A while back, a co-worker mentioned that the Hixson area doesn't have a lot of sit-down, family-style restaurants that serve American food. There are plenty of fast-casual chains and delis and an ample share of ethnic eateries, where tortillas or pizza might be among the dinner specials. But meat-and-threes are a little harder to come by.
After trying Baxters, I think I can give her a lead on a place her family might enjoy. I can already imagine her young sons rocking the karaoke mike.
Baxters is in the 8000 block of Hixson Pike in a large brick building that was once home to two adjoining businesses: the Cozy English Tea Room, which closed, and Alot of Treasure Thrift Store, which moved to Sale Creek.
› Where: Baxters Family, Food & Fun, 8023 Hixson Pike.
› Phone: 423-803-5732.
› Website: www.facebook.com/BaxtersFamilyFoodFun.
› Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.- midnight Friday-Saturday.
› Price range: $7-$16.
Baxters makes use of the entire space, and it was interesting to sit in the dining room orienting myself to where I had previously uncovered a treasure or enjoyed a slice of cake.
It's telling that the owners don't officially call Baxters a restaurant. Instead, it's Baxters Family, Food & Fun, and all three words seem to be important to the business plan.
The main dining room takes up the largest part of the interior. About two-thirds in, dining tables end and several pool tables take up the rest of the space. Off to one side is a large game room with several arcade games. In front corners are a jukebox and a karaoke setup. Only a couple of waitresses entertained while we there, but Baxters' Facebook page would seem to indicate that the karaoke mike is popular once the place is buzzing.
Five TVs were tuned to various programming. From our table, we could watch cartoons on Disney Junior or reruns of "Mike & Molly" on Fox.
In another section of the building is a private banquet room, though the whole space looked like a fun place to rent for a big party.
The menu is expansive. Breakfast is served all day. No biscuits were listed in the descriptions of the three available platters, but you can have pancake, toast or waffles with your eggs and fixings. Prices range from $5.99 for a stack of pancakes with a choice of meat to $7.49 for the Big Boss Platter, which comes with three eggs, two meats, silver dollar pancakes and grits.
You'll find several surprises on the menu. Baxters has nine options in hamburgers, including the Glazed Baxter, which has doughnuts serving as the bun, and the Nacho Mama Burger, which wraps the standard fixings in a flour tortilla. Prices range from $7 to $12. The 12 sandwich options include fried bologna and country fried steak between two slices of Texas toast. All are in the $7 to $10 range.
The Baxter Favorites portion of the menu includes quesadillas, barbecue egg rolls, grilled or fried chicken dinners, catfish dinner, an 8-ounce sirloin and a 10-ounce ribeye, the priciest option on the menu at $15.99.
Sides include applesauce, baked beans, okra, green beans, mashed potatoes and coleslaw.
The menu also lists two soups of the day, plus chili, a good selection of shareable appetizers and several salads.
The six selections on the sweets menu might be considered dream desserts in the South — three are fried (MoonPie, Oreos and cheesecake) and another cheesecake option has caramel and bacon. Ultimate Chocolate Cake and Bananas Foster complete the sweets.
There were four in our party, so we were able to enjoy several of Baxters' specialties. I made a complete departure, for me, and ordered the BLTW sandwich, bacon, lettuce and tomato served on waffles instead of bread. That "breakfast all day" claim sounded good, but I didn't want eggs, so this was my compromise.
It came out with a picture-perfect mound of frilly lettuce and tomato slices. The bacon was cooked just right, though the waffles were so thick and sweet, I wished for a little more meat. I thought about putting one waffle aside and asking for syrup to finish the meal, but the rest of the sandwich was too big to eat without a top to hold on to.
And not to slight the BLTW, but my favorite part of the meal was the hand-cut fries. They were substantially sized, obviously fresh, fried to perfection and seasoned with just the right amount of salt.
Also brought to the table were a Fiesta Salad, a mix of chicken, Mexican corn, black beans and jalapeno ranch sauce served in a tortilla bowl; a Grilled Chicken Sandwich, topped with lettuce and tomato and served on Texas toast; and a Cheese Quesadilla from the kids menu.
Except for a few fries and a quarter of the quesadilla that went home in a to-go box, we worked our magic and everything disappeared.
There were several servers at the ready when we arrived, and the place got busier as we dined. Our server even waited politely, without seeming frustrated, as people we knew from another table came over to chat as we were seated.
The food came out in a timely fashion.
Everyone was pleasant and seemed happy we were there.
Baxters is only a couple of months old, so there are probably kinks to be worked out, but the biggest problem we encountered were servers trying to reconfigure tables to seat large parties. The food and service were good, and there's plenty to keep you entertained while you wait.
With its big menu, arcade, pool tables and music options, Baxters gives Hixson not just a new restaurant but a child-friendly sports bar.
Contact Lisa Denton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6281.