If you go
› Where: Newk’s Eatery, 2380 Lifestyle Way
› Hours: 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
› Prices: Entrees $6.99-$13.99
› Phone: 423-417-1155
I was first introduced to Newk's Eatery when my oldest son was living in Knoxville. If we didn't eat at the Newk's in Turkey Creek almost every visit, I would stop by to pick up soup or chicken salad from Newk's Grab-N-Go on my way out of town.
When he took a job out of Knoxville, it was a bittersweet farewell to him and Newk's. But then the franchise opened its first location in Chattanooga in mid-March and it was like visiting an old friend after a three-year absence.
Newk's is located behind Embassy Suites in Waterside retail center across Shallowford Road from Hamilton Place. It has a modern industrial vibe (open ceiling, exposed ductwork) warmed by a gold/red color scheme, natural lighting from a front wall of windows and lots of pendant lights.
Fresh and made-when-you-order are the buzzwords at Newk's, which promotes house-made dressings, hand-chopped vegetables, hand-cut fruit and hand-rolled pizza (the latter being just a PR spin on dough that's not tossed but rolled out with a pin.) If you have any doubt about the authenticity of this freshly made food, just watch the cooks at work through large clear shields that separate the kitchen from the dining area.
The only drawback I saw to this new location is the location — it's not visible from Shallowford or Gunbarrel roads. You have to know it's back there to find it.
Newk's is a soups-salads-sandwich restaurant, but I would rank it a notch above other "pick-two delis" because of taste and menu additions of pizzas and house-baked desserts.
The menu offers 12 pizzas ($7.39-$9.49), 11 salads ($7.99-$13.99) and 13 sandwiches ($6.99-$10.29) that come with one side of choice. Made-from-scratch soups alternate according to the day of the week ($4.19 for 8 ounces up to $12.49 for 32 ounces.) Newk's multilayer cake slices (try the caramel!) run $3.99.
Pick-two combos range from $8.99 to $11.58, and five-cheese mac and cheese is available as a side for $5.99 or as an entree for $7.99.
I've eaten at Newk's twice since it opened and visited a third time to get lobster-crab bisque from the Grab-N-Go.
Newk's pizzas are 10-inch pies that are perfect for two people. My juicy sausage and pepperoni pizza was topped with a ring of pepperoni around the outer edge and generous helpings of spicy sausage and lots of gooey melted mozzarella filling the center — so much so that the thin-and-crispy crust collapsed under the weight of those toppings. But it was still delicious.
My second visit, I ordered the Shrimp Remoulade salad just to test how fresh the shrimp might be. It didn't disappoint and, in fact, surprised me.
It was a hefty helping of Arcadian greens (a whole-leaf European-style lettuce) topped with a dozen plump shrimp, grape tomatoes and lots of chopped hard-boiled egg (not just two quarter wedges sliced off an egg, as is common on to-go salads.) All the ingredients were coated, but not swimming, in the remoulade dressing. It was a light, but filling, salad that I will definitely choose again.
My younger son's family was with me on that visit. The kids split a pizza; he and his wife ordered soup-and-sandwich pick-twos. His chicken salad was made with grapes, diced red onion, pecans and mayo served on wheat. But the spicy Creole mustard is what really flavored that sandwich.
Her pimento cheese mixture of yellow and white cheddar cheeses was overflowing its French bread, and my daughter-in-law (who is a great cook) deemed it the best she'd ever had. She also liked the thick, cheesy texture of her broccoli-cheese soup. Newk's didn't skimp on the broccoli; there were florets and chopped pieces throughout.
Newk's is self-serve. You order at a counter as you enter, take a number, choose a table and your order will be brought to your table. Drinks are also self-serve. I was surprised to find Newk's includes a Splenda-sweetened tea in addition to sweet and unsweet teas and sodas at its drinks counter.
Despite its lack of visibility from the road, Newk's was busy the night our family dined there. The number of customers waiting to order at the front counter created a slight backup combined with the people coming in the front door who were reading the menu, but the staff efficiently moved customers through. This new location has had the foresight to move the Grab-N-Go away from the front door (unlike the Turkey Creek location) in an effort to eliminate such logjams.
Newk's stands behind its fresh-when-you-order vow, and that fresh taste is why I keep returning. To me, the taste and broader menu selection are just a step up from similar pick-two deli franchises.
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.