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YPK: How to Get Involved in Knoxville

YPK: How to Get Involved in Knoxville

Figuring out how to get involved in the local going-ons in a community when you’re the new kid in town can be a fun (but sometimes daunting 😳) mission. Maybe you just moved here for a job and are looking for some like-minded individuals to hang out with outside of work. Or maybe you aren’t new to Knoxville at all but have been looking to grow your leadership skills and do some professional networking. Or maybe you’re just looking for a way to take on a more active role in your local neighborhood. If you’re reading this, you’re in the right place (obviously) – maybe you’re feelin’ good about the top places to eat, drink, and be merry. Maybe you’ve even gone to some events or signed up for a New2Knox Hop… but now, how do you take your Knox involvement even further?

Have I got an organization for you! 😉 Let me introduce you to (drum roll, please) Young Professionals of Knoxville!


Young Professionals of Knoxville (or YPK as the cool kids call it) is a membership-driven, non-profit organization with a mission to inspire Knoxville’s young professionals to connect, develop and serve to build leaders and improve our community. This association really does take an active interest in the Knoxville community and goes above and beyond just networking.

As a member to the organization myself, I sat down at a recent YPK Happy Hour with Grace Bennett, current YPK president, to find out more about it and their upcoming events. (psssst, if you’re looking for Happy Hours across the board we got you.) Grace was a transplant who moved to our Scruffy City in 2019 for a job and didn’t know a single soul. She says the friends she has made through YPK, “have truly been genuine and it’s made Knoxville feel like home.”


In addition to making real connections like the ones Grace has made, being a member of Young Professionals of Knoxville gives you the chance to get to know Knox on a deeper level. There are exclusive events, meet & greets with civic leaders in our city, private tours of local businesses and more. “We pride ourselves on providing those behind-the-scenes and exclusives [to Knoxville],” says Grace.

Not only does YPK host several events throughout the year, they also have a variety of committees and affinity groups you can join and take an active role in to hone your leadership skills. If there is something you are passionate about but there isn’t a specific committee for it, YPK will dive in to help and encourage you to take on a leadership role in said area of your interest. Bennett, being a leader herself  in the organization said,“The leadership opportunities that YPK provides helps you state on your resume the leadership skills you have that go beyond [your current job].”


Now, I could go on about my own personal experience and involvement so far in YPK but the best way to find out more would be clearing your calendar for one of their YPK 101 events. Not only do they host them at some of the cutest event spaces in Knoxville, these fun little gatherings have drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and time for networking. They’re specifically designed to educate potential and existing YPK members on how to get the most out of their membership. During these events, YPK members will explain their three pillars: Connect, Develop and Serve by sharing what each committee does and how participation from members makes each committee more valuable and talking about upcoming events and affinity groups.


🌟 You don’t actually have to be that young. I know, I know… it’s in the name of the organization, Young Professionals of Knoxville – but there is no age restriction to how old you can be. Aren’t we all young at heart anyway? 😉 But seriously, the only stipulations are that you are a young professional, over 21, and that you live, work, or play in Knoxville.

⭐️ Yes, there are membership dues ($200 for new members, and $100 for renewing members) BUT if you come to any of their free YPK 101 events, you can get 25% off your new member dues which is $50 buckaroos (and like, several coffees and bagels from K Brew)!

🌟 Just like most things in life, you will get out of it what you put into it. There are no mandatory meetings or required attendance to events but showing up and getting involved will make all the difference!

If none of this is up your alley but you’re still looking to find community locally, hop on over to this article to find a ton of different ideas on where to go and what to do to meet people and connect. Hope to see you on Tuesday and if you have questions, please reach out to me on the ole Instagram @knoxknena! 


