Blackberry Farm alum and James Beard award-wining chef Joseph Lenn opened J.C. Holdway to showcase locally and regionally sourced ingredients cooked using traditional wood-fire techniques. The restaurant name and mission also honor Lenn’s Uncle Joe Holdway, a life-long bachelor and restaurant diner whose favorite places depended on the quality of the experience. Eater recently named J.C. Holdway one of the most beautiful restaurants of 2016. They’re right. It’s hard not to admire the clean lines and not-so-decorative, stacked cordwood. The spare space does a good job of putting the spotlight on the food.


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The restaurant’s commitment to local, hand-crafted ingredients extends to a tightly curated selection of East Tennessee beers available on draft. They also offer an additional craft beer and a few domestic bottles, a full bar, and wine service.

Our pairing menu consisted of three dishes: two from the Tastes menu and a dessert. For the opener, Chef Lenn and his team paired Black Berry Farm’s Saison with a smoked trout and kale salad with crumbled cornbread and a creamy garlic vinaigrette. The crisp, citrusy saison contrasts nicely with the surprisingly rich trout. The slightly bitter hop finish on the beer also echoes the well-dressed kale salad base. The pairing might even make a kale-hater a true believer.

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The second dish, brisket with Carolina gold rice, kale and pickled carrots, was paired with Black Berry Farm’s Winter Saison. The seasonal saison with its malty, dark fruit notes is a perfect foil for the red-wine braised brisket and the buttery Carolina gold rice. Though darker than its cousin, the winter beer is still light enough to balance the heavier dish and works well with the bitter and sour notes of the braised kale and pickled carrots.

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It may be old hat to pair porter with chocolate, but it’s a classic because it works.Yeehaw’s Winter Porter feels like an extension of the flourless chocolate cake slice served with Cruze Farm coffee ice cream and chocolate crumble. The caramel and vanilla notes in the beer marry deliciously with the drizzle of caramel on the plate making for an excellent finish to trio of courses. Definitely save room or maybe even eat dessert first.

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J.C. Holdway’s menu changes with ingredient availability and two of the featured beers are only seasonably available. If you’d like to repeat this menu, it might be good to make your reservations now.

J.C. Holdway
Tues – Thurs 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Fri – Sat 5:30-10:00 p.m.
Bar opens at 5
501 Union Ave
Knoxville, TN 37902

Reservations recommended for Friday and Saturday nights

Contributed by Victoria Raschke | Photography by Christen Clemins