Dear Readers, may I present to you Ms. Janis MacGregor and Mr. David Outar, a pair of restaurateurs from just over the hill in Asheville, North Carolina. MacGregor and Outar own and run Asheville’s Bavarian Restaurant and Biergarten on the north end of town at the Woodfin suburb.

It is a popular place, being much frequented by customers from Tennessee, who were not shy about entreating the pair to open a new restaurant on this side of Sams Gap. Well, the pair looked at many different locations throughout the Tri-Cities before choosing 202 Union St. in the town of Erwin as the location of their restaurant and naming it the Pampered Palate Café.

Erwin has always been a favorite getaway destination for my dining partner and I. My dining partner is particularly fond of Erwin’s compact and historical downtown, a solid contender in any “Best Small Town Downtown in Tennessee” contest.

The Pampered Palate is in the same storefront formerly occupied by Lina’s Sandwiches & Soup. Inside there is table seating for 30 or so guests and counter seating for 15 more. Those patrons wanting “al fresco” dining at the Pampered Palate Café will find sidewalk dining available, with seats and tables set up out in front of the restaurant.

In keeping with the small-town restaurant theme, the décor is a pleasing “Fifties Retrospective” style. Restrooms are to be found at the rear of the main dining area.

Reuben sandwich with German potato salad

We got a surprise walking through the café’s front door. Our server was Jennifer, previously employed by Lina’s Sandwiches and Soup, who told us that owners MacGregor and Outar retained several of Lina’s more-popular entrees on their menu as well. After some friendly catching up chit-chat, my dining partner asked Jennifer to bring her a Reuben sandwich ($8.25) with a side order of German potato salad.

Jennifer thin-sliced a good stack of the corned beef, added some melted Swiss cheese along with some of the Pampered Palate’s made-on-site sauerkraut and a smear of Thousand Island dressing, all grilled on a hoagie bun instead of the usual rye bread; my dining partner is allergic to rye flour products.

Though my dining partner was very pleased with her Reuben sandwich, her side order of German Potato Salad was another matter. Though the onion and bacon-flavored sauce was delicious, the sliced potatoes were not cooked through, needing some of that extra time on the stove to reach perfection.

Bratwurst with German potato salad and sauerkraut

While my dining partner was enjoying her Reuben sandwich, I was awash in gemutlichkeit over my order of Bratwurst sided with German potato salad and sauerkraut ($10.25). The bratwurst filling was pork and veal forcemeat properly seasoned with notes of dill, rosemary and ground black pepper stuffed into a natural casing and steamed until just right.

As for side orders, my serving of German potato salad was cooked properly, so I made sure to share it with my dining partner so she could enjoy it, too.

With some of the Pampered Palate’s sauerkraut on the side along with a ramekin of some for-real German mustard, my bratwurst entree had me in a very gemutlich frame of mind.

The bottom line

Owners MacGregor and Outar are to be congratulated. The ampered Palate Café’s interesting menu variety coupled with the friendly and professional service provided by veteran Jennifer are bound to be successful, and sure to attract a steady stream of hungry customers to their location at the corner of Union Street and South Main Avenue.

Attracting customers to downtown Erwin should make their neighboring merchants very happy indeed.

My dining partner and I can’t think of a better place to get our collective palates pampered than at Erwin’s Pampered Palate Café. Why not stop by and get your palate pampered as well?