Cranberries Café: Great cuisine, gracious ambience

Mystery Diner • Jan 10, 2014 at 11:34 AM

There are many restaurants that offer great cuisine, and many that feature gracious ambience. Johnson City is truly fortunate having Cranberries Café, a bistro-style restaurant that does both equally well.

Cranberries Café offers light fare for breakfast and lunch six days a week in a storefront that looks out onto one of the busiest intersections in town –– Knob Creek Road at Sunset Drive. Yet, with all that frenetic energy being expended just steps from the door, Cranberries’ patrons are tucked away in comfortable and cultured surroundings.

Creations by local artists adorn the walls of the bright, airy dining room while soft rock and jazz are provided as musical background for conversation. The customers keep the kitchen busy, especially so during lunch when the nearby workforce of mostly young professionals and the regular patrons all stop in for a bite.

Cranberries’ kitchen does hand-built sandwiches that feature their own prepared ingredients and fillings. They even bake their own artisan breads. Their several soups are all home made and feature a special soup of the day in addition to the current selections. The salads are invariably fresh, carefully prepared and have several choices of dressings. Homemade cakes, pies and cobblers are available through the dessert menu if you still have room.

The dine-around bunch has made Cranberries Café a frequent venue during trips through the north end of town. A recent Saturday afternoon found the five of us seated near the kitchen, menus in hand, me giving a squint at the counter’s blackboard for current specials. I chose the Hummus Wrap with a Tomato & Feta signature salad ($7.95), while my dining partner picked a half-sandwich of Ham & Cheddar and a cup of the potato soup ($8.50). The Retiree opted for a Chicken Salad ($9.50) with a cup of Tomato Bisque soup ($3.95). In a surprise, the Carnivore chose a Super Salad ($9.50) made up of Tuna Salad and two other of Cranberries’ signature salads, Oriental Noodle and Broccoli salads, all on one plate. The Dieter continued the salad theme and ordered Cranberries’ Tuna Salad ($9.95). Amid some spirited conversation having to do with shopping, (partner, Dieter and Retiree) and college football (Carnivore and myself) our meals arrived to divert our attention.

My Hummus Wrap mixed sliced tomato, cucumber, carrots and sunflower seeds with roasted red pepper hummus, a crunchy and tasty combination. The tomato & feta salad was also fresh and complemented the hummus wrap perfectly; a splash of house vinaigrette completed the dish. The Retiree’s Chicken Salad had chunks of white-meat chicken tossed with red onions, celery and chopped pecans and went well with the tomato bisque soup. My dining partner’s ham and cheddar sandwich was also good, especially so with a dip in her potato soup from time to time. The Carnivore’s Super Salad looked like someone had brought in the harvest and added catch of the day to it. Cranberries’ Oriental Noodle and broccoli-cauliflower signature salads competed for elbow room on the plate with a big serving of their Tuna Salad (albacore, no less) with hardboiled eggs and tomato slices.

I asked my friend if his order was due to some New Year’s resolution, but he just winked at me and said nothing. The Dieter was also enjoying the flavor bouquet of her tuna salad; I sneaked a forkful and could see why. The Retiree and my partner each wanted to try one of Cranberries’ dessert offerings, choosing the Peach & Cranberry Cobbler and Coconut Cake respectively. The coconut cake slice was substantial, fresh, well-made and gone inside of five minutes. The cobbler was my favorite, the cranberries adding a note of tartness to the smooth natural sweetness of the peaches.

Cranberries Café does catering and has a separate catering menu available. They even offer on-site meeting space in their “quaint dining room” for your next event. Breakfast is available from 8 a.m. during the week and 11 a.m. on Saturday featuring fresh fruit, homemade breads, biscuits, bagels and quiche of the day. The dine-around bunch had a great time at Cranberries Café, and so should you.

Cranberries Café

1904 Knob Creek Road,

Suite #5

Johnson City, TN


Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sat 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Available on Facebook

Credit cards accepted

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