Vid’l: A Look Inside

Vid’l: A Look Inside

More than plant based. Locally inspired

By: Rachie Levy

You may have noticed the new kid on the block in Knoxville’s Old City – or you may be like us and have been (im)patiently waiting on the day she opened for what seems like forever. But good food cannot be rushed, and once you take your first bite of that oh so delicious Vidl taste, you’ll know it was well worth the wait. Here’s a little inside scoop on Knoxville’s newest plant-based restaurant: Vid’l.

First things first…

What the heck is ‘Vidl?!’ Short answer: the newest restaurant in Old City.

Long answer: the brainchild of chef, Jenna Baker. After years of teaching people the value of well-being, nurturing the body with good food, and how to make that good food, Jenna opened Vidl. You may already recognize her from Be Well Boxes by Cook To Be Well. Or maybe you know her from taking one of her classes on preparing whole foods. But noooow, you can cozy on up at the wooded bar (or sit in the back and eye those lush and vibrant micro greens sitting in the grow room, just waiting to top your market bowl) and enjoy those whole foods in the comfort of Vid’l.

The inside of Vidl is just as fresh and clean feeling as their fooood!

So what’s the big deal?

Do we need to mention the grow room again? It’s literally a room in the middle of the restaurant actively growing fresh micro-greens! (If you were in Knoxville during the days of Bluhen, you’ll remember that same room growing loads and loads of hemp. We love that Jenna was able to repurpose and make use of it for Vid’l!)

Besides this awe-inspiring grow room, just take one bite of the chickpea salad and you’ll be a believer. Chef Baker sources fresh seasonal produce straight from the East Tennessee region and creates masterpieces with them. 

The focus of the restaurant is fresh food, and she wants to show you the true value of fruits and vegetables. Baker believes the best way to make good food is to start from the source with quality produce. Instead of covering up a bad vegetable by frying it, she finds the best vegetables and simply enhances them.

One of Vidl's oh so fresh and delicious meals

Image from Vidl

Why Knoxville?

If you look around Knoxville, you won’t spot many places like Vidl – full of fresh produce, a rotating menu, and fresh takes on classic dishes. 

But Vid’l has high hopes of opening the door to cooking and eating for wellness in the city. And maybe, just maybe, this one little shop will inspire you to try something new and maybe even try a Be Well Box so you can bring the fresh, plant based cooking home to your own kitchen. O_r even open a kitchen of your own! 👀

The outside of Vidl in the Old City

Okay, for real, stop in now:

“It’s all just about featuring the vegetable,” says Baker, and if that doesn’t make you want to finally listen to your mom and eat your greens, I don’t know what will!

She doesn’t just make these vegetables delicious – she makes them approachable. You’ll notice from the start the restaurant feels like home and the dishes remind you of childhood. (They just may have a little bit more emphasis on the clean and healthy eating part.)  If nothing else, they’ll make you wish you never turned your nose up all of those times you were told to eat your greens!

Image from @vidl_oldcity

You’re through the background; now start here…

You get the idea: healthy but delicious food.

If this is something completely new and foreign to you, don’t worry. We may have tried A LOT of the menu, so we can help you out 😉 (For real, the chickpea salad is one of the best side salads your taste buds will ever touch.)

But if you’re feeling lost, the folks who make up the Vidl crew are really the ones to ask.  They want to bring this food to you and they’re super excited to do so. As we said, it’s been a long time coming between all of Baker’s previous positions leading her to this spot, getting the space restaurant ready, finding the right suppliers, and all the madness that comes with opening a restaurant. We’re stoked they’re finally here and ready for you to come and experience the world of locally inspired.

Have we convinced you yet?! No?
Okay then, try the cookies then come back and tell us the answer to that question 😂 See you soon!


6 Must-Try Bakeries in Knoxville

6 Must-Try Bakeries in Knoxville

This is for everyone who enjoys the sweeter things in life. (Yeah, we’re lookin’ at you, our buttercream frosting and chocolate-covered anything girlies 😉) There’s no hiding that the Scruffy City has stolen our hearts – but the literal ✨sweetest✨ things about Knoxville are her local bakeries (and there are plentyyyyy). From classic vanilla cupcakes to half-pound cookies, butter and sugar never tasted better, y’all!🙌 The holiday season is right around the corner, so whether you’re in charge of picking up festive desserts for Friendsgiving or you’re looking for the tastiest hostess gift, here are six of our favorite Knoxville bakeries for some inspiration (and sweet sweet happiness)!

