The Red Rooster Market in Bristol, Tenn., is probably that little place most readers have been hoping to find on their foodie adventures. Located at 1258 Blountville Highway, The Red Rooster has been in its cheerful grey and maroon building since 2002, and they have grown from only two tables to their elegant tea room.
The Red Rooster website describes how Linda and Clark Metcalf had always dreamed of having their own little "Southern gourmet restaurant." With their son involved, too, it seems to be a true family affair.
Since Red Rooster is known for their famous chicken salad sandwiches, most locals who dine in the elegant tea room want to give them a try.
As of late, a new sign was placed on the front of the building indicating a fresh food market inside. This sign prompted a visit to pick up something special for lunch today.
Stepping inside the Red Rooster Market around 11:30 a.m., the scene was reminiscent of a sports team waiting on the starting buzzer. Everyone was standing at attention at or near the front door, and upon opening it, it was somewhat disconcerting. It did not really look like a "store," and a glance to the left at the tea room decorated in a warm French country style was almost confusing.
I explained I wasn't there to dine, which should have been apparent with only a glance at my careless, but clean appearance. With a puzzled expression, I asked about the fresh food market, and the owner motioned to the two cases at the door which contained all of the famous Red Rooster favorites: strawberry soup, chicken salad, broccoli pie, meat loaf, and some kind of yummy looking mashed potatoes scooped out in an ice cream scoop and loaded with cheese.
There was a rack with Amish breads from Mountain View Bakery in Chuckey, Tenn. I opted for tomato basil bread, salt risen bread, and a container of Red Rooster pimiento cheese. The pimiento cheese spread was made with at least two types of cheese: there were orange and white colors in it, but the label just said cheese. It was very, very good. The price was quite reasonable at $4.50. I recently paid $3.99 for pimiento cheese spread for my mother at Kroger.
It felt like as a customer at the counter, which is the "fresh market," that I was in the way of the expected incoming guests. As a diner, I would assume the formal state of readiness for your arrival would be very special. You half expected someone to break into, "Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest," from "Beauty and the Beast."
"Special" is the word, though, when you are discussing Red Rooster Market. Everything is not only clean, but sparkling and polished. It is decorated sparsely and tastefully, and the atmosphere is very "special." If you are searching for a posh little setting to take your best friend, sister, or mother for a luncheon to remember, Red Rooster is surely the perfect destination. The food is known far and wide for being much better than perfect. You can't find one negative remark about the food in all the online reviews available.
In another vein, it's almost a bit too perfect, too well-polished. This gem, such a wonderful discovery for foodies near and far, is really too fancy for a fresh food market. The signage, although attractive enough, does not adequately project the business inside. A tea room is the most accurate description of Red Rooster.
The items for purchase reflect many choices for a take-home dinner. The meat loaf looked so good, and the broccoli pie would be my next choice. If you are looking for a special dining experience, definitely head down the Blountville Highway. The hours are as follows, as taken from the Red Rooster Facebook page:
Tue - Fri: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Red Rooster Facebook page