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Kingsport’s Rush Street makes hit after hit

The Mystery Diner • Feb 4, 2019 at 12:00 AM

A successful film director once declared, with remarkable smugness:

“Yep, I am the guy who makes hit after hit.”

I know restaurateurs who could also make the same claim. One in particular comes to mind, that being Mr. Jerry Feliu at Rush Street Neighborhood Grill in Kingsport.

As a high school senior, Feliu learned his trade working at Rush Street’s previous incarnation, the Chicago Dough Company. After graduating top of his class from the Culinary Institute of America, Feliu brought his talent and his drive to succeed back to Kingsport in 1997, and the dining public has been enjoying “hit after hit” from Rush Street’s kitchen ever since.

Rush Street Neighborhood Grill is located on Stone Drive in Kingsport. The building is a one-story gray stucco structure with red awnings fronted by a substantial portico. Inside, the décor is “Tavern/Solarium Hybrid” style; the “Tavern” part being dark woods, brass railings and Art Deco lamps near the bar, while the “Solarium” is a sunny glassed-in patio with light-colored furniture and enough plant life to fill a greenhouse. You’ll find the facility is neat and tidy, just as it was when the dine-around bunch and I stopped in for an early supper recently.

Rush Street’s wait staff is professional to the core. Our server, Ashley, was kind enough to inform us that, being Saturday, the “Two for One Burgers” special offer was in effect. Welcome news indeed for the Carnivore, who had been making growly noises in the car coming over.

Ashley suggested he try Rush Street’s nine-ounce cheeseburger platter ($10.95) sided with an order of fries. My meat-eating friend agreed, asking the rest of us who would be joining him for the free portion of Rush Street’s “Burger Twofer” deal and got a nod from the Retiree.

Ashley had the Carnivore’s choice in front of him inside of 15 minutes, and it was an impressive creation: nine ounces of 100 percent Angus beef, grilled medium rare, topped solely with melted cheddar and jack cheese blend. His stack of homemade fries were golden on the outside and fluffy white inside. Is that the afternoon sun peeking through the restaurant window? No, it’s just the Carnivore with a big smile on his face.

The Retiree’s part of the Burger Twofer deal was a six-ounce cheeseburger ($8.95) with fries and burger fixings on the side, please. The Retiree’s cheeseburger arrived tableside with “some assembly required,” of course.

Our friend spent the next five minutes making sure her burger was stacked just so, with the onion slice on the melted Swiss cheese, the tomato next and then the lettuce, with mustard on top and ketchup on the bottom. With a nod of thanks to the Carnivore, the Retiree took a big bite out of the Burger Twofer deal, and was soon wearing a smile as big as the Carnivore’s was.

Since the Carnivore and the Retiree were going partners, my dining partner and the Dieter decided to honor Rush Street’s Chicago Dough Company heritage, pairing up to share a 10-inch veggie pizza ($9.95).

Rush Street’s take on this classic starts with their own proprietary thin-crust pizza dough topped with Rush Street’s equally proprietary red sauce. A good quantity of freshly sliced vegetables are then spread on the sauce and then topped with Rush Street’s special blend of pizza cheeses.

A trip through the pizza oven completes the baked perfection placed in front of my dining partner and the Dieter, and put smiles on two more faces at our table that evening.

As for me, I wasn’t in the mood for burgers or for pizza. I wanted to stick a fork in an old Rush Street favorite of mine, a lunch-sized portion of their ‘Anytime’ lasagna ($10). It’s so named because you can order it for lunch or for supper at Rush Street.

The meal includes a dinner salad and an order of Rush Street’s cheese bread. The lasagna is made in-house from the noodles on up, with layers of veal and Italian sausage matched with mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheeses, robed in Rush Street’s red marinara sauce and baked until bubbly.

Its side order is a crisp, fresh dinner salad with only a brief drizzle of oil and vinegar to cover the fresh slices of lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber, and don’t forget a few croutons for texture. The cheese bread slices were excellent; fresh Italian bread topped first with olive oil and seasonings, then with Rush Street’s pizza cheeses and baked to perfection. Truly, my meal was the sum of its delicious parts.

Rush Street Neighborhood Grill has almost (but not quite) achieved the status of a Kingsport landmark. Jeff Feliu’s influence and expertise has guided Rush Street to the point where his dining patrons can expect nothing less than a delicious meal made from top-quality ingredients, served by a friendly wait staff in comfortable surroundings, all on a regular basis. Our supper at Rush Street Neighborhood Grill was definitely a “hit after hit.” Stop by and see if your visit is the same.

Rush Street Neighborhood Grill

1229 E. Stone Drive



Sun-Thu 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-midnight

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