Savor plus serenity plus scenery equals Suba’s

Mystery Diner • Apr 30, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Though Johnson City is a go-to dining metropolis with a wide variety of venues and cuisines, you need to take a day trip into the mountains to truly experience the gastronomic revolution currently taking place in Upper East Tennessee. The town is Mountain City, and the place is Suba’s Restaurant.

In a compact building located on South Shady Street in Mountain City, proprietors Richard and LuAnne Suba have been providing the best in fine dining from an eclectic menu of entrees (his) and the most marvelous desserts found anywhere (hers).

The desserts are on display (where else?) in the restaurant’s lobby. To the left, you enter a snug dining area that seats just 50 patrons who are entertained with soft background music and a picture window through which is the epitome of “southern exposure.”

Smoked Trout Cake Sandwich: Since the dine-around bunch and I had arrived a little after 1 p.m., lunch was still being served. Suba’s menu changes periodically, as executive chef Richard Suba avails himself of locally sourced produce and artisan-quality meats and cheeses with which to tempt his customers.

One such temptation caught my attention, that being the smoked trout cake sandwich ($8.95) which I ordered with a salad of mixed field greens, carrots, onions and purple cabbage.

I also decided that a cup of Suba’s soup of the day, (cheddar, bacon & onion soup) suited me just fine. The flaked trout was smoked to perfection, and the soup and the salad complemented my sandwich just fine.

Prime Rib Special & salad: The Carnivore zeroed in on Suba’s lunch special, a prime rib sandwich ($8.95 and charcoal-grilled medium, please) to which was added a side salad instead of the usual steak fries.

My friend’s minimum daily requirement of red meat arrived tableside, nestled on a nice freshly baked baguette and topped with some locally sourced produce. To make the sandwich easier to handle, the Carnivore sliced the sandwich into three sections. I tried a bite and could not fault his thought process.

Vegetable Stir Fry & Chicken: Meanwhile, the Retiree’s lunch order was Suba’s vegetable stir fry with chicken ($10.95), a delicious mix of diced marinated chicken, chopped carrot, onion, broccoli florets, coarsely sliced red bell pepper and some snow peas, all coated with Suba’s proprietary stir-fry sauce and then served over fluffy white rice, a fresh-baked dinner roll added almost as an afterthought.

Garlic Shrimp and Cheese Quesadilla: The Dieter ordered one of Suba’s signature entrees, the shrimp, garlic and cheese quesadilla ($7.95), and a side salad. Suba’s takes a good handful of 15-count peeled and de-veined shrimp and parboils them. The shrimp are then tucked in between two flour tortillas, covered with thinly sliced fresh garlic and lots of mild Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses and baked until bubbly and delectable.

Chicken Parmigiana: My dining partner’s choice for lunch was Suba’s chicken parmigiana entrée ($9.95) with a side salad and an order of steamed broccoli. Suba’s takes a plump, marinated breast of chicken, covers it with the in-house ragu (red sauce) and some freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano and bakes it just so, before plating with the steamed broccoli and adding the salad on the side. Yes, my dining partner was very pleased with her choice of entrée for lunch.

… and for Dessert …: At Suba’s, dessert involves a return trip to the lobby for a refresher on what delicacies pastry chef LuAnne Suba has created. My dining partner chose one of Suba’s Butterscotch eclairs; the Carnivore’s éclair had blueberry filling. The Retiree liked the bread pudding with white chocolate. The Dieter ordered a slice of Suba’s delicious peanut butter pie. My dining partner also liked the look of the coconut pie and told me to get a slice. It tasted pretty good, and I am no fan of coconut.

Conclusion: Suba’s is one of the best restaurants around. Richard and LuAnne Suba, both graduates of Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina, could have taken their talent and business acumen pretty much anywhere in the country and been successful. That they chose Mountain City is a great asset to everyone who enjoys fine food and spectacular desserts in Upper East Tennessee. Please be aware of the days and times Suba’s is open. Reservations are a must, especially for the dinner hour. Suba’s Restaurant is forty or so minutes from the Tri-Cities, and well worth the drive.

Recommended by the dine-around bunch and the Mystery Diner.

Suba’s Restaurant

2736 S. Shady St.

Mountain City


Lunch: 11 a.m.–1:50 p.m. Wed. thru Sun.

Supper: 5 p.m –7:50 p.m. Wed. & Thu., & 5 p.m.-8:50 p.m. Fri. & Sat.

(Supper Reservations Mandatory)

Available on Facebook & at


Credit cards accepted