The bar at Southern Craft showcases original fixtures from the Mill.

We’ve recently written about our delightful visit to The Sessions Hotel in Bristol but need to truly appreciate the cuisine and culture of the region in this second post.

Let’s start with the hotel’s in-house Southern Craft Restaurant and Bar which is extremely convenient to both the hotel and all connecting roads.   The menu celebrates locally sourced items with a distinct Southern flair and even a unique spin on traditional BBQ. We had two of the house specialties and especially loved the blackberry jam and smoked bacon on brisket.  The combination was the perfect mix of salty and sweetness and excellently accented the finely smoked brisket on a highly stacked roll.

The BBQ Brisket and sweet potatoe souffle at Southern Craft

There are multiple house brews available although small batch offerings come and go with the seasons. A definite southern spin is featured on the sides menu with a variety from tater tots, pepper jack grits, a sweet potato souffle and fried green tomatoes next to more expected offers of fries and mac and cheese.  Staying true to their name, breakfast was a hearty selection of southern favorites balanced with modern options offering something for everyone.

The ambiance of industrial chic spills out through the indoor and outdoor spaces in the repurposed Service Mill complete with original gears, chutes, scales and silos.   Six of the rooms located above the restaurant are built inside the silos.

Outdoors at Southern Craft fronts a stage with periodic performances

No lack of ambiance at Southern Craft.

But Bristol has multiple other venues as well.   We squeezed in a delightful throwback to Happy Days with a lunch visit to The Burger Bar complete with a soda fountain and handmade pies.   It’s always a great sign when locals outnumber the tourists!

Channeling 1950’s charm at the Burger Bar

And our after-dinner search for music took us to the Delta Blues Bar and Grill where their repurposed airstream stage in the backyard hosted a local legend, Jason Lloyd while the audience comfortably consumed BBQ, fries and a large variety of libations while trading quips with the performer.   It couldn’t have been a better end to a delightful evening.

The folks at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum had given us a walking tour map with over twenty excellent dining establishments with the three staff comparing notes on their favorites.   They circled at least eight on the map and offered opinions that there were more if we wished for additional choices.   Let’s say the folks in Bristol have plenty to choose from and appreciate them all.    We’re sure we missed as many wonderful options as we sampled.

Backyard stage and outdoor counter make it easy to not miss a minute.




Finally, it’s worth a quick note to drivers that fuel prices in Tennessee appear to be more than fifteen cents less per gallon than Virginia.   With a Tennessee gas station across the street from the hotel and restaurant, it’s a bit of a simple act to easily refuel before heading out to explore the region more.