Ale ‘Rae’s, which started out as a catering outpost in a Knoxville football park and later grew into a popular food truck, has found a permanent home.
Owner David Goldschmitt has transformed a welcoming structure at 937 N. Broadway into an oasis of food and music, with a stage for live bands, a variety of bar games and a menu designed for foodies.
Goldschmitt, who previously ran a football academy for aspiring college athletes, considers himself a craftsman and used recycled materials from the formerly vacant building to bring his “rustic industrial” vision to life.
“All the little parts are just a reflection of who we are and as a little family,” he said of the company, naming his daughters, Allie and Rachel. “I have very great things in store.
“I love that our music lovers discover what it is to be a foodie. Our food lovers will discover what it is (to love) music.”
A house of music at Ale ‘Rae
Allie played football at Carson-Newman University and “landed” a business degree along the way. David never wanted to push her into the family business but is happy that she naturally found her way.
Ale ‘Rae’s has been open since late November, but the project is still ongoing. Allie plans to bring a cafe to the street-level space, while David wants to bring a music studio and rehearsal room for groups to the upper floors.
Although there are outdoor seating at Ale ‘Rae’s, David wants to re-imagine the space as a Rock Garden, with “rocky landscapes” and a water feature.
Live music on the Ale ‘Rae stage, which will be scheduled on the company’s opening nights, will eventually be played on televisions outside so customers don’t miss a beat.
David starts out with mostly local bands, but plans to bring in talent from Asheville and Nashville in the future.
“The tune and the music are kinda on the same (level),” David said. “First thing in the morning, it must burst. I go to bed singing. I wake up singing. It’s just part of who I am. I’ve always loved it.”
David loves to eat and has designed a menu that meets his personal standards.
“The good thing about the menu is that it’s the way I eat, and it’s the way we eat,” he said. “A bit of a culinary snob?” Yes. But it’s good, and all of our customers should love it. ”
Find the passion for food off the pitch
David started cooking on his own when he was a soccer coach, but eventually found another purpose for his food.
“I had players at home all the time,” he said. “We knew why they were coming. They wanted to eat. They needed a meal.… I was really passionate about it.
“They were mostly international players, so I explored the nationalities and their cultures, their textures and their seasonings. And it started to become a lot of fun for me.”
David eventually brought his culinary creations to a dealership building in TriStar Park near the West Haven neighborhood of Knoxville.
Zoning prevented David from advertising the business, and he sold food primarily to people playing in sports leagues and their families.
Later, the food truck, known as the Ale ‘Rae Grill, recently caught fire. David plans to turn what’s left of the food truck into an outdoor bar at Rock Garden.
A menu designed for gourmets
Iconic food truck items can be found on the new gastropub menu, which is showcased with bacon and bourbon meatloaf, a variety of salads, and sides from Ale ‘Rae known as “best friends.”
Burgers, flatbreads, chicken wings and tacos make up the specialties section of the menu, along with hot dogs, sandwiches and chowders.
Allie called her father the “toughest critic” of the business when it comes to food and service. When she throws food out the window, Rachel wonders, “If he saw her, would she love him?” ”
“Just make me happy, and I agree with everyone because I know they won’t be where I’m going to be,” David said. “They don’t have that expectation.”
It seems to be paying off, David said, as the company has maintained a steady stream of customers since opening day.
“Our niche of people is in this neighborhood of Happy Holler, downtown, old town,” Allie said. “We just felt we fit in the best here. … There is such a need for breakfasts in this area, in particular. ”
Plans to expand Ale ‘Rae’s drink menu
For now, the company only sells selected beer and wines. Allie said they don’t want to compete with the region’s large number of craft breweries and will offer a variety of national options.
A few local drinks can be found on tap, including beer from Xul Beer Company. Eventually, Ale ‘Rae’s will offer a full bar menu with specialty cocktails.
David said the head bartender, who happens to be the twin sister of sous-chef Ale ‘Rae, is “like me with the food part.”
“She’s stylish,” David said. “She understands the details.”
Allie has a similar passion for the future coffee side of the business, which will offer a variety of specialty drinks once her espresso machine is delivered.
“Not everyone is part of the drinking crowd,” she said. “So in the evenings when we have live music… you don’t need to sip a cocktail or a beer. You can be here with a latte – have something cozy and have fun.”
Allie said a variety of aromas for hot coffee and cold brew, as well as teas, should meet the taste preferences of guests.
Other things to know before you go
In addition to enjoying live music, which is sometimes chargeable, patrons can play darts, billiards, or any other game that can be found around Ale ‘Rae’s.
“Our building owners run restaurants. I don’t want a restaurant.… I don’t want to transform and burn,” David said. “I want you to come in – we’re going to get to know you and know so much about you. You’re going to know us because we love social life.”
Allie and Rachel have a close relationship with David, who loves having them by his side since childhood.
“They were just my daughters,” he said. “I kind of had in mind that if I run this, they’re going to find their way. They’re going to go do these things, but that doesn’t matter. They’re still my daughters. They’re still. ‘Ale’ Chez Rae. …
“It turns out, at least this time and now that we’re going, we’re all together. We’re all on this trip together.”
Ale ‘Rae’s is open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, before returning at 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday.
On-site parking is available at Ale ‘Rae’s, located at 937 N. Broadway, less than a five-minute drive from Old Town.