Matt Hamilton: local food review

Exploring Italian restaurant venues in our area


First stop: Louie’s


The Original Louie’s Restaurant has been operating since 1958 right off of Broadway in Knoxville. At first, Louie’s was only a drive in restaurant, but since then it has changed to a dine-in establishment. Louie’s is family owned and family run, and they always make customers feel like they are a part of the family when they dine in.

The neat thing about Louie’s is that they make their spaghetti sauce and salad dressing from scratch, and they even hand bread their own onion rings! The sauce is so rich in flavor–you could almost drink the sauce by itself– it’s that good.Their sauce is an important part of the meal and it makes it so good.  People like it so much that Louie’s started selling it by the gallon!

They have free bread there, and it doesn’t come in a stick form but as a sliced baguette. So it’s longer and wider unlike a bread stick which is a medium length and not very wide.

My family orders a two combination platter which we split that includes a large portion of spaghetti, ravioli, and two huge meatballs all topped with their homemade amazing sauce and it comes with a side salad topped with homemade dressing.

If you are ever up in Knoxville looking for a great place to eat, I highly suggest going to Louie’s! The overall atmosphere of Louie’s is warm and inviting, and I will most definitely be going back!


Second Stop: Olive Garden


Olive Garden is an amazing place to eat and enjoy time with your family. When you walk into the restaurant, the bar is directly to the right and the lounge area you sit in and wait until your table is directly to the left. There is a hallway on the far left with restrooms and very many rooms and tables for big parties or for little parties. The overall atmosphere of Olive Garden is wonderful and pleasant!

A wine glass for everyone waits on each table. When you’re get seated they will take your drink order and ask if you want bread and salad–which are absolutely amazing–and you just keep wanting more and more. The salad dressing is homemade and it is a light and savory vinaigrette flavor. I have even seen a man get himself a cup of dressing just to dip the bread sticks in it. The public likes the dressing so much that Olive Garden began selling it in stores now for a cheap price.

One of the coolest things about Olive Garden, I think, is how you can have as much cheese as you want. The waiter or waitress will keep grating the cheese until you tell them to stop. One day, I was up there and I asked a waiter how much cheese he has ever put on a person’s plate and he said, “One table I used about about three chunks of cheese! That family obviously liked cheese!”.

I got spaghetti and was amazingly good and a huge portion, so I had to take some of it home and have it for lunch the next day! At $8.99, the amount of spaghetti you get is a great price. When you take a bite of any of the food there it’s like you’re biting into heaven (if you could do that). Personally,  I haven’t met anyone who doesn’t like Olive Garden. What I like the most is the bread and salad; it’s filling and its free so that is always a plus!


The decision: 


Although, if I had to choose between Olive Garden and Louie’s for a meal, I would pick Louie’s 9 out of 10 times! Louie’s had a more interesting venue and style to me and I would choose that any day.