Local Flavor of Northeast Tennessee: Johnson City

The local cuisine found exclusively in Johnson City, Tennessee, is like a fun treasure hunt for both visitors and locals. Just when you think you have tried all the best spots, you will be surprised by a new food truck who cooks the world’s most mouth watering phillies or a hole-in-the wall taco joint serving up authentic Korean street food.

To get a true feel for the diverse range of eateries that Johnson City has to offer, check out these four food establishments that are unique-to and only found here in our corner of the state.

Red Meze for a Taste of Mediterranean Cuisine

Red Meze Gyro

Red Meze has occupied space in the downtown area for two years and counting. With Turkish owners, this fine dining establishment offers Mediteranean dishes with a modern twist! From the classic Gyros & Pitas to the delicious Falafel appetizer, Red Meze is an outside of the box spot of lunch or dinner.

Pairs well withKey Lime Pie IPA* Seasonal from Johnson City Brewing Company.

What’s your favorite aspect of serving up quality food to Johnson City? Cory, FOH Operator, says, “Interacting with a wide variety of the clientele- people from the university, doctors, and all ethnicities and walks of life. I’m originally from Connecticut, and working here it’s great to have all of the exposure like you’d have in a big city that reaches outside the spectrum of Northeast Tennessee.”

Korean Taco House for The Most Amazing Fried Rice

Photo by: Korean Taco 

Nestled on the corner of Buffalo Street, if you look hard enough, you will find your new favorite takeout comfort food restaurant. The staff at Korean Taco meet their customers with friendly faces and exceptional service. And get this- the taste and presentation of their food is next level. The rice, with meat or vegetable, comes served in a large fried egg keeping it warm and savory for delivery or takeout. They’re also known for their ramen bowls, it’s the perfect way to warm up throughout the winter months.

Pairs well withPale Ale from Yee-Haw Brewery.

Alley Kat for Stellar Buffalo Chicken Wings, Sandwiches & Phillies

What used to be recognized on West Walnut Street as a Thursday night tradition for buffalo wings has transformed into one of JC’s most intrinsic food trucks. Alley Kat dishes out hot and spicy phillies, seasoned waffle fries, and yes- chicken wings! The food truck neighbors the parking lot of JRH Brewery making for a perfect evening of buffalo goodness and freshly crafted brew.

Pairs well withSlice IPA from JRH Brewing.

The customer service at Alley Kat is exceptional with friendly smiling faces behind the order window and prompt hot-to-order munchies!

Say “Hi” to Josh next visit!

Scratch for Mind-Blowing Wood-Fired Brick Oven Pizza

Photo By: Scratch Brick Oven

This heavenly pizza joint is a longtime local favorite spot! Scratch Brick Oven serves up farm-fresh ingredients on their famous “Trust” pizza, bringing in folks from all the surrounding cities. Not only are these pizzas made with delicious zest, but the groovy atmosphere really sets this place apart from the rest. While waiting on your order, the restaurant provides a record player with an eclectic mix of albums to choose and play at your own will.

*During the ongoing pandemic, Scratch is currently only serving takeout with outdoor seating.*

Pairs well withBYOB/ J-Town English Brown growler from Johnson City Brewing Company.

Enjoy the flavorful diversity of local spots to eat in Northeast Tennessee, and check out these sustainable coffee & juice shops in the area that are a must try!

Additional Local Eats We Recommend:

Sushi & Bento Box
Miso Teriyaki House
Wok & Hibachi

Brats & Kraut
Freiberg’s German Restaurant


Written by Alicia M. Bynum
Travel Writer | Photographer

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