Grant Mitchell

It seems like there is one thing that has always been able to stoke argument and discourse among friends, family and even strangers. That is … who has the best burger in town, and the varying answers that comes attached to it from person to person.

Fret not, I have the definitive answer so to dispel all of the false claims to the throne, I have the answer to all of the disagreements in burger title disputes.

The best burger in Knoxville belongs to Not Watson’s Kitchen + Bar, located at 15 Market Square, Knoxville, TN 37902.

The burgers are comprised of many different configurations with a slew of possible sides, but my personal favorite is the ole’ smokey burger. It comes with applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle, BBQ Sauce, Tillamook aged cheddar cheese and fried onions.

While I remove the pickle and substitute the cheddar for swiss cheese, the end result will be the same for any and all comers who order this hearty burger. And that is a juicy, tender and flavorful beef patty. Which in my opinion is something that most restaurants are able unable to provide consistently with their respective burgers. 

While there are other options for scintillating burger combinations, this is my personal favorite. Not only in flavor, but also in my memories of ordering it after events such as the first move in on campus, dates with former girlfriends, and evenings downtown with family.

It truly is a meal for all occasions.

Beyond my love affair with the ole’ smokey burger, there are also a plethora of other excellent menu options at Not Watson’s.

Another personal favorite is the bacon wrapped meatloaf they serve. Which, when brought out and placed in front of you, looks and tastes like a conglomeration of quality meat with an equally good sauce.

With an additional number of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu, Not Watson’s has a dish for everyone. All provided in a jovial atmosphere with lively staff and an interesting array of decorations that vary from art for diners looking for a more conversational and subdued dining experience to a tv above the bar for prospective sports fans.

Another neat aspect of Not Watson’s is found in the name and building itself. The restaurant is situated, as the above address states, in Market Square of downtown Knoxville. And like many establishments in the downtown area, the building Not Watson’s operates out of had a prior purpose.

That prior purpose for the Not Watson’s restaurant was as Watson’s Department Store, a now defunct store that was a long-time staple of Knoxville shopping. So, wanting to harken back to some of the old Knoxville charm while bringing in all of the comforts and facets of the present times, Not Watson’s was born.

To me, that is a big part of the charm of Not Watson’s. the walls have exposed brick from the original store and it feels like you’re looking at and sitting in a part of Knoxville’s history when you enjoy a meal in Not Watson’s.

And that isn’t to say the atmosphere feels stale, because it doesn’t. Not Watson’s has an incredible vibrancy generated from the decor, lovely staff and delicious food that will make you want to come back as often as you can.

Which I certainly must say you wouldn’t be upset if you did come back time and time again to this great restaurant.

Grant Mitchell is a junior majoring in public relations. He can be reached at

Columns and letters of The Daily Beacon are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Beacon or the Beacon's editorial staff.

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