Record Crowd Enjoys 17th Annual Taste of Blount
Maryville, Tenn. – On a pleasant late summer's eve, a record crowd of more than 650 people gathered to enjoy some of the best food in Blount County as 26 area restaurants, food trucks and grocers took part in the 17th annual Taste of Blount hosted by the Blount Partnership at the Theater in the Park in Maryville, Tenn.
"It was great to see the community come out to support our local restaurants and gourmet shops," said Blount Partnership president Bryan Daniels. “The friendly competition among the vendors is great and Taste of Blount really shows off the wide variety of places we have to eat here."
Sponsored by Reinhart Food Service, Cornerstone of Recovery, Food City, CBBC Bank, Express Strategic Services, Hyperion Networks and Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union, attendees voted for winners in seven categories while five culinary experts handed out the inaugural Culinary Excellence Awards.
Rocky’s Jamaica Sunrise took home Best Overall for the sixth straight year and Best Main Course for the eighth consecutive year with its jerk chicken breast.
Lambert’s Southern Pies and Bake Shop was named the Best Dessert for the third consecutive year with its apple dumplings. It also took home the Culinary Excellence Award, the only participant to win in both judgings.
Best Appetizer went to Metz Catering with its mango shrimp ceviche which also won Best Presentation for the third straight year.
McAlister’s Deli won Best Beverage for the fourth straight year and newcomer REO Cheesewagon won Best Sandwich with its blackberry smoke and grilled caprese.
The Culinary Excellences Awards were judged by five culinary experts -- Terri Geiser, Susan Headrick, Sherri McCall along with Mandee and Eric McNew – who put their professional taste buds to the test and anointed inaugural winners in six categories. Vendors were asked to submit one food item for the judges to determine which topped their chart.
The overall Culinary Excellence Award winner was The Walnut Kitchen which also won Best Appetizer with its braised short ribs. Metz Catering took second and The Soup Kitchen was third in the appetizer category.
Small Town BBQ won the Culinary Excellence Award for Best Sandwich with its Maryville Spicy Pork. REO Cheesewagon was second and Roland’s Bistro third.
The Culinary Excellence Award for top Beverage went to Mattie Moox the Coffee Camper with its spicy chai tea latte. Quick Fix Coffee and The Artistic Bean took second and third, respectively.
Daddy O’s won the Culinary Excellence Award for main dish with its pork adobo, while Aubrey’s and Rocky’s Jamaica Sunrise took second and third, respectively.
Sullivan’s and Bruster’s took home second and third in the Culinary Excellence Award for Best Dessert.
2018 Taste of Blount People’s Choice Winners
Best Appetizer: Metz Catering
Best Sandwich: REO Cheesewagon
Best Beverage: McAlister’s Deli
Best Main Course: Rocky's Jamaica Sunrise
Best Dessert: Lambert’s Southern Pies and Bake Shop
Best Presentation: Metz Catering
Best Overall: Rocky's Jamaica Sunrise
2018 Taste of Blount Culinary Choice Award Winners
Best Appetizer: 1. The Walnut Kitchen, 2. Metz Catering, 3. The Soup Kitchen
Best Sandwich: 1. Small Town BBQ, 2. REO Cheesewagon, 3. Roland’s Bistro
Best Beverage: 1. Mattie Moox the Coffee Camper, 2. Quick Fix Coffee, 3. The Artistic Bean
Best Main Course: 1. Daddy O’s, 2. Aubrey’s, 3. Rocky’s Jamaica Sunrise
Best Dessert: 1. Lambert’s Southern Pies and Bake Shop, 2. Sullivan’s, 3. Bruster’s
Best Overall: The Walnut Kitchen