Maryville (Stay Woke)

Just today, I learned that Maryville (mumbled locally as “Murrahvull”) College was founded by abolitionist Isaac L. Anderson and that the city has a rich history in anti-slavery movements.

The Society of Friends presence was strong in the area beginning in the 19th century, and one of their core values is opposition to slavery. This was an impressive discovery for me and I have been reading up. Check out this site for more information.

Side note, but related: one of my favourite songs from the past year is “Redbone” by Childish Gambino (“Stay Woke!”). I heard it three times in different places today so here you have it.


This post is a compilation of several visits.

          One of my buddies took me to Aroma (Cuban) Cafe  for the first time in January.  We are both fanatics of Cuban sandwiches, the signature special, and they do not disappoint. The owner shared his recipe for their delicious Mojo sauce; everything from ordering sour oranges out of Florida, mixing in cumin and other herbs, and the marinating process. There are a few commercial versions of Mojo but he assured us his is the freshest. We tried a guava empanada, a papas relleno, and syrupy sweet Cuban coffee.


Alongside Lamar Alexander Parkway is an inconspicuous, although bright yellow, building that is easy to pass if you are not searching. Let me tell you though, Roland’s German Bistro was my main objective. Roland, the restaurant’s namesake, is a charming man who indulged my need for communication in the mother tongue, and the food is sehr, sehr lecker.


Vienna Coffeehouse serves hot and cold sandwiches, small plates, numerous coffees, teas, salads, quiches, and pastries. I have tried a wide variety and everything was delicious.




Public House on High is the newest bar in the area with a small but diverse beer selection. I was very pleased that they have at least four German style beers on the list and the bartender switched his 70s rock playlist over to The Cure when I walked in.


The first time I went was strange because, being family friendly, there were small children running around screaming inside while lots of day-drinking festival goers poured in. We were part of that group. However, the interior is cozy and would be equally suitable for a family gathering, a first date, or a discussion group. I am inexplicably drawn here, and still want to see what kind of crowds come in later in the night.

Brackins and Two Doors Down are both conveniently on the same block. My band has played at Brackins and I’ve seen some great shows there before. The staff is friendly, no cover charge that I know of, and they carry Glenlivet.


Capitol Theatre is a landmark right in the center of downtown. Built in the 1920s, it remains as glitzy and glamourous inside as it ever was.


I was not able to get inside today, so I am borrowing/using a photo from my best friend’s beautiful wedding.




Downtown Municipal Area and Founders Square



Courthouse Building

War Dead Memorial showing and honouring the lives of soldiers from Maryville that were lost in each war.


For no-fuss donuts and coffee, Richy Kreme is your place.


These donuts could possibly contain four solid cups of sugar, they’re cheap as hell, and the coffee is free. We sat on the side of a dusty old road in some rickety chairs and watched cars chug by.


Nearby is the Southland bookstore and cafe. Nice selection of books and local goods plus plenty of reading nooks.



The adjacent cafe has a clever menu and great sandwiches. I struck gold when I discovered they make and sell their own kosher dill pickles in the cafe. FYI: if you bring the jar back they will give you a dollar off your next batch.



            Five Point Finds is an antiques and furniture store that has been around for two years. While the sign is retro, they carry a large amount of Appalachian nostalgia. It is both ironic and amusing when an antique store’s inventory matches the current overall appearance and decor style of the surrounding community itself.


Further down the roundabout is Mother Earth Meats, a butcher and delicatessen. They sell Benton’s Bacon which is all the rave around these parts.


I haven’t eaten at the Hop but it is always packed and locals prefer it over Sonic drive-in.

Parks and Greenery

Maryville has many parks, greenways, and humble eco-plots between old historic buildings.



Roost carries rustic furniture, art, kitchen supplies, pottery, jewelry, candles, and other gifts. Most appears to be custom-made by local craftspeople.



Kung Fu, Bike Shop, and Lambert’s Pies

Schriver’s is a boutique for locally-made and recycled clothing, accessories, and gifts. I walked up into this dog Sugar’s 12th birthday princess party and left with a whole lot of soap and stationery.


The High Court of Comics and Games, not far from the second comic and game shop I spotted. I imagine the two have some shit-talking signage battle going on.

Maryville College is also in the area and has some awesome events throughout the year. A few weeks ago, my friends and I went to the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival on campus and you can read more about that here if you are interested.


There are still many places in this area I want to check out so this entry is To Be Continued…


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