6 Must-Try Bakeries in Knoxville:

1.) Magpies Bakery 

North Knoxville: 846 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917 

When I stepped into Magpies for the first time, I knew I was leaving with more than a single cupcake (for inquiring minds, I went with SIX cupcakes, a cosmic brownie, and banana pudding). The desserts are especially delicious (made with love but also LOTS of butter) and they have so many tempting treats to choose from… in fact, I’m in need of a s’mores pumpkin cupcake right about now. Magpies will take custom cake orders for special events you may have coming up or they sell whole cakes in their bakery, ready to make someone reeeeally happy (even if it’s for yourself). With the holidays approaching way too quickly, they are taking preorders for Thanksgiving and if you want to *wow* your friends and family, the pumpkin cranberry bars look DIVINE, just sayin’ 😉

one of the best bakeries in Knoxville

2.) Wild Love Bakehouse 

North Knoxville: 1625 N Central St, Knoxville, TN 37917 

Not your average coffee shop, Wild Love Bakehouse is pure magic.  They have a full coffee bar (oat milk cappuccino please ☕) and a baked goods case where they make everything in-house. The almond frangipane croissant deserves a standing ovation and I casually want their flaky hand pies every single morning for breakfast. It’s the best place to hang out for a while with schoolwork or a thrilling book while snacking on a cranberry oat scone and your favorite coffee drink. Sips and snacks aside, we just love the plants and overall chill aesthetic too. Wild Love is taking Thanksgiving preorders now so hurry before they sell out (I have googly eyes for the pumpkin pie👀) but a box of croissants surely wouldn’t disappoint.  

3.) Marble City Sweets 

West Knoxville: 9307 Kingston Pike Suite B, Knoxville, TN 37922 

They may be known for their incredible custom cakes but Marble City Sweets has a few other things up their sleeves as well! From gender-reveal cake pops to festive cookie Advent calendars, there is something sugar-coated for everyone. I recently stopped by and the dessert case housed pumpkin pie-decorated sugar cookies that would make anyone smile like a little kid 😊 They will gladly work with you to create a perfectly decorated and customized cookie set (or cupcakes, cake, etc.). Be sure to include Marble City Sweets in your holiday plans this year – the turkey place card cookies aloooone will steal the show 😍

gluten free bakery in Knoxville

4.) Benefit Your Life Gluten Free Bakery & Cafe 

West Knoxville: 10420 Kingston Pike Suite G, Knoxville, TN 37922 

Benefit Your Life is truly a special bakery in Knoxville – especially if you have food allergies or preferences. Everything they make is gluten-free and they even offer egg-free, dairy-free, vegan options, etc. Whether you go for breakfast or lunch, you must get a cinnamon roll (or two or three)! They are so soft, perfectly spiced, and just absolutely delicious. Something this good almost seems too good to be true but trust me, these are legendary. I also tried the Texas sheet cake which makes the sweetest midnight snack. This bakery does preorders for the holidays and they also take special orders for cakes and cupcakes – and yes, it’s still ALL gluten-free. If you’re lookin’ for more gluten-free goodness and health conscious businesses, we gotchu right here! 

