Eating Out: Cranberries serving bistro fare in new location

8:19 am | August 10, 2012

For many years, Cranberries served up delicious soups, tasty sandwiches, terrific quiches and other treats at its location on State of Franklin in Johnson City. The restaurant now has a new home on Knob Creek Road. While the location has changed, Cranberries still serves up its creative, flavorful fare.

I enjoyed my first visit to the restaurant’s new location on a recent Friday evening. I visited with three friends prior to seeing a stage production at a local venue. Monday through Friday, Cranberries serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The menu for dinner features Beef Stew, Meatloaf, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken and Dumplings and Bacon-wrapped Pork Filet. Of course, lunch favorites such as entree salads, soup, sandwiches and a daily quiche are also available during the evening.

The new location still features plenty of the attractive ambience from the former Cranberries. The walls are painted rosy cranberry-red contrasted with white plaster. The walls are decorated with placards bearing clever sayings as well as decorative plates displayed in wrought iron holders.

The overall effect of the interior design puts visitors in mind of a tasteful and comfortable country bistro. Potted plants and dried floral arrangements provide decoration as do the various baskets that hang from the rafters in the ceiling. Seating is available at tables draped with tropical vinyl coverings as well as a lunch counter arranged along the front window in the dining area. The first thing customers notice on arrival will be the row of glass display cases that spotlight desserts, homemade salads and other items.

We found a table near a faux tree populated by ornamental dragonflies, birds and their nests and colorful beetles. There’s also a whimsical trail of over-sized “artsy ants” running along one wall. Other decorative pieces include framed watercolor paintings of colorful serving bowls.

Contemporary soft hits provided relaxing dinner music that we enjoyed along with conversation during the meal.

Customers place their orders at the front counter. A helpful server waited patiently as my party of four considered the variety of offerings listed on the menu boards behind the counter.

Since I have enjoyed plenty of lunches at Cranberries over the years, I was eager to try some of the dinner items. It came down to a choice between the Chicken Pot Pie and the Bacon Wrapped Pork Filet, although I was also tempted by the Meatloaf. I chose the pork filet, which can be accompanied by a choice of sides, including a salad, mashed potatoes or twice-baked potato. I chose to add a Twice-baked Potato, but I also ordered a cup of soup.

The soups change on a daily basis, but can include such options as Chili, Tomato Bisque, Chicken Tortilla and Bean and Ham. I chose the Chicken Tortilla while one other member of my party order the Tomato Bisque.

The other members of my dining party ordered the Turkey Croissant and the Super Salad, which offers a sampling of either Chicken or Tuna Salad, and two of any of the other fresh-made salads of the day. My friend chose the Tuna Salad as well as the Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad and the Italian Pasta Salad. Another friend paired his sandwich with a refreshing salad made from sliced tomatoes and feta cheese drizzled with olive oil and herbs.

The soups arrived ahead of the other meal items. The Chicken Tortilla Soup featured a hearty tomato-based broth with plenty of tender chicken. The soup was garnished with toasted tortilla strips and accompanied by two slices of French bread and an orange slice.

The Tomato Bisque, a rich, creamy and fresh-tasting soup, came garnished with shredded cheese and an accompaniment of French bread and an orange slice. Both soups provided a perfect way to whet the appetite ahead of our main meals.

The rest of the meal arrived not long after we finished the soup.

My meal consisted of a tender, perfectly seasoned and oven-baked five-ounce pork tenderloin wrapped with some flavorful bacon. I also enjoyed the cheesy Twice-baked Potato, which I felt provided a perfect pairing with the pork.

I also sampled a few tastes from other meals. I enjoyed my friend’s Super Salad, with the three helpings of different salads served on a bed of greens and accompanied by two slices of French baguette. The tuna salad was particularly delicious. This salad at Cranberries is prepared from Albacore tuna tossed with a light vinaigrette, tangy capers, onions and celery.

The dinner companions who ordered the Turkey Croissants enjoyed these light sandwiches, which offer thinly sliced turkey breast, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce and an exquisite cranberry chutney on a flaky croissant.

Don’t forget to save room for a sweet at the conclusion of the meal. The desserts beneath the display cases vary on a daily basis, but customers can usually find such treats as cupcakes, cookies, brownies, cakes and other pastries.

I was in the mood for a cupcake, and the choices include Chocolate Chip Cheesecake, Red Velvet and Peanut Butter-Chocolate. A friend and I tried a Peanut- Butter Chocolate Cupcake, which was baked in a cupcake foil and served on a doily on a saucer. The smooth, lush frosting made this combination-flavored cupcake into a sensational sweet treat.

Cranberries also serves breakfast, with a menu focused on pastries, cinnamon rolls, cranberry bread, croissants and bagels as well as quiche, fruit salads and oatmeal. I haven’t tried breakfast, but would like to do so in the future.

If you go to Cranberries, let them know they were recommended.


AT A GLANCE: Cranberries, 1904 Knob Creek Road, Suite 5, Johnson City. 282-8765. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Dinner entrees $10.95 and under. Credit cards accepted. Carryout available. Catering available. 

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