Olson’s River Grill opens in Townsend
By Iva Butler (email@example.com)
The Dick Olson family has opened Olson’s River Grill in Townsend, providing dining in a room with wide windows fronting Little River.
The former Dead Beat Pete’s restaurant beside Townsend Shopping Center at 7613 Old Highway 73 has been redone with new windows to the river, new carpeting, a much higher ceiling and accented with an eclectic selection of original art work from the Olson family collection. There is a fireplace in the room with the river view.
“It’s a work in progress,” Olson said, detailing the work he plans to do on the restaurant.
“We plan to redo the outside before summer of next year with cedar siding and new windows. We will enclose the porch and decks cantilevered out over the river.”
After the first of the year he expects to be serving wine and draft beer. He has already applied for a license to sell wine.
“You can sit and watch a game on television and eat,” he said.
The Olson family previously operated Trailhead Steak House in Townsend for seven years.
Olson said the new restaurant specializes in steaks from Buckhead Beef of Atlanta and flies in seafood for the weekends.
“Buckhead is renowned for being the best supplier of steaks in the U.S.,” he said.
Opening a little over two weeks ago, Olson said many of his former clients don’t know where he relocated and he wants to get the word out.
“The majority of our traffic is local. We don’t depend on tourists. Most of our business comes from a 100-mile radius of Townsend,” he said. “Many are prominent Knoxvillians who have homes in Townsend.”
Currently Olson’s River Grill is open from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
“It is our intention to be open for lunch, dinner and Sunday after church eventually,” he said.
“Reservations are recommended,” he said. “Take out is available, but not encouraged.”
Currently the restaurant, which has two dining rooms, can seat 60, but once the new patios open it will be able to seat at least 140, he said.
It is truly a family affair. “Our whole family loves food,” he said.
Son Richard Olson Jr. is the main chef and wife Janet and daughter Hallie Olson also work in the restaurant.
The majority of the nine employees are part-time, most of whom have worked for Olson six or seven years.
Olson’s goal is to make it the premier eating place in Townsend.