On Mother’s Day, treat Mom to a memorable dining experience

Mystery Diner • May 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM

I admit it, I am proud to celebrate Mother’s Day. Moms do not get enough credit for their tireless efforts in raising a family, and in some cases helping to support and pay for their upbringing as well.

If you’ve not called your mother lately to thank her for the good job she did in raising you, then go do it now.

I’ll wait right here until you get back.

There, didn’t that make you feel better?

So, with Mother’s Day on Sunday, it is time for you to be thinking about where you are going to take your mother out to dinner. If you are having trouble, allow me to assist you in your decision-making.

After we take a cursory glance at your bank balance, let’s have a look at some of the contenders that I’ve selected from my very own Mystery Diner columns.

Let’s say that you’re looking for a restaurant that offers a variety of comfort-style food, since it looks like you’ll be taking more than just Mom out to eat. May I suggest the Ole Barn Restaurant (631-0403)? Open Sundays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. their family-style sit-down meals include dinner, drink and dessert for one set price per person, and offer enough variety for the pickiest of eaters.

If your Mom likes Asian food for Sunday brunch, there’s Johnson City’s Wok & Hibachi (928-9696), offering everything from sushi to the area’s best all-you-can-eat Asian buffet at lunch, and an outstanding menu of Chinese, Japanese and Thai selections for supper until 9 p.m.

Moms who like Mediterranean/Italian cuisine get a double nod from Primo’s in Elizabethton (543-1210) (and now in Unicoi, I understand) and from Bellagio’s (928-1911) in North Johnson City. Primo’s Italian cuisine has a decidedly western Mediterranean bent to it, while Bellagio’s favors more of an eastern, or “Greek/Aegean” style of cookery. In either case, both restaurants offer superb food prepared with fresh ingredients and have a friendly and knowledgeable staff to help Mom make her choice. Both Primo’s and Bellagio’s stay open until 9 p.m. on Sundays.

If Mom’s got a hankering for barbecue, set your Mother’s Day celebration for Saturday and take her to Ridgewood over in Bluff City (538-7543). Who better to cook and serve Mom the gold-standard of barbecue, (be it pork, chicken or beef) than Lisa Proffitt Peters and her team of pit-masters and kitchen staff? Just make sure you are inside the restaurant door by 2:30 p.m. for lunch or 8:30 p.m. for supper and be sure to get a booth next to the grille so you and Mom can enjoy Ridgewood’s version of “Dinner & a Show.”

Proprietors Bridgette Gordon and Tiffany Greenlee over at Salt N’ Pepper Soul Food (283-7685) have what it takes to make your Mother’s Day dining experience a memorable one. Here, comfort foods like fried chicken and macaroni & cheese rub shoulders with soul food favorites such as fried green tomatoes, chicken and waffles, and Low Country dishes like shrimp & grits. Though Salt N’ Pepper is open until 5 p.m. Sundays, it is best to get there early to secure a table. Once seated, be sure to let Mom know that it’ll take some time while your food is prepared to your order. Good things come to those who wait.

If you’ve got a case of the “Guilts” for not staying in better contact with Mom since last Mother’s Day, why not take her to one of the following area “dazzler” restaurants to make amends? First, there’s Rainbow Asian Cuisine (232-6688) the house restaurant at Johnson City’s Best Western Hotel, and a contender for number one Asian restaurant in the Tri-Cities. Be prepared not only for a magnificent meal, (along with a noticeable shrinkage in your wallet) but a subtle education for your palate as well.

Start your Mother’s Day celebration with a pleasant Sunday drive that ends with a reserved table for Sunday Brunch at Brumley’s, (787-7500) the house restaurant at Greeneville’s General Morgan Inn. Here, refined dining is alive and well. Count on Brumley’s genteel ambience to dazzle Mom with their knowledgeable wait staff providing first-class service to go with the first class cuisine. “Comfort food with a kick” never tasted better, especially when served at your linen-draped, silver and crystal-bedecked table that looks out onto historic downtown Greeneville.

Finally, if you just can’t decide on which area restaurant will do the trick, there’s always downtown Knoxville’s The Melting Pot (865-971-5400). Proprietor Jenna Prestergaard and her team build on their restaurant’s fondue theme and turn it into a exhilarating participatory event for all concerned. Granted, the cost for an outing at The Melting Pot can be daunting (credit cards accepted), but how often do you get the chance to really “Wow!” somebody, especially if that somebody is your mother? The Melting Pot is open Sundays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Be sure to get there early to secure parking nearby.

Where will I be this Mother’s Day? Over at Sandy & Dave Casmer’s Olde Towne Pancake House (913-8111) for their Sunday specials right around 11:30 a.m. Mom’s been talking about their crab cakes, and I’ve got my taste buds ready for some more of those fresh strawberry roll-ups.

Wherever you and your Mom go, I hope you have a great time, and make it a special Mother’s Day for her.

Recommended for You

    Johnson City Press Videos