Coffee House | Eclectic | New American | Vegan-Friendly
Worth driving from anywhere!

So many modern restaurants purport to be virtuous: natural, sustainable, organic, fresh, local, etc. But good intentions don’t necessarily yield a good meal. All the virtue in the world is no substitute for talent in the kitchen.

Talent in the kitchen: these are words that well describe the allure of Olibea’s, a storefront cafe in the up-and-coming Old City part of Knoxville. In this hip eatery, staffed and patronized by the food-savvy set, all the current culinary virtues reign. Just about everything served is local; farms that supply provender are listed by name on a wall-board. From duck or chicken eggs (your choice) to sourdough bread, the kitchen contains nothing, absolutely nothing delivered by Sysco food trucks. Everything made from the good groceries is four-star delicious.

Each week, chef and proprietor Jeffrey DeAlejandro butchers a hog, from which he smokes strips of pork belly that become bacon of the gods. When I stopped eating long enough to tell Mr. DeAlejandro that his biscuits are the best I’ve had  in recent memory, he jokingly called them “Number 7,” meaning that they were the seventh version of a recipe he had been toying with. I gulped, worrying that he might toy more with the recipe and these perfect biscuits — creamy, tangy, and crisp-edged — might be supplanted by something else. I can’t imagine any better; but then, having had a few of the inspired items that come from his kitchen, neither can I imagine Number 8s being anything less than stellar, too.

Breakfast and brunch, until 1pm, are the only meals served. I have loved the biscuits, a daily special of pork cheek tacos (topped with a brilliantly sunny duck egg), pancakes with sage sausage, cute little “squared potatoes” (elegant home fries), and espresso. I long to return for Tennessee Benedict with local ham, for a confit Cheshire pork shoulder tostada, for local sourdough, and for grilled cheese made with Sweetwater Cheddar. Heck, I suspect even the vegan tofo chorizo and vegan tempeh bacon are tasty. But as long as Chef DeAlejandro is smoking pork belly, that’s the meat for me.

What to Eat
OliBea, Pork Belly
Pork Belly
Pork belly: the most scrumptious breakfast meat imaginable
OliBea, Biscuit
Crisp-surface, creamy-center tangy biscuit is unspeakably fragile.
OliBea, Pork Cheek Tacos
Pork Cheek Tacos
Pork cheek tacos with chili 'taters, kohlrabi slaw, duck egg, crema, and a doot of fiery chili de arbol salsa.
OliBea, Squared Potatoes
Squared Potatoes
Squared potatoes are cubes of crisp fried spud.
OliBea, Pancakes
Chef calls these pancakes "an old-school grandma recipe." Amen.
OliBea, Sage Sausage
Sage Sausage
Sage sausage radiates peppery zest.
OliBea, Orange Juice
Orange Juice
Freshly squeezed? Heck, yes!
OliBea, Espresso
Mochas, lattes, and cappuccinos all are available.
Directions and Hours
closed now
Sunday8am - 2pm
Wednesday7am - 1pm
Thursday7am - 1pm
Friday7am - 1pm
Saturday8am - 2pm
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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