The Blackbird Coffeehouse is a hidden retreat located in the heart of Sequoyah Hills. A quaint spot, it’s a destination well-worth the drive through one of Knoxville’s oldest and most historic neighborhoods. If you go, take Scenic Drive south of Kingston Pike in Sequoyah Hills until it starts to fork; then, veer left onto Southgate (you will pass by Sequoyah Elementary on your left). Turn left on Keowee Avenue and about a half a mile or so down the road, you will see a small commercial shopping area.
Don’t be fooled by the location’s simplicity; this place holds great memories for me. When I was a kid, Fitzgerald’s Market was located here. Fitzgerald’s was one of Knoxville’s best meat markets with only the highest quality products. Later, the Sequoyah Café was located here. Today, the space is occupied by Blackbird Coffeehouse, one of the coolest, most unique coffeehouses anywhere.
1210 Kenesaw Ave; (865) 249-6951
Noteworthy: Cappuccino is excellent; Martha sandwich with hummus; free wi-fi; dog-friendly
Pricing: Under $10
Yelp Rating: 5
Owners Ali and Craig Johnston are always present to greet you. They pride themselves—as they should—for selling local, organic, healthy, and tasty treats. The menu is small, but the offerings are very special and tasty. There is a good variety of organic coffee and tea, and there are also some brunch selections (biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs and toast), and several vegetarian selections. I am not a vegetarian, but I do enjoy vegetarian dishes, and there are some particularly good ones here. The Martha sandwich (hummus, avocado, cucumber, tomato, and spinach) is one of my favorite vegetarian lunches. Other lunch sandwiches are: the Eleanor (turkey, provolone, spinach and tomato); the B.S.T. (bacon, spinach and tomato); a chicken salad; a peanut butter & jelly; and a grilled cheese. Blackbird’s also offers fresh made pastries, bagels, muffins and other breakfast sandwiches. The milkshakes are fantastic, but they are not on the menu and they are not always available. You will have to ask. I have seen many families come in and ask Ali and Craig for something not on the menu. They always offer to check to see what can be done.
The coffee here is outrageously good. No offense to Starbucks, but I can drink this coffee absolutely any way they make it. I am a cappuccino girl. When you go to Starbucks and order a cappuccino, many times the order varies—it may depend on a particular barista’s preferences or how much milk is added. Blackbird Coffeehouse makes cappuccinos the traditional way, using equal parts coffee to milk and it’s always perfect.
Blackbird makes me feel like I am at home. There are plenty places to sit inside and outside. I typically sit inside and listen to the music playlist—it’s a great vibe. Many of songs are new to me, but I really like the picks. This place is good for reading, catching up with friends, relaxing, using the free wi-fi, and of course sipping a delicious cappuccino. Ali and Craig are also dog-friendly and offer water bowls for your pooches.
Ordering is easy: tell them what you want, pay, and they bring it to you whether you are dining in or taking-out. I love the to-go cups; they have a spongy feel and are really easy to grip. Remember to grab one of the business cards by the cash register. On the flip side is a Blackbird Loyalty Card and your 10th drink is free.
I know you will love this place—if you can find it. I hope you enjoy your coffee! Cheers!