Steve's Kitchen rolling to a 2nd year in Farragut

When owner Steve Palmer opened Steve’s Kitchen in Renaissance | farragut, in May 2016, he said he wanted his restaurant to be a place where people come to eat and get together.

In a little more than one year, Palmer has enhanced that goal with his motto, “Food that Fuels Community,” to use his restaurant at 12744 Kingston Pike, Suite 101, to bring together the Farragut community.

“I want to be the neighborhood baker and the pizza guy,” Palmer said.

“It’s a blessing to have [Steve’s Kitchen] here,” said Jameson Chatman, a regular customer who is a sales representative with RCN Technologies off Kingston Pike.

“There’s nowhere else near to get breakfast,” Chapman added. “You come in and everything is fresh and tasty and homemade.”

The patron has a sandwich named after him: “The Jameson.”

“[The restaurant is] built around the community, so all the sandwiches are named after people in the community,” Palmer said.

Kelly Smith and Cybil Murray of Farragut come in with friends every Tuesday morning.

“We love this place,” Murray said.

“We go to Bible study at Two Rivers Church,” Smith said. “We started coming here. Steve and Christina [Ruzecki] are our friends.”

Since Palmer opened, he has branched out his business from a breakfast and lunch restaurant to serving Friday night pizza, catering and about to offer take-away dinners as a way to reach out.

Helping him reach out to the community and grow is Ruzecki, a Farragut resident who came on board at Steve’s in February.

“She is a godsend,” Palmer said. “She is angel of the kitchen. Since Christina has been here, we’ve been able to much better serve the community, which is my goal.”

Ruzecki said she came to Steve’s Kitchen in January to solicit items for a silent auction for a school fundraiser, and Palmer asked her if she knew someone who is looking for a job. “Oh, I’m actually looking for something,” Ruzecki recalled telling him.

“[Steve’s Kitchen] has come a long way since it opened because now we do Friday night pizza and we are getting ready to start our call-ahead take-away dinner, so hopefully in the next few weeks we will be starting that,” Palmer said.

With the call-ahead take-away dinners, a customer calls the day ahead, orders his or her dinner and then picks it up the next day on the way home from work, he said.

“And, it’s going to be a set dinner each week,” Ruzecki said. “You have a choice of items.” For example, she said one dinner might consist of Steve’s Italian rolled meatloaf served with a salad, dinner rolls and rosemary-bacon-roasted potatoes.

“So, that will be the dinner for that particular week, and you could add cookies if you want,” she said.

The restaurant also added cakes and buttermilk pancakes, served with Steve’s Kitchen signature 100 percent maple-bacon syrup, to its menu. “You just order a cake, and [Ruzecki] is phenomenal with decorating,” he said.

However, customers still can find favorites, such as ultimate omelets, frittatas and Reuben sandwiches made with a third-generation Jewish rye bread. “I do my own [Reuben] sauce,” he said. “It’s not a bottled Thousand Island. It’s a real Reuben sauce, and I use a Bavarian sauerkraut.”

Hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday and Friday; from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday for pizza night; from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. It is closed Monday.

For more information, call 865-288-3461.

He also makes homemade cookies, ciabatta rolls, royals, Irish freckle bread, white bread from an old Julia Child recipe, yeast dinner rolls from a 100-year-old recipe, rye bread, cakes, muffins and special orders.

“If it’s not on our menu and you want something, we will work with you to make it,” she said.

With the food he serves, he said another one of his goals is to take people back to their childhood.

“That’s what I want, a sense of ‘Oh, wow, this reminds me of home and family and good food.’”