Two newish, Southern-inspired, farm-to-table restaurants are heating up the local dining scene. At Oliver Royale, crispy pork belly or green peanut hummus are stars, while deviled eggs with rooster sauce (“they’re a thing around here,” says Rowan) and cornmeal griddlecakes with sorghum are staples with a cult following at Knox Mason.
The last time Edgar Sutton planned a conference in Knoxville for American Baptist Association, it was 1987. “I have to check my files,” he says in his Arkansas drawl, shuffling through papers. “Yup. It was 29 years ago, the year after I was elected to my position.” Sutton has been planning ABA conventions and meetings for 30 years. After a recent FAM trip to Knoxville, he liked what he saw—and booked his group’s Messenger Meeting there for 2019.
“Tammy Ivey with Visit Knoxville and Monica Flatford at Knoxville Convention Center took me on a great tour and showed me the facilities,” he shares. “They offered us affordable rates and worked out rebates to help make it a viable option for our group.”
Walkability and affordability were two large factors in Sutton’s decision to come to the city. “Once we start the meeting, we don’t have much time for anything else,” he admits. In June 2019, the group of about 2,000 (mainly families) will convene at the convention center and use 450 to 500 rooms at Hilton Knoxville, Four Points by Sheraton and Holiday Inn Knoxville Downtown across from KCC.