the front counter and they will bring your food to you at your table. Drinks, silverware, napkins, ketchup and all of those essentials can be found at the back of the dining area.
They serve up a style of food equivalent to fast food or street food over in the motherland – doner, bratwurst, schnitzel, falafel, German style bread and fries, house-made sauces, and of course beer.
GruJo’s is one of the few places in the area where you can get good quality imported German beer on tap. I think the only other place this is consistently true is at Linderhof – another area German restaurant out in Farragut. GruJo’s offered five different beers on tap – the night we were there they had a pauliner, spaten, warsteiner, even seasonal beers – and you can get those beers in every size of your dreams from a pint up to das boot.
Remington got a half liter of the Warsteiner Winter, which was a rich amber red beer. Man, there’s not much in the beer world that beats a good German beer on tap.
He also ordered the special for the day, which was their Jäger schnitzel plate with frites. Schnitzel is a very thinly pounded pork cutlet lightly breaded and fried. This one was topped with their classic house-made Jäger sauce – a thick, mushroom cream sauce.
I opted for the Döner Kebab – a huge sandwich on German brotchen loaded with thinly shaved doner meat, salad, and your choice of sauce. I chose the house-made tzatziki sauce – Greek yogurt loaded with cucumber, lemon and lots of spices like garlic and herb. Döner meat is beef and lamb that has been cooked on a vertical rotisserie spit slowly turning for hours. To serve it up – it is shaved very thin directly off the spit.
Both dishes came with a side of their German style fries, which get a sprinkling of their special seasoning. These were perfectly thin and crispy – the flavor on them was on point for seasoned fries. They were not overly salty or seasoned though. I could have put away a bucket of the fries alone.
So excited to have another solid choice in Knoxville to get good German fare, especially one that is quick, easy, and very affordable. We love Linderhof, but it’s an event eating there with most dishes made to order – a dinner can take hours. One important thing to note when visiting GruJo’s is that many menu items are house-made daily and so they could run out of something. We wanted to try an order of their falafel, but they only make so many per day and were out, so we’ll just have to head over there earlier in the day next time to give them a try.
Next time you are in the mood for something different for lunch or dinner, give GruJo’s a try.
1420 E. Emory Rd.
Powell, TN 37938 37938