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Kingsport - Johnson City - Bristol The Tri-Cities area
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Old 06-20-2015, 07:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangerred View Post
In terms of Thai your options are more limited. I enjoy Tomy Thai but I'm not sure how authentic it is. Angkor Bistro is very good as well but is Cambodian with some Thai dishes. I've heard good things about Monsoon in Johnson County but it's a pretty good haul out there from JC.
You should really try Yong's Asian House up in Gray. I was initially a little skeptical about the place because they do Thai, Japanese, and Chinese. But it's really our go-to place now and we drive up from south JC. Everything they've done has been great.
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Old 06-22-2015, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Tri-Cities, TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rangerred View Post
For chinese take-out it is hard to beat China Garden on N. Roan next to McAlisters. It's a tiny place but awesome food and similar to some of the chinese take-out joints found in large cities. I've heard that Magic Wok is very good too and has an authentic Chinese menu but I've never been there.

In terms of Thai your options are more limited. I enjoy Tomy Thai but I'm not sure how authentic it is. Angkor Bistro is very good as well but is Cambodian with some Thai dishes. I've heard good things about Monsoon in Johnson County but it's a pretty good haul out there from JC.
China Garden is pretty good take-out. It's still Americanized Chinese food, but nearly every Chinese place here is like that. I've heard from Chinese students we know that Magic Wok is pretty authentic on some of the menu items. I keep meaning to go and try it, but haven't had time to do that.

Tomy Thai is actually owned by a Chinese couple from what I've heard - also not very authentic, but people that have gone there say it is pretty good no matter.
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Old 06-22-2015, 04:44 PM
 
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Just tried Yongs for take-out the other night. All in all, pretty good - I think any Chinese/Thai/Indian takes a couple of tries before I really know what to order and what to avoid. Yongs was good, especially beef with broccoli but I would order all dishes much spicier next time. The Kung Pau chicken was tasty but not hot enough for us. It was all quite tame but flavorful, and the quality of meat was good and the veggies seemed fresh and not overcooked. We'll order from them again.

Looking forward to trying the others you've all suggested.
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Old 07-17-2015, 12:49 PM
 
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A bunch of us went into The Label in downtown JC last night. Overall, it was a pretty good experience.

The place seems to attract a generally younger (not young/college) urban crowd. There were a couple of "girl" parties going on--birthday, wedding, accomplishment/promotion sorts of things and they were quite noisy--and the sound seems stuck in the high ceilinged room. It was hard to have a conversation over the noise.

We stopped at the bar on the way in and had a few cocktails. The bartender was all tatted up and had a ball cap on, lending to the "atmosphere" of the place. But he seemed to know how to make a drink and provided good service--enough that we left him a decent (large) tip. The bar was generally full throughout the evening, but not a standing room only situation.

Our group ordered a variety of menu items....from tacos to burgers to sushi. Aside from a few pedestrian issues--the shrimp in the Tempura appetizer were obviously commercially breaded--why go there when for two extra minutes you can dredge your own and have them MUCH better?), the food was okay. You didn't go "wow", but you didn't go yuck either. The group agreed that we would go back and give it another shot.

Our server was a little on the slovenly side--sort of like the bartender (why go there; not sure what kind of statement they are trying to make with dressing their employees in such a manner?) but she seemed capable, if not outstanding. The atmosphere is a sort of attempt at up-scale cowboy with lots of barn board wood, and some retro lighting. It works okay, but maybe if you ate there often it would get a little simplistically weary. For our first time, it was fine, and had a warm, welcoming feel to it. Had it been done, for example, in finished cherry, it might have a sort of "club" room feel to it.

I hear they are part of the Stir Fry/Portico group, but it seemed different, certainly from Portico which shines due to the service level.

Overall a decent experience; nothing you are clamoring to repeat, but it could go on the list of "options" when considering where to dine.

Still haven't been to Tupelo Honey. Heard it has gotten better as the "new place" kinks get worked out, but falls short of the one in Ashville. We did go in one night...a Saturday...but it was full of dads in tee shirts, lots of (too many) kids, and the wait was nearly an hour. No thanks.
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Old 07-17-2015, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Gray, TN
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Ted, you're on point with both The Label and Portico. I enjoyed the menu at both; I especially like the tapas component at Portico. As far as atmosphere, The Label seems to target hipsters and young social meet ups, while Portico is nice for meeting with clients or "grown up" occasions. Portico was packed on a Tuesday evening on our last visit. I like that management seems to have put some thought and research into their menus; neither is "the same old, same old". I can't say I was completely blown away, but both are "in the rotation".
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Old 08-04-2015, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
667 posts, read 825,984 times
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Portico to open in former

Old South has closed downtown but Portico will be opening in the space. I assume they are moving from their Bristol Highway location? I've heard the restaurant is quite good but I've never understood their location. It's kind of random and hidden away. Another feather in the cap of downtown as this is somewhat of a more higher-end restaurant.

An additional plus is it means no more nightclub in that building (I hope). Although it appears someone is planning to open a club in the old Second Level location....
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:49 AM
 
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The current Portico space is a little "odd" in terms of location and layout.

BUT, it is convenient for us to get there.

Going downtown to the Old South building will change the character, and clientele, of the place, IMHO. That space is really noisy and not "intimate" for adult couples/friends that want a relaxing evening of good food and conversation.

It might make sense, economically (probably much higher alcohol sales in the downtown location), for Portico...but I hate to lose them from the current location.

Back to Lola as the local "go-to" place, I guess.

Overall, sad to see Portico move.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Gray, TN
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It's strange to me that they would invest so much in the Bristol HWY location only to pack up a year or two later.

The location was a little atypical for JC but not out of line with restaurant locations I've seen in Nashville or Franklin. The trend seems to be that you can put a nice restaurant in any neighborhood and develop a good following. I thought Portico worked for the Bristol HWY area.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
667 posts, read 825,984 times
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Maybe they want to take advantage of the event space in the building. Stir-Fry Group has this sort of setup in Bristol with 620 State and might be trying to replicate in in downtown JC.

As an aside, it is nice to see establishments geared toward higher income clientele coming downtown. It really shows confidence in downtown and the belief that this revitalization effort is for real. Oh how I would love for some more restaurants with North JC strip-mall locations to make the move (i.e. Gourmet & Company, Cafe Lola, Sahib, Bella Vita).
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:14 AM
 
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Portico has done a good job. I presume from the level of activity which I see in there regularly that they are not losing money. Might even be making a little after a year or so which is good for a new restaurant.

BAD Feng shui (say what you will--time will tell) to be moving into a space where TWO restaurants have failed.
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