New Biz Roundup: Fountains, Go-Karts, Tacos

In The Daily Dumpster Blog by Josh Wittleave a COMMENT

Ice Cream as It Was Meant to Be Served

Downtown Knoxville is getting another sweet treat. Open since last October, the Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain (418 S. Gay St.) recently moved to the front of the Phoenix Building (from their old space along the promenade). And that means they’re finally unveiling their much-anticipated, old-timey soda fountain, which can be glimpsed through the window from Gay Street.

Phoenix will offer a wide selection of ice cream, syrups, and toppings, all made in its basement kitchen and served upstairs at the counter. Expect to be served by bona fide soda jerks, complete with white shirts, bow ties, and caps. Customers will also be able to take these goodies home.

With this addition, the Phoenix Building becomes a staple of downtown by offering a coffee shop, a pharmacy, a soda fountain, a cleaner, a bank, and a walk-in clinic. It’s worth a look for those who haven’t been in yet. The Phoenix Pharmacy and Fountain will officially open this Wednesday, with a grand opening on Aug. 17. Hopefully, this will fill our sweet-tooth void after Cruze Farm’s pop-up Milk Bar closes later this August or early September.

You can find more info on their Facebook page, or by calling them at 865-692-1603. 

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At Last, Indoor Go-Karting Comes to Knoxville

Cedar Bluff will soon be home to a new indoor go-kart track in a space formerly occupied by Kroger in Market Place (9305 Kingston Pike). The 66,000-square-foot building has been redeveloped by Veloce Indoor Speedway, which currently has locations in Milwaukee and Huntsville, Ala., with one in Nashville on the way.

The race track will feature Italian-made, electric go-karts capable of reaching speeds up to 50 mph, as well as an advanced, French-made barrier system to avoid unpleasant crashes. Veloce plans to establish racing leagues a few months after opening, and will also offer the facility for private events.

“We do a tremendous amount—an ungodly amount—of bachelor parties up in Milwaukee,” jokes Hank Sorenson, managing partner.

Veloce expects to open later this August after they receive their go-karts and barriers. Prices should be similar to their Milwaukee location, with a single race of 10 racers and eight laps for $16. They’ll also have multi-pack deals that include multiple races, such as a pack of three for $36.

More info can be found at

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More Tacos Is Always Good News

Downtown also has a new restaurant, Chivo Taqueria (314 S. Gay St.), located in the Century Building. Their main specialty is tacos, but they also have tequila and whiskey prominently placed on their sign outside. They also have starters like guacamole, queso, salsa, and more, as well as salads. But the bulk of their menu is tacos, which they have 10 varieties of. Their drinks menus (yes, multiple) are long and extensive with just about any sort of alcohol you’d want. They pride themselves in using local ingredients from East Tennessee in their menu items.

You can find more info at, or by calling them at 865-444-3161. 

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A New Nest for Homeowners on the 100 Block

Gay Street’s 100 Block has added a new resource for unique, high quality furniture and home decor to its lineup of shops. Nest Knoxville opened in July at 108 S. Gay St., located between UT’s Downtown Gallery and the Sterchi Lofts.

Nest offers furniture, gifts, and home accessories like pillows, pottery, coasters, and more. They have “one-of-a-kind” showroom samples from top brands around the country. Nest is owned by husband-and-wife team Natalie Stair and City Council member Marshall Stair.

“I hope people come in and find the something they love and can enjoy for years,” said Natalie in a press release.

You can find more info on their Facebook page or by calling them at 865-409-4550.

A Salon for Rocky Hill with Pop-Culture Appeal

New to the small Rocky Hill area, Absinthe (7425 S. Northshore Drive) is a salon and barber shop with an eccentric twist. Opened by hairdresser Scarlet Strange, the salon has 12 booths that are rented out to cosmetologists and barbers for $135 a week. She hopes that this model will attract more barbers in Knoxville to work somewhere other than a traditional barbershop or salon. And the salon’s pop-culture decor also sets it apart—Absinthe’s walls are covered in posters and references to Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Star Wars, and more to attract an eccentric crowd.

“I definitely appeal to the fringe of society—burlesque performers, musicians, advertising and public relations people, writers and the like,” Strange notes in a press release.

You can find more info at, or by calling them at 865-748-4647.

Josh is a sophomore at Pellissippi State Community College. He likes video games, movies, TV, and Knoxville! In his spare time, he returns to mentor his former high school robotics team at the L&N STEM Academy.

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