The first thing you notice when you walk through the front door of the Tipton Street Pub is a big kelly-green and white flag suspended from the ceiling, emblazoned with the logo “KCCO.”
Though made popular in England during World War II as “Keep Calm and Carry On,” today the phrase translates as the motto of a website that is very popular with the local cognoscenti (that’s “Those in the Know” for the rest of us).
There has been a bar-slash-tavern-slash-restaurant occupying 110 Tipton St. for a good long while. Today’s Tipton Street Pub still serves beer of local, commercial and artisan varieties along with other liquors, and does so across a classic 50-feet-long bar that just about fills their one big room. There are several high-top pub tables and booths scattered around and any wall surface unencumbered by a television or window is adorned with some sort of saloon-based memorabilia.
The kitchen enjoys a good reputation for some of the tastiest pub-style food in the area. The front of the house is ably managed by James, who greeted the dine-around bunch affably when we stopped in for lunch last week.
In addition to strong waters, the pub serves soft drinks and fruit juices, but no tea, iced or otherwise.
After handing around our drinks, James saw to our lunch order. One of the best reasons to have lunch at Tipton Street Pub is its lunch special, which features your choice of six of their popular lunch items, a side order where indicated and a drink, all for $6.50, tax included.
My dining partner picked the cheeseburger and fries lunch special to go with her diet Coke, while the Dieter chose the club salad lunch special. The Carnivore ordered the Philly cheesesteak lunch special, and I decided to be different, opting for the southwest chicken eggrolls, also $6.50.
James made a quick trip to the kitchen and returned in 10 minutes with our orders.
The Dieter’s club salad was the usual chopped iceberg and leaf lettuce classed up with shredded carrot, purple cabbage, chopped celery, onion and radish. The “chef” portion consisted of deli-sliced smoked turkey strips mixed with a Colby-jack cheese shred and bacon bits. All of it was fresh, crunchy and gone by the end of the meal.
The Carnivore was pleased with his Philly cheesesteak sandwich, his favorite thin-sliced beefsteak grilled and topped with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and mushrooms. His fries were fresh made and deep-fried ‘til just so, making the perfect match with his sandwich, neither of which lasted long.
My dining partner remarked that her cheeseburger was the best she’d had since the one we grilled at our last family Labor Day. James overheard, and said that they’d just installed a new charcoal grill.
My southwest chicken eggrolls were a treat. James said that the Pub smokes its own meats — and that’s what they did for my egg rolls, blending smoked chicken with red peppers, black beans, marinated corn, spinach and pepper jack cheese, all wrapped up in a wonton noodle and fried until crispy golden. I used the chipotle ranch dressing as my dipping sauce, and was quite pleased with the result.
Tipton Street Pub is known for their wings and chicken tenders. They’ll even bring a bottle of Valentina, my favorite hot sauce, to your table if you ask for it. The kitchen is pretty flexible about making changes and substitutions to menu items.
All in all, Tipton Street Pub serves great food at lunch or any time and their lunch specials can’t be beat. As we were leaving, James said that they and their next door neighbor, 112 Downtown, were expanding their sidewalk patio street-ward and should have the larger space ready in time for Johnson City’s Blue Plum Festival on June 6.
KCCO may have originally stood for “Keep Calm and Carry On,” but at Tipton Street Pub it should stand for “Keep Cookin’ and Come On.”
Tipton Street Pub
110 Tipton Street
Mon - Sat 11 a.m. – 3 a.m.
Sun 12 p.m. – 3 a.m.
Available on Facebook
Credit cards accepted