In May of 2011 The Plaid Apron opened its doors with four employees. Two of the four original employees are Bonni and Drew McDonald; a husband and wife team who took a gamble on a former coffee spot in the middle of the Sequoyah Hills neighborhood and turned it into a breakfast and lunch spot. In the years following, they would build the business to 25+ employees, serve brunch everyday and offer a full service bakery.
Their passion for a community through food has lead to very personal relationships with small vendors, farmers, and customers.
Drew was a late bloomer to the culinary world. After a 2 year pre-med stint at Lipscomb University he got a job at Park Cafe just to see if cooking could become a career path. It was the right move. Graduating Lipscomb with a degree in Food Systems Management, he headed straight for Sullivan University in Louisville, KY to add a degree in Culinary Arts. Drew spent the 2 years after culinary school working at Blackberry Farm, a Relais and Chateau property in Walland, TN. It was there he began a respect for local food, artisan bread, and the purity of scratch-made cuisine. After leaving Blackberry Farm, he and Bonni made a small stint of living in New Zealand where Drew worked at Huka Lodge. New Zealand left a mark on his heart and made clear his vision for his food. Returning to the states, he settled in Nashville working at The Hermitage Hotel and Capitol Grill as Sous Chef. A year later the desire to head back to East Tennessee led him to opening The Plaid Apron here in Knoxville.
Bonni never thought in a million years she would be working in (much less owning) a restaurant. Her passion and talent fall in the equestrian world, focusing on the discipline of Hunters and Jumpers. Somehow Drew had the ability to convince her they should open a restaurant. She took what she knew of hard work, customer service, and management and applied it to running the Front of House. She now divides her time between the restaurant, barn, and being Mom to their two sons: Grantham and Merrick.
We have worked hard to bring The Plaid Apron to where it is now. Mistakes have been made, successes have occurred, and we can’t thank enough those whom have walked and continue to walk through our doors. We’ve made a few changes with the recent renovation that will allow us to operate better and deliver a better product to your plate. Personal service of the highest standard is something we strive for every day and have built a team to fulill this. The food scene in Knoxville continues to grow and we are excited to be a part of it! Cheers!