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Farragut eatery gets new owner, name

Gondolier Restaurant off West End Avenue is under new ownership and has a new name.

Clayton “Smity” Smith and his wife, Mary Ann, purchased the restaurant, now the first Papalinas in what Smith hopes to make a local chain.

“Our company name is Papalinas; we’re trying to open another Papalinas later in the summer,” Smith said of the change in name.

“It’s really going to be in Knoxville,” he added.

“My wife and I were looking at several restaurants in the Knoxville area and this one just seemed like it had the greatest potential, even though it needed a lot of work. It was just the right choice for us,” he said.

“We really think the people deserve good service, good food and think that’s the way to go. Even though Gondolier has a great reputation in Knoxville … we’re not sure that’s a good direction for us,” he added.

“We’re really excited about it and we think there’s a lot of potential here in Farragut. There’s a lot of people who stopped coming here because they didn’t see passion … I believe passion is important.”

Although the name has changed, Smith has not drastically changed the menu.

“The people of Farragut should be able to dictate how the restaurant goes, what should be on the menu. I want to put in a buffet, for people to be able to come and have all the pizza they want to eat and salad,” he said.

“I think that’s the way for people to go for lunch time,” he added.

“We’ll sell Italian food for the people of Farragut … we’ll offer the standard Italian menu: the pizzas, the spaghettis, calzones, stromboles, linguine, lasagna. We’re not really going to cut back anything that is offered now.

“We’re looking at changing some of the items and some of the flavors a little bit,” he added.

Smith said he planned to keep hosting meetings such as the Optimist’s Club and Lion’s Club in the party room at the


“It’s a very nice room; it’s a large room. There are very few restaurants who have a room this big where they can actually have people come in. I think it’s a great opportunity for anyone,” he said.

“When we get the buffet set up, they can come and have all the food they want from the buffet while they’re holding their meeting,” he added.

Above all, the Smiths, who have four children, want the restaurant to be family friendly.

“We’re family oriented … we really want this to be a family restaurant,” Smith said.

For more information, call Papalinas at 865-966-5221.


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