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HomeGrown: Litton's Market & Restaurant

9:53 PM, Mar 13, 2012   |    comments
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Whether it's the signature cheeseburger and fries or red velvet cake, Litton's down home taste feeds the soul and stomach. Ask any first timer.

Yes, you could say Litton's has come a long way.

"I believe it was more of kind of an accident actually."

You see, back in the '40s, Litton's was a grocery store in the Inskip area. A deli was added in 1962.

"We sold 6,000 sandwiches a week out at the grocery store at Inskip," says Barry Litton. "We had four hamburgers for a dollar, four hot dogs for a dollar, four BBQ for a dollar and we made all that product there."

Third generation Barry Litton worked for his dad in high school.

"I learned those trades and how to be a butcher. I said I'd never get in the grocery business and that's the first thing I did!"

After a few years, Barry decided to go in a different direction. In 1980, he opened a Fresh Meat Market in Fountain City.
And one day, a customer asked for a burger.

"I said ok and I put an 8 oz of patty in a three-legged electric skillet that I had and fixed his sandwich. He came back the next day with three people. Eventually, I went to two electric skillets and a few months later I went and bought my first grill, fryer and oven."

His sister, Kelly Litton, came on board.

"We butt heads, but it's always worked."

And, in '83, Litton's Market, Restaurant and Bakery moved around the corner. It's been a popular landmark ever since.

"I was just thankful to be making a living. It was tight for a long time."

Fourth generation Eric Litton started working in the restaurant in high school. He left Fountain City for culinary school, but came back.

"It's what I know, what I grew up around," says Eric Litton.

The menu goes back several generations. Kelly fine tuned the family recipes. Well, everything except the burger and fries.

"You know that was my baby," says Barry.

And for a long time, Litton's was just a local favorite. That is until "Southern Living" and ESPN told the nation.

"Todd Blackledge of ESPN came down and did 'Taste of the Town.' And, we had basically about the busiest week we've ever had after that," says Eric.

"We've been very, very fortunate," adds Barry.

Litton's credits hard work, but more importantly loyal customers. So, instead of the typical celebrity wall, the restaurant''s Wall of Fame is dedicated to regular customers.

"I can name 85% that are on the board. That's what neighborhood markets are all about," says Barry.

"We try to just be a home style place with a friendly atmosphere- taking care of the local people who've taken care of us," adds Eric.

And, after more than 60 years, Litton's is still all in the family.

"It takes all of us having a family owned and operated business."

Litton's, Born in North Knoxville.

"It's just a lot of heritage right here."

HomeGrown in Tennessee.

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