I’ve been craving seafood for a few days, but being a bit of a seafood-connoisseur (or seafood-snob, whatever you want to call it), I tend to think you can only get incredible seafood on the coast.

And boy, was I wrong…

I heard some people talking about Riverfront Seafood Company in Kingsport, and decided, okay, I’ll give this place a shot.

So when I got there, I realized that even though it’s not overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, it DOES create a nice atmosphere with a water-front view of the Holston River. And from the back-deck seating area, you’re actually looking at the “Long Island” of the Holston (Kingsport’s original namesake). Plus, it’s one of those ‘hybrid’ decks, that can be air-conditioned on hot days—like today—and open up to enjoy the breeze when the weather’s more comfortable.

And I’ll admit, it was quite a lively scene—with geese swimming in the water, and a family of ducks sliding down the little rapids. In fact, I got so caught up in watching the wildlife, that my waitress, Susan, had to come back twice to get my order!

She insists that everything on the menu is “absolutely delicious.” Just what you’d expect to hear, right? But then I end up talking to Shane Winegar, the restaurant manager. He starts telling me about how Riverfront Seafood combines top-quality seafood with the home-made touch of Northeast Tennessee. All their salad dressings, soups, and desserts are home-made, and their seafood is ordered at midnight to arrive at noon the same day! It’s their way of getting the freshest seafood, and giving it their own authentic touch. So I settle on the spinach-and-cheese dip appetizer, so I can mull over the menu (and do some more duck-watching) for a few more minutes. And to say it was delicious would be a drastic understatement—the combination of creaminess, cheesyness, and shrimpyness, with a spicy little kick, was enough to constitute a meal on its own.

But I wasn’t done yet. (Though I STILL couldn’t settle on one particular entrée.)

I told Shane to surprise me. And he did. With this:

Amazing. The grilled scallops and shrimp were more than enough to rival the best I’ve had at any coastal seafood restaurant (And I even worked at one!), and the grilled tuna was delectable. Combine those with pasta alfredo (home-made), cole slaw (also home-made), and FRIED corn-on-the-cob. It was like I was in Heaven (if Heaven was a seafood restaurant with a cool river-front view). And to add a little smile to the “mmmm’s” and “ahhhh’s”, the cornbread was fish-shaped!

By this time, I’m literally blown away. I really wouldn’t have believed that such an amazing seafood restaurant existed right here in Northeast Tennessee.

And then, they bring out their signature dessert: Blackberry Cake. Made from real blackberries and topped with a cream-cheese icing, it was the perfect ending to a more-than-delicious meal. Out-standing!

So if you’re in the mood for seafood, and a great atmosphere, and a great view, and great service, and a dining experience that you won’t find in any tourist-trap seafood restaurant, check out Riverfront Seafood Company, 1777 Netherland Inn Rd, in Kingsport. And keep your eyes peeled for Saltwater Willy’s Bayou Café—a Cajun-influenced restaurant from the same folks who created Riverfront Seafood—coming soon to the Sunny Side of Tennessee!

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