Status Dough in Downtown Knoxville

5.) Status Dough 

Bearden & Downtown: 6535 Kingston Pike Knoxville, TN 37919 

Yeah, opening gifts may be exciting but have you tried opening a box of freshly made doughnuts from Status Dough?? (What can I say, doughnuts are a girl’s best friend!) With seasonal flavors like pumpkin spice and apple cider, these doughnuts will definitely get you in the holiday spirit. Bring a dozen down to the office or home to the roomies, and spread the joooy. I highly recommend their old-fashioned doughnuts because they have a crispy, crackly exterior but a suuuuuuper soft inside that just melts in your mouth. Surely, you can’t go wrong with a classic Boston cream either (*drool*) Just definitely doughnut miss out on this delish local bakery 😉

One of Knoxvilles Best Bakeries

6.) Myrtle’s Bakehouse 

Downtown: 333 W Depot Ave, Knoxville, TN 37917 

Allow me to introduce you to Myrtle’s Bakehouse, home of the half-pound cookie. These cookies are changing the game and are (as their motto goes): “big enough to share, but you don’t have to.” Maybe you’ve been gift shopping for the fam or cramming for finals. Either way, you deserve to stop at Myrtle’s and treat yourself to some of the freshest cookies in the Marble City (no, literally. They’re located inside Marble City Market 🤣). You should definitely splurge for the Scruffy City cookie (espresso chips, toffee, and pecans) because it’s sweet, salty, and caffeinated to keep you up and running this holiday season.

These are just a few of our favorite bakeries in Knoxville so be sure to let us know your other sugary obsessions! 

PS: We are counting down to the New2Knox Friendsgiving so be sure to RSVP here and bring your favorite dessert!

5 Dog Friendly Hikes Near Knoxville

5 Dog Friendly Hikes Near Knoxville

Knoxville has a lot to offer – like a lot 😂

We love our makers, brewers, markets, etc. – but we can prooobably all agree that East Tennessee’s magic really culminates in those Smoky Mountains (*swoooon*) Seriously, even when we’re deep in the heart of the Scruffy City, we still eye those mountains and dream. BUT your dog does not dream. No, Spot just cries because the Smokies have a strict no-dog policy. (In their defense it’s because of, you know… bears.)

But go ahead and dry Spot’s tears because Tennessee has a surplus of state parks (56 to be exact 😉) where y’all can splash around in waterfalls and climb some scrambles for summit views. If you have a super vocal dog like me (her name is actually Tori, not Spot, and if you don’t believe she’s a vocal babe, just check out this video) then you’ll be happy to know there are soooo many within just an hour of our Scruffy City!

hiking devils racetrack in east tennessee

Small or big. Old or young. Clumsy or nimble, Knoxville has the perfect trail for your pup. So keep reading so you can get that dog’s tail waggin’! Without further ado, here are:

5 Dog-Friendly Hikes Near Knoxville, TN

1.) Triple Falls to Devils Racetrack

Can’t decide if your pooch prefers swimming or climbing? Luckily, this hike has a refreshing waterfall and gorgeous views of the valley below (and even views back into the waterfall after the climb up!). Triple Falls on Bruce Creek to Devils Racetrack is a favorite among locals – of both the two and four-legged variety 😉 This man-made three-tiered waterfall with a straight-up climb afterward is only about 30 minutes from downtown Knoxville!

There are actually two options for this trail – one is about two miles and the other is nearly six miles. Triple Falls was one of this Florida dog’s first hikes so we opted for the two-miler – plus it brings you straight to the views! The first half of the trail is along the creek with a view of the waterfall and then you cross the creek on a bridge and get ready for the hike up!

The top is an absolutely gorgeous setting. It’s nestled right next to the loud interstate, but trust me – your dog will love letting their ears flap in the wind at the top and you’ll love the photos of those goofy ears (deepest apologies to all the dogs with upright ears! 😬)

2.) DeBord Falls & Emory Gap

We mentioned earlier, this dog is from Florida – so you know she loves a good water-filled hike. DeBord Falls and Emory Gap are on a bit longer of a trail – three miles roundtrip – but the trail is mostly flat the whole way, making it a great trail for all!

The trail is located in Frozen Head State Park (about an hour outside of the city) but it is totally worth the drive. Frozen Head is perfect if you’re just starting to hike with your pup for a few reasons: it’s not overly crowded, it’s dog friendly, and the trails are wide and easy to follow so you and your doggo can learn each other’s cues together!

Pro Tip: If the three-mile trip wasn’t enough for your energetic pups, there are plenty of other great trails in this dog-friendly park!

3.) Fort Dickerson & Augusta Quarry

I swear, there will be some non-water hikes on this list but our girl is definitely a water bender 😂

Fort Dickerson is home to a host of trails and a massive quarry to chill out in. But the best part? It is a grand total of FOUR minutes from downtown Knoxville. Seriously, this is why outdoor enthusiasts love our Scruffy City! 😂🙌 The trails do get a little wonky here so the best advice I can give you is to just follow this New2Knox blog post to a tee. Study it, write it all down, anything you need to not get lost. But once you’r

e able to make your way down to the quarry, you and your dog can jump in that refreshing quarry water to cool off before the hike back up! (Or you can drive right up and park, but what’s the fun in that? 😉)

hiking fort dickerson in south knoxville

4.) House Mountain

We’re finally trading in water vibes for summit hikes! House Mountain is the tallest peak in all of Knox County standing tall at 2,064 feet above sea level. That may not seem too intense, but don’t underestimate her. The trail is almost completely straight up, has precarious moments, and definitely kicks some booty! 

This hike can be challenging for less experienced or older dogs – so before you go, make sure your dog is in top-notch doggo shape (and bring plenty of water!). Since there is a bit of a rock scramble, I would also suggest bringing a dog airlift sling. If a worst-case scenario happens, this will make the hike down way easier on both you and your four-legged friends.

5.) Seven Islands State Birding Park

If you and your dog are just starting out on your hiking journey (or you just like a calm pace with scenic views) Seven Islands State Birding Park is a wonderful place to go. Basically the opposite of House Mountain, the trails are accessible and easy making it a great place to train. It’s only about half an hour outside of the city but feels like it’s a million miles away with plenty of scenery and peaceful wildlife. (And a boat ramp if your dog wants to get back in the water!)

Before you go…

These are just a few of the great options in and around Knoxville to have a fun hike with your dog! It may be surprising to not see The Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a hike list like this, but again that’s just because dogs are not allowed in the park for their own safety. (You know… bears 😳) So try one of these great state parks or head around the corner to SoKno – also the perfect neighborhood to share post-hike beers and pizza with your doggo!


5 Must-Try Pizzas in Knoxville

5 Must-Try Pizzas in Knoxville

Whether it’s game day chaos or a cozy night at home watching reruns of Gilmore Girls, if you’re anything like us… you’re hungry 😂 And in almost any scenario, what’s better than pizza? Luckily, Knoxville is home to some pretty stellar pizza spots. In no particular order, here are a few of our favorite (dare we say the best) pizza spots in Knoxville!

A Dopo Sourdough Pizza in Knoxville

A Dopo Sourdough Pizza 

516 Williams St, Knoxville, TN 37917 

If you’re looking for a mouthwatering, sophisticated pizza experience in Knoxville, you MUST try A Dopo. Known for its wood-fired sourdough crust and fresh, local ingredients, A Dopo knows how to wow the crowd. (Even Forbes thinks so.)

They offer takeout if you’re lookin’ for a mellow night at home but I hiiiighly recommend making a reservation and dining in (believe me, it’s worth putting pants on for). A Dopo gives us all the moody vibes with the dramatic low lighting, candles, and delicate mismatched plates. The open-concept kitchen is also pretty darn spectacular since you can see your pizza in action (for all my foodie friends out there). I can honestly say I’ve tried most of the pizzas at A Dopo. Still, the ones I keep running back to would be the Margherita (red sauce, house-made mozzarella, basil, and olive oil) and the Funghi (white truffle oil, speck ham, taleggio cheese, roasted mushrooms, and chives). Whether it’s a girl’s night, a solo adventure, or a first date, be sure to keep A Dopo in mind for a truly special evening!

Pro-Tip: Splurge for the sweet hot.

Hard Knox Pizza in Knoxville

Hard Knox Pizza 

4437 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919 

It’s time to finally try Hard Knox Pizza (you know you want to)! This is one of the first places I tried when I moved to Knoxville four years ago and it is still one of my absolute fave spots. The pizzas are named after old-school boxers (how fun is that?), and there are over twenty pizzas to choose from. You could share… or not 😉 Recently, I tried the Veggie (mozzarella, spinach, mushrooms, artichokes, and onions) and the La Motta (mozzarella, caramelized garlic, and oregano). The wood-fired crust is perfectly charred and there is something for everyone. They have three locations, so wherever you find yourself in Knoxville, be sure to seek out Hard Knox for a pie that really packs a punch! 

Cruze Farm Pizza in Knoxville

Cruze Farm Pizza Barn 

2723 Asbury Rd Suite 101, Knoxville, TN 37914 

Chances are, you’ve heard of Cruze Farm – and if not, you’re in for a (cold😉) treat. They’re known for their soft-serve ice cream, fresh milk, and delish pizza. They don’t serve pizza at every location – but that just makes the pizza barn that much more special! 

Y’all, they use the milk from their cows (yes, it’s an actual farm!) for their homemade buttermilk ranch and… I’m a changed person from it. Full stop. Besides the ranch, I also tried the Cowgirl’s Dream (chicken, spinach, and garlic cream sauce) and it’s like spinach dip on a crunchy pizza crust (a pizza party for the tastebuds🥳). When you finish up your pizza party, walk across the street to enjoy some locally iconic ice cream!

South Coast Pizza 

1103 Sevier Ave, Knoxville, TN 37920 

This quirky spot is a fan fav for a reason. Besides being delicious, South Coast Pizza place is just super fun. From the beer can chandelier to the retro video games, you are guaranteed a good time the second you walk through the door. The outdoor patio is perfect for a laid-back evening (cue the string lights), there is plenty of space for families or a big ole group of friends, or you can even take the short walk down to Suttree Landing to enjoy your pizza by the river. Speaking of, let’s talk pizza!

South Coast has some of the most creative specialty pizzas I’ve seen around town. I decided to ditch anything traditional and ordered the Cuban (mustard BBQ base, mozzarella, dill pickles, pulled pork, and ham) and the Green Dragon (pesto, spinach, mozzarella, mushroom, black olive, and blue cheese). Both were so tasty (apparently I’m a huge fan of blue cheese on pizza now?? Try it before you judge me!😂). So the next time you find yourself in SoKno, grab a cold craft beer and some freaky good pizza at South Coast!

Tomato Head in Knoxville

The Tomato Head 

7240 Kingston Pike #172, Knoxville, TN 37919 

The Tomato Head is a Scruffy City culinary gem. From the freshly baked bread, handcrafted hummus, and gorgeous salads, they know a thing or two about good food. They have a pretty extensive menu (we love ✨options✨) but we’re obviously here to talk about the pizza. The crust is soft with a bit of chew and the ingredients are top-notch (they are all about freshness)! They have unique specialty pizzas (one has smoked salmon and another, lamb sausage). Howeveeer, you can also build your own pizza! I tried a pepperoni pizza with roasted garlic and basil, and it was *chef’s kiss*. When I go to the Tomato Head, I know I am getting the best of the best. You know you want a pizza this! 😉😝


This isn’t even the last of it, pals! There’s the fancy North Knox classic Pizzeria Nora or the brand new kid on the scene, Hole in the Wall pizza (it’s a literal hole in the wall of Crafty Bastard West). Wherever you end up eating your pizza, just remember to support small businesses and enjoy good food. Thankfully, Knoxville makes it easy! 🤩 Ciao!


Craving tacos instead? DISCOVER OUR FAVE TACOS HERE.