One of my favorite restaurants in Knoxville is a little burger joint called We’re Cooking All American Grill. We came across it in a shopping center on North Peters road soon after it opened in early 2010 and just fell in love with the place. At first we were simply pleased by the quality of the simple food and the intriguing story of how the Polish immigrant came to America. Over time, we grew more impressed with how hard this guy worked, how well we ran his business, and how consistently good the food was, visit after visit. Once our son was old enough to eat grown-up food, we found another reason to love We’re Cooking – kids eat free there Mon-Wed. If we don’t hit We’re Cooking on Monday night for dinner, we usually make up for it on Saturday for lunch, and some weeks we do both.
For lunch on Saturday, my son got his usual – the kid’s hotdog without the bun, although he got fries this time instead of fruit. I took a picture of it but it was too blurry to post because he couldn’t keep his hands away from it. I’ve had the hotdog before and it’s very good, even if my son does do the unthinkable and eat it with ketchup. At least I’ve convinced him to sometimes go for mayo instead or in addition to the gross red stuff.
My wife ordered the Fourth of a Cow with fries. We’re Cooking sells a single, double, and triple burger, with the other variants being Half of a Cow and Most of a Cow. The burgers are outstanding, so much so that I could eat them every visit, and likely every day, and never grow tired of them until the inevitable heart attack came. I sometimes order my Half without a bun. The fries are a good, if fairly standard, crinkle variety.
I went for my current usual, the Boom Boom Seafood Tacos, although I had them make them fish only by leaving off the shrimp. The seafood is fried, and the fish comes in roughly large shrimp sized chunks. It’s flaky and fresh-tasting, although living in a land-locked state ensures it must have been frozen. I like the boom boom sauce quite a bit, although I believe it is likely just a mix of hot sauce and mayo. I typically avoid the fries because I like to kid myself into believing the onion rings are not as bad for me since they aren’t potatoes.
Today’s visit was just like nearly every other visit – awesome. The food was good. We had to wipe our table off when we sat down but we grabbed a booth literally right after someone was left, so the staff wouldn’t have had time to clean it anyway. Cleaning is something the staff does a lot at We’re Cooking. It’s obvious the owner drills it into his employees – because they’re doing it all the time. That really stands out as fairly unique, especially for a “fast food” restaurant, and it has to contribute to the regular perfect scores We’re Cooking gets on its health inspections. I eat out a lot, and while 90’s aren’t that uncommon for the good places, 100’s are pretty rare, and We’re Cooking gets them quite often.
I can’t say enough good things about We’re Cooking. The food is great. The service is great. The owner isn’t around as often these days as he used to be, but I figure that’s because he’s managing his growing franchise business and actually enjoying the fruit of his many years of hard work. He’s a fascinating guy to talk to, and trust me when I say you won’t find a more pro-America business owner than a Polish immigrant who left Poland to get away from Communism. He never ceases to say something awesome while we’re talking at the register or around the restaurant – offering parenting advice the other day to me when he said my son looked like he was a good boy. I laughed and said, “Well, he’s a good boy sometimes.” He told me boys could only be good some of the time, and the rest of the time, we should just let them be boys. As a former boy myself, I’m OK with that.
If you’re looking for a great burger or a good pair of fish tacos, or just about anything else they have on the menu, give We’re Cooking a shot. You won’t be disappointed.