I reviewed Sergeant Pepperoni's back in June of 2012. It was a fairly new place in Knoxville then, and we really loved eating there. They've done so well in the meantime that they've opened a second restaurant in West Knoxville. After nearly two and a half years, we still love Sergeant Pepperoni's, and we eat there every Tuesday night. I'm writing this post to explain why. The Food
The food at Sgt P's is a big part of why we keep coming back. Their Pretzeled BLT remains the best BLT I've ever had in my life, and one of the best sandwiches you can get in Knoxville. So many times a restaurant will get something right for a while, but end up screwing it up eventually. I am happy to say that the BLT at Sgt P's is every bit as good as it was when I first wrote about it.
Our son, who the servers at Sergeant Pepperoni's have seen grow from a baby we carried around in a car seat to a toddler we have to keep trapped on the inside of our booth, loves the World's Fair sandwich, which we always order with extra cheese and no chips. The Boy pics the sandwich apart and eats the meat, cheese, and bread separately. He loves the garlic mayo, and he should, because it's delicious.
We've sampled many other dishes over the last two years at Sgt P's. Some of them we work into our rotation, and all of them are good. The Buffalo Chicken Dip with Crostini is my favorite, and I'd say I get that about half the time these days. The dip contains melted cheese, buffalo sauce, and chicken, and it's good enough that some nights I just eat it with a spoon and nibble on the crostini separately. The baked chicken wings are consistently good as well, although we don't get them that often because Thursday is 55 cent wing night and we can't eat at Sgt P's on Thursday - more on that in a bit.
A few weeks ago, the folks at Sgt P's were trying something new, experimenting with chili. Our server pitched it to us and he had me at "bison chili" - I told him I'd take it. The chili was excellent - better than my mom's but not quite as good (I'm not stupid) as my wife's. I like a lot of meat in my chili, and this bowl didn't disappoint. What did disappoint me is the next time I asked about it, I was told they were holding off on the chili until it got a little colder. My weather app on my iPhone tells me it will be in the 60's this coming Tuesday, so I guess I'm screwed for another few weeks at least. I liked that chili, and I am looking forward to eating it again.
On the same night that I tried the chili, I also tried a new (to me) dessert that they had at Sgt P's. I had to go into my Photo Stream to find the picture I took of the receipt from that night, because our server wrote down the name of the cheesecake for me. It was a Sweet Potato Maple Layered Cheesecake. Yes, that's a mouthful. I liked it, although I have to admit that when it comes to cheesecake, I'm a purist, so I wouldn't order it again. Still, it was complex and interesting, and all of the different flavors were good. I just prefer my cheesecake plain. Were I to order dessert at Sgt P's, I'd go for the Bread Pudding, which is still quite good. Like any place run by humans, some nights it's amazing and some nights it's just very good, but it's still the best bread pudding to be had in Knoxville.
You might be wondering at this point why I haven't mentioned the pizza at a place named Sergeant Pepperoni's? To be honest, we haven't had the pizza in quite a while - not that it isn't good pizza, but because the sandwiches, wings, buffalo chicken dip, and other items are best in their class in Knoxville, and with a 2 year old whose tastes are hard to predict, we stick with what works. He loves the World's Fair sandwich, so we go with sandwiches.
The food at Sergeant Pepperoni's is good, and if it weren't good, we wouldn't eat there every Tuesday. But that isn't why Sgt P's is the place we eat dinner on Tuesday night. The reason we eat there on Tuesday night is the server who works there on Tuesday is awesome. Don't get me wrong - we've never gotten bad service at either of the Sergeant Pepperoni's, but our server, Max, is the reason we eat there every single Tuesday.
Max is great. He's friendly, he's funny, he values his regular customers, and he does something great servers do - he enjoys his work and he makes us enjoy our meal. Max knows what we drink (Diet Coke most of the time), and until we threw him a few curve balls (Unsweet Tea), he'd have them on our table by the time we sat down. Now he just confirms we want Diet Coke and brings them right over. He knows what The Boy wants, including the extra cheese and no chips. He knows what my wife and I are likely to order, and when we mix it up, he jokes about us breaking the pattern.
So Max is the reason we eat at Sgt P's on Tuesday evenings. We eat out a lot, and more restaurants would have reserved slots in our week if they had servers as good as Max.
Give Sergeant Pepperoni's a Shot
If you live in Knoxville, or if you're visiting, check out Sgt P's in Bearden. If you go on a Tuesday evening, chances are you'll find me there. If you're near the Bearden or UT area, it's a great place for lunch too. I still say the BLT is the best sandwich in town, and a still a bargain at $7.50.
This is post 4 in the #NaBloWriMo #vDM30in30 30 Day Blog Challenge