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Fleming’s to open doors in Knoxville

Knoxville will soon be home to Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, a full-service restaurant scheduled to open Monday, July 31, at Turkey Creek Lifestyle Center off Parkside Drive.

The 6,500-square-foot restaurant has a seating capacity for about 218 guests, said Brian Lanigan, operating partner. It has an outdoor patio, an open-air kitchen and a private dining room that accommodates up to 55 guests or can be divided into two rooms for smaller groups.

He said the restaurant is designed to enhance the dining experience. The dining room is built around an exhibition kitchen and an expansive bar. Design features include high ceilings, lighter woods with cherry accents and custom-designed alabaster chandeliers.

Fleming’s menu features USDA prime corn-fed beef, all aged to perfection, and hand-cut on-site daily into generously thick steaks. The restaurant also earns accolades for its meaty chops, fresh fish and poultry, and generous fresh salads and side orders. Lanigan said the prime beef is what separates Fleming’s from other steak and wine restaurants in the area.

“We exclusively offer prime beef in every cut we serve,” he said. “The restaurant offers a wide selection of sizes and cuts, ranging from the smallest eight-ounce filet mignon to the forty-ounce Porterhouse that serves two guests. All steaks are seared at extremely high temperatures on gas broilers to seal in the beef’s natural juices and its great flavors.”

Lanigan said in addition to the steaks, seafood and poultry, Fleming’s would have a wine list and reserve wine list that would offer a wide variety of choices to diners.

“As far as the wine is concerned, we will do one hundred wines by the glass,” he said. “We will have an additional hundred wines on our reserve list. We do extensive wine training for all our managers.”

Lanigan said the wines are an integral part of the dining experience at Fleming’s. The signature 100-wines-by-the-glass program will feature 60 wines with recognizable names, while 40 wines represent hard-to-find boutiques from California, Oregon and Washington. International selections, which include wines from France, Italy, South Africa and Australia, are also available. Wines and champagnes included in this selection are Sofia Blanc de Blancs, Beringer white zinfandel, Conundrum, Wattle Creek Mendocino, Pascal Jolivet, Cakebread sauvignon blanc, Kendall-Jackson chardonnay, Renwood zinfandel and a host of others.

The reserve list includes in the champagne category: Moet Chandon, Brut Champagne Cuvee Dom Perignon France, 1996 at $306 per bottle; Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs Napa Valley, 2001 at $105 per bottle; and Louis Roederer, Brut Campagne, Cristal, France, 1999 at $550 per bottle.

The chardonnay reserve list includes: Oliver Le Flaive, Puligny-Montrachet France, 2004, at $120 per bottle; and Cakebread, Napa Valley, 2004, at $120 per bottle.

The reserve pinot noir category includes: Etude, Carneros, 2003, at $115 per bottle and ZD, Carneros, 2004, at $80 per bottle. Reserve zinfandels include: Niebaum-Coppola Napa Valley Rutherford Estate Edizione Pennino, 2000, at $120 per bottle and Paraduxx, Napa Valley, 2002, at $130 per bottle.

Marian Jansen op de Haar, director of wines for Fleming’s corporate chain, was in town to train the staff on the use of wines prior to the opening. Extensive employee training in wine and wine etiquette is done in order to enhance the customer dining experience.

“Selecting a wine for dinner can be an intimidating experience, so making it customer-friendly was our first goal,” said Jansen op de Haar.  “We know that our guests enjoy wine.  While they know what they like, they are also eager to learn more about the subject.” 

Jansen op de Haar educates the entire Fleming’s wait staff and oversees its extensive wine list made available, every day, by the taste, glass, flight and bottle. 

“We have no need for showy sommeliers,” she said.  “And by offering our guests a large number of accessible choices, we keep the wine selection process flexible and fun. We consider every detail of wine service and selection.  Our wine program is very important to us and to our guests. We want Fleming’s to offer the best wine value and the best wine experience in the country.”

Stephanie Amberg, director of public relations for Fleming’s, said the cost of quality is slightly above average. The average meal, including tax and tip, should run about $55 per person, she said.  

Prior to joining the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in 2004, Lanigan said he spent 10 years in Las Vegas working for three of the city’s top-rated gourmet restaurants. He is a former service trainer in the Napa Valley restaurant.

Lanigan also served on the national wine selection committee for Ruth’s Chris Steak House. He began his career with the company in Sarasota, Fla., as floor manager and later became the private dining director and wine manager.


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