Knoxville Farmacy is the latest farm to table eatery that has opened in West Knoxville. Bettina Hamblin, a local who has made her reputation and created a following from her Luxe Catering company, has turned her catering space into a quick service style restaurant featuring a creative Southern menu with fresh ingredients sourced from local farms. Planted in the belief that good food is good medicine, Hamblin named her new venture using a play on the word pharmacy. She hopes to provide great food and great service that will have customers returning often.
According to Hamblin, they get everything that they can from local sources and they make everything from scratch down to the salad dressings and marinades.
As you walk in the door, you’ll find the menu hanging on clipboards from an industrial pipe.
You’ll be greeted by a friendly face taking orders behind the counter.
Open daily 10am-4pm, the Knoxville Farmacy is serving up a full menu of lunch style options along with daily specials. On Saturdays and Sundays, there will also be an optional brunch menu. For brunch, you can order things like chicken and waffles, chicken tinga, and lemon poppyseed pancakes. For lunch, you have salad, sandwich, soup and main options. There are classic sides with a fresh twist like white cheddar chipotle mac, browned butter green beans, and pepper-corn salad. While we went for brunch and ended up sticking to brunchy things, there is plenty on the lunch side of the menu that peaks our interest. In fact, they are one of only a few places in Knoxville offering Hot Chicken! I know my husband is dying to try it and I already have plans to go back and try the Cure-All – a grilled salmon with avocado, sprouts, arugula, pickled red onion and tomato with garlic-jalapeno aioli. The day we ate brunch was in their very first week being open and so they weren’t running a full menu yet, which is why you see “Coming Soon” on some menu items. By now they are fully functional and serving the entire menu.
The day’s specials are written out on giant roll of butcher paper hanging behind the counter.
Inside, the decor is very reminiscent of a Joanna Gaines style fixer upper filled with delicious Magnolia finds. In fact, the hubs even said that it looked like something Joanna Gaines would dream up. There are tons of farmhouse finds and southern charm. Hanging plants float from the open, industrial ceiling giving an air of enjoying your meal outdoors. I really felt like I was sitting outside on the patio of an adorable historic farmhouse or Charleston mansion for lunch. Being served up flavored sweet tea in a glass mason jar certainly didn’t hurt the vibe either.
After you order at the front counter, you will be given a number for your table very much like a chain quick-service restaurant. The food is delivered to your table in a few minutes. In fact, their goal is to have food on the table within 10-12 minutes knowing that time during a lunch hour is limited, which is when their peak hours hit during the week.
I tried one of the day’s specials – chicken tinga – which is actually a regular item on the brunch menu. Beer Braised Chicken is layered with a Crispy Tostada, Black Beans, Roasted Corn salad, Arugula, and a Fried Egg.
This dish was incredibly flavorful and just darn pretty on the plate. The chicken was shredded, juicy and tender. The corn salad provided a pop of bright, freshness to the plate. The fried egg was perfectly cooked – over easy with a nice runny egg yolk. And I always think bitter arugula pairs well with heartier savory dishes like this one!
The one thing I noted when eating it was how it was not a “hot” dish and that makes total sense with this being a quick-service style restaurant. If the goal is to get diners in and out quickly, then almost everything here would be premade for the day. The only thing they’d be cooking off at time of order would be the fried egg and an over easy egg is never going to get super hot. Most of the ingredients here are salad style and I was totally okay with that. The dish did not need to be hot to be enjoyable.
The Chicken & Waffles that Remington ordered came with Rosemary Corn Waffles and Fried Chicken topped with Maple Syrup! Somehow the Farmacy managed to whip out perfectly cooked fried chicken tenders in a matter of minutes! We wondered if they are parcooking them ahead for the day or in batches and then flash frying them to finish them off upon order! That Bettina Hamblin is one smart cookie. 😉
I will say though that while the chicken was amazing and the flavor of the waffle was delicious, the texture of the waffle actually fell a little flat. I’d expect a waffle to be crispy on the outside, but soft and cakey on the inside. This waffle was not crispy at all. I realize that dousing it in maple syrup can contribute to the sogginess, but it should hold up longer than the time it takes to run it out to the table from the kitchen. So again, I wonder if these are premade for the day because the texture wasn’t quite that of one that just came out of the waffle iron. However, that said, we would still order this dish again.
Remington also could not pass up the White Cheddar-Chipotle Mac. Cheddar cheese and chipotle are two of his favorite things! Combine that with macaroni and he’s in heaven. Under neath that top layer of crispy cheese was a super creamy luscious cheese sauce with smoky flavor. We could taste the white cheddar and chipotle, but also detected hints of gouda and maybe even cottage cheese or ricotta. So yummy and I only had a bite because of Asher’s dairy sensitivity, but I could dive head first into this entire bowl.
We were actually there celebrating this guy’s first Father’s Day! Thankfully we got there early because just 30 minutes after opening they were already slammed and nearly every table inside was full. We Knoxvillians have a flair for what’s trendy and new! So
if when you go check the Farmacy out, you may want to pick a non-peak time during the day. The only downside to a quick-service place like this is the lack of seating with no area to wait for a table. If you’ve ordered and no tables open up, I guess you’d just have to grab your food to go.
Overall, the three of us had a fabulous little brunch. We were able to take our time and enjoy our meal without feeling rushed despite the quick-service style, but we were also in and out in about an hour, which just meant we had more of our day to enjoy relaxing at home! Having gone in their opening week, we can overlook a lot of the little services issues or glitches as I am sure they will work out the kinks as become more seasoned.
Visit Knoxville Farmacy at 9430 S Northshore Dr, Ste 104, Knoxville, TN 37922. Prices range from $7.50 to $11.50. Hours are 10 a.m-4 p.m Monday-Sunday.