Do you need some South in your mouth? Then Chandler's Deli is undoubtedly for you. Traditional Southern dishes and hearty portions have been a trademark of the East Knoxville establishment since its opening in 2000. No questions asked, Chandler's comfort food will tickle your fancy.
If you are hungry for fried chicken, sweet potatoes or collard greens, then head on over to Chandler's at 3101 East Magnolia Avenue. The small dining room provides a cozy atmosphere, the urn in the corner is filled with Kool-Aid, and the gospel music that whispers through a few overhead speakers completes the ambient appeal of this family-owned eatery.
But let's talk about the food. Their hand-breaded fried chicken is cooked to perfection everyday and if you are watching your waistline they also offer equally tempting slow-roasted rotisserie chicken. As a barbecue enthusiast, I wouldn't say that I go to Chandler's for their pulled pork or ribs but they are okay. In addition to these entrees, there are several kinds of fried fish, turkey, chicken 'n' dumplings, chicken livers and chitterlings (if you can stomach them).
Once you have ordered your entree, you get your choice of several mouth watering compliments. If you make the trek to Chandler's and don't order mac and cheese, then you may as well have stayed home. I have tried to recreate their recipe several times in my own kitchen and have never even come close. Barbed wire and gunfire could not keep me away from this stuff.
But after ordering the mac, I will leave the other side dish to you. My staples are green beans, fried okra or sweet potatoes- each just like Mama made it. You can choose from collard or mixed greens, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn (on or off the cob), broccoli cheddar casserole, and fried green tomatoes that would make Idgie Threadgoode proud.
If you have room for dessert, there are several options here, as well. I cannot testify to them all, but when I can make room, I always go for the banana pudding.
My only complaint for this delight of Southern cuisine is the lack of a traditional Southern bread. They offer corn muffins and rolls, neither of which fry my cheese. I need a homemade biscuit with some honey or a tweak or two in their cornbread recipe.
Perhaps the best things about Chandler's is the value it offers. For under $10, even the biggest of appetites will be provided with more than enough comfort food to fill their bellies. If you leave hungry then you should take on Kobayashi, the Nathan's hot dog eating champ.
The charming owners of this place are almost always there. Charlie and Gwen Chandler opened their restaurant nine years ago to answer Knoxville's call for a traditional family-style restaurant. Since then, Chandler's has been K-town's ultimate destination for traditional tastes of Dixie.
But don't take my word, check it out on your own. Maybe I'll see you there!
Check out Chandler's Deli at www.chandlersstore.com