“Good Food, Good Friends, Good Times” is the theme and business plan for Tennessee Jack’s on West Andrew Johnson Highway in Mosheim.

Owned by Mack, Christina and Kalynn Foster of Morristown, the restaurant is managed on a day-to-day basis by Kalynn.

“This truly is a family business,” she said. “Not only does my family own it, but we use lots of family recipes, and my grandmother and an uncle work here.”

Mack, who owns Southern Global Refrigeration in Morristown, said it is important to him for the restaurant to be involved in the community, particularly helping schools and non-profit organizations. He is proud that Tennessee Jack’s was the first restaurant to sign up for the 30th annual Taste of Greeneville, set for May 7.

That event, co-hosted by Greeneville Woman’s Club and Main Street: Greeneville, starts at 6 p.m. May 7 at the General Morgan Inn. Guests will be treated to samples of food, drinks, desserts and special offers from restaurants and other food industry vendors. Proceeds are to benefit construction of a playground for children with physical disabilities at Hardin Park.

Limited tickets remain and are available at General Morgan Inn.

A FAMILY RESTAURANT

A love of cooking runs in the owners’ family.

“I’ve always loved cooking and baking,” said Kalynn, “and my grandmother, Loretta Mooneyhan, taught me to cook a lot of things.”

There are some exceptions though; her mother wasn’t the best in the kitchen — “even burning water once” — she said with a laugh.

But Kalynn said her dad is a good cook and loves grilling. “He’s always experimenting with something.”

At 18, Kalynn began working at Pizza Hut, having loved to visit in her younger days when her mother worked there. After graduating high school in Morristown, she obtained a CNA license and started working in a nursing home and as a home health aid.

“But I always kept thinking about having a restaurant,” she said.

While Kalynn confessed that she loves food of all kinds — lasagna and red velvet cake with cream cheese icing topping the list — her favorite job at the restaurant is talking with the customers and making them feel welcome.

The Tennessee Jack’s crew is trying to suit entire families, she said.

“No restaurant is perfect for everybody, but we strive to offer really good food in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, aimed at food for the whole family. We do have a bar area, featuring a variety of beers, separate from the eating area.”

The restaurant offers a variety of appetizers — from Fried Pickle Chips and Loaded Fries to Jalepeno Poppers and Mahi Mahi Tacos. They also have crisp salads with homemade dressings.

“Wings are a specialty, and we offer traditional or boneless,” Kalynn said. “Flavors include mild, hot, Thai chili, sweet Asian, mango habanero, barbecue, teriyaki or dry rub cajun — and you can buy from 5 to 50.”

Ironically, at a restaurant named for landlocked state, Tennessee Jack’s has found a specialty in seafood.

“Our customers love our seafood, from the fresh oysters to shrimp and crab legs of all kinds,” Kalynn said.

Beef probably reigns supreme