Though several restaurants in Johnson City either moved or closed last year, there are new players getting ready for their soon-to-be Grand Openings. Mid-January found one such new player opening on Johnson City’s Milligan Highway.
The player is Georgia Georgiou, proprietor of the area’s numerous Mad Greek restaurants. Instead of Mediterranean cuisine, Georgiou’s latest enterprise offers good ol’ Southern-style cookin’.
There is plenty of parking available outside The Hungry Wolf. The dining room has room for 64 patrons in comfortable surroundings, its back wall notable for featuring a mural of the Three Little Pigs in headlong flight presumably from the hungry Wolf.
A good-sized takeout and cashier counter occupies one wall. Fresh cakes are featured daily in a nearby display case. There is a flat-screen TV on the wall opposite the takeout counter with Chef Jacob Johnson’s busy kitchen in between. Renovated restrooms are to be found at the rear of the dining room.
Pulled Pork platter w/coleslaw & fried okra: Recently, the dine-around bunch and I joined friends Pappa and Nonnie for supper at The Hungry Wolf. Arriving at the start of their supper rush, our capable server Colby found a cozy table for us.
The Hungry Wolf features comforting, Southern-style cooking. Spotting their big smoker grill prompted our friend the Retiree to ask Colby to bring her The Hungry Wolf’s pulled pork barbecue platter ($8.99) with coleslaw, fried okra and cornbread as her side orders.
Chef Johnson makes sure his pulled pork barbecue is smoked properly, and you can taste his efforts here. Her fried okra was good as was Johnson’s house-made coleslaw. While her tasting plate was shared round the table, the Retiree made the rest of her pulled pork platter a savory memory.
Chicken Salad sandwich plate w/ coleslaw: The Dieter wanted something lighter than pork barbecue for her supper, and ordered a chicken salad sandwich plate ($5.99) sided with coleslaw. The chicken was smoked perfectly, then mixed with some delicious ingredients and topped with lettuce and tomato on multigrain toast. Our friend remarked that the coleslaw made a tasty dipping sauce for her sandwich. Accepting a taste of the Dieter’s sandwich, I agreed.
Meat Loaf Patty Melt w/ campfire baked beans: The Carnivore was in his element at The Hungry Wolf. After spotting a menu entry titled “Meat Loaf Patty Melt,” our meat-eating friend ordered one ($5.99) with some of The Hungry Wolf’s Campfire baked beans on the side.
A truly “two-fisted” sandwich, its contents were two thick slabs of meat loaf, topped with caramelized onions, melted American cheese and brown gravy on two slices of Texas Toast. Having the slow-simmered baked beans on the side to dunk it in made the patty melt yummy indeed.
Daily Special: Cream of tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwich: Nonnie had gotten chilled on our trip to The Hungry Wolf and needed a quick warm-up for her tummy. Colby suggested the Daily Special: a bowl of scratch-made cream of tomato soup sided with (what else?) an American grilled cheese sandwich ($4.99). Her tomato soup was thick, all right: Nonnie could just about stand her soup spoon up in it. The grilled cheese sandwich was also delicious, especially so when dipped into the cream of tomato soup.
Hamburger steak platter w/ mashed potatoes and stockpot green beans: While Nonnie was warming up with her soup and sandwich, Pappa was digging into his hamburger steak platter ($9.99) along with its mashed potatoes, cornbread and stockpot green beans. The 12-ounce hamburger steak was grilled just as Pappa wanted it to be.
Though brown gravy was available, Pappa wanted only the caramelized onions. The lightly seasoned mashed potatoes were quite bland; not so with the stockpot green beans. Here, Chef Johnson had cooked his green beans in spice-laden pot liquor until the green beans were deliciously spicy. Pappa liked them so much he mixed them into his mashed potatoes.
“Southern Comfort” burger plate w/ macaroni & cheese: My dining partner was in a burger mood. Wanting something more than just the standard burger-on-a-bun she opted for The Hungry Wolf’s “Southern Comfort” burger ($6.99) with a side of macaroni & cheese.
Her “Southern Comfort” hamburger was a simple pleasure, being topped with grilled onions and mushrooms, with brown gravy available if needed, which my dining partner did not. Her side of macaroni & cheese was OK; using more cheese would have made it delectable.
Big Bad BLT w/ small garden salad: My choice was the Big Bad BLT sandwich ($5.99) to which I added a small garden salad a la carte ($3.99) instead of the usual side order. My Big Bad “sammich” was done “my way,” with six slices of smoked bacon topped by lettuce leaves, a slice of red ripe tomato and no mayonnaise of any kind, and delicious.
My garden salad was also good; fresh, crisp lettuce and field greens, julienned carrot, sliced rings of onion, diced tomato and croutons for texture. Though there was ranch dressing, I chose a squirt or two of The Hungry Wolf’s proprietary barbecue sauce instead. Perfection.
The bottom line: The Hungry Wolf is a welcome addition to Johnson City’s ever-changing restaurant scene. With owner Georgia Georgiou at the helm and Chef Jacob Johnson in the kitchen, this restaurant can only be successful.
The Hungry Wolf currently serves only lunch and supper, though they should have a breakfast menu ready to go within the next thirty to sixty days.
Enjoying Southern style cooking in Southern style comfort? What more could you ask for?
The Hungry Wolf
1436 Milligan Highway
Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
Available on Facebook
Credit cards accepted