One of my favorite lunch spots in Knoxville is Long’s Drug Store in Bearden. It’s close enough to campus for a quick lunch, and inexpensive enough that I don’t feel bad about ditching whatever I may have brought to the office that day when I get a hankering for a burger and tater tots.
Long’s has been around for quite a while, having opened in 1956. It’s a combination pharmacy, convenience store, and lunch counter. Long’s reminds me of a drug store I used to visit after school when I was in the seventh grade, and if it had a comic book rack, the similarity would be perfect. It’s extremely popular, so whether I’m eating there with my wife or a coworker, to avoid the rush and an inevitable wait, I shoot for an early lunch – arriving no later than 11:30.
While I typically order a bacon double cheeseburger, Long’s also makes a mean bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on toast. Either go well with tater tots. I believe they serve onion rings and maybe fries as well, but I don’t know why I would order either with expertly done tater tots available. If flavored sodas are your thing, you can get a fresh-made cherry Coke as well. Service is friendly if a bit slow at times, especially once the lunch crowd arrives in full.
The real star of the show at Long’s, however, and the reason we sometimes stop by after dinner at night, are the hand-dipped milkshakes. I’m sure they serve several flavors, but we always order the chocolate peanut butter. These are hands down the best milkshakes in Knoxville and some of the best I’ve ever had. Milk, chocholate ice cream, and peanut butter, mixed to a thick, creamy perfection. You know it’s a good milkshake when you can drink it through a straw, but only with a decent bit of work, or eat it with a spoon.
Give Long’s a shot for the decent cheeseburgers and tots, and come back for the milkshakes.