By Richard Rourk
A unique new restaurant has opened in a familiar site in downtown Erwin.
The Pampered Palate Cafe opened up at 202 Union St., the former home to Hawg and Dawg, last month and for owner Janis MacGregor, the location of her new restaurant just feels right. “We opened around May 11 and this is just a perfect situation,” MacGregor said. “Erwin is the town that I want to be part of. I fell in love with this town.”
MacGregor, who is no stranger to the restaurant business, is excited to introduce Erwin to some German classics.
“We (Dave Outar and I) have a restaurant in Asheville (The Bavarian Restaurant & Biergarten – Woodfin,”) MacGregor said. “Many from the Tri-Cities area have eaten there and begged us to come to the area. We looked into the possibility of opening another German restaurant in Johnson City, Jonesborough, and Kingsport over the past four or five years, but to no avail. When the pandemic hit, and North Carolina being less likely to open up as soon as Tennessee, we started again to look again in this region.”
MacGregor found a landing spot and purchased the building that was also home to Lina’s Sandwiches & Soup.
“Erwin had a business for sale and we went ahead and bought it,” MacGregor said. “We are hoping to expand in the future. In the meantime, we have added and subtracted from the menu that the previous owner had. Things are still up in the air, but we want to solidify and make our presence known.
Despite opening during a pandemic, the Pampered Palate Cafe has seen a steady rise in customers. “
“Business is starting to pick up, and we hope to extend our hours to some evenings,” MacGregor said. “We have removed some items, and added others from the previous owner, however, it will take some time to get all the items we’ve added fully up and running.”
MacGregor hopes to stick out by offering a variety of options for the citizens of Unicoi County.
“We will, hopefully, become unique in Erwin by bringing a few items from the Bavarian restaurant, which we own in the Asheville area,” MacGregor said.
MacGregor said several new items have been added to the menu.
“We have already added some housemade items including Bratwurst that is made with a unique twist. We will also feature German potato salad, sauerkraut, and our wonderful housemade mustard. We also have a housemade dressing, which is balsamic vinegar based and it’s great on the chef’s salad from the previous owner’s menu. Our Hungarian goulash will soon be on the menu. We will also have soft pretzels with our homemade mustard.”
For more information about The Pampered Palate Cafe, visit their Facebook page or email MacGregor at MacGregor has set up a Facebook page for those that wish to follow to see a full menu. “ [email protected] for more info,” MacGregor said.
She also said hours might vary, but for now they are open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. on Fridays. That may expand in the future.