Tupelo Honey Cafe making final preparations for opening day, Oct

Tupelo Honey Cafe making final preparations for opening day, Oct. 15

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Tupelo Honey Cafe officially opens to the public at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 15. Tupelo Honey Cafe officially opens to the public at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 15.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - After several delays because of construction setbacks, Tupelo Honey Cafe is finally about to open here in Knoxville.

The Asheville, North Carolina-based restaurant company will open the East Tennessee location on Monday, Oct. 15.

6 News got a sneak preview inside the restaurant Saturday, where they're still putting the finishing touches on.

"The booths just came in this morning. We have two tops on this side, four tops of that side," said Tupelo Honey Cafe General Manager David Powell, describing the new seating being installed in the restaurant.

The clock is ticking for the 85 employees of Tupelo Honey. They're hard at work, prepping for their Knoxville debut.

"The expectations that Knoxville has for us are extreme. They're very high. We're gonna meet or exceed those expectations. There's no doubt in my mind," said Powell.

The Market Square location is only the third in the country.

The other two are in Asheville, where all the buzz began.

So why Knoxville?

"We were brought here by popular demand basically. People went on our website and Facebook. Started hitting up Facebook and a petition was actually signed," said Powell.

Now, six months after renovations began for the restaurant in a historic, corner building downtown, the honey is here.

What makes it so sweet?

"It's Southern style food that your mom may have made but it's got a chef's twist to it," explained Powell.

Menu items are already being dreamed up for Knoxvillians.

"Shrimp and goat cheese grits. We have an ear of corn that we deep fry and put butter and parmesan cheese on it," said Powell.

A number of those dishes will feature local products.

"We do business with farmers locally. Our beef, our chicken, our produce," said Powell.

Countdown to opening day began as soon as people heard they were coming.

"You can't walk by on the patio without hearing somebody say well what kind of food is it? Somebody else will say it's delicious food. I ate at it in Asheville," said Powell.

Locals say they just can't wait, swinging by the store on Friday to check the sign on the door, announcing opening day plans.

"It's nostalgia and brings back memories, and it's just so exciting to have one here. It is so good. It's just homemade, and it's Southern and fresh and so good," said Leah Freeman of Knoxville.

Tupelo Honey Cafe seats 158 people.

They officially open to the public at 11 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 15.

The restaurant is already working with the Knox County School System to create a few healthy and delicious menu items to place in the school lunch rooms permanently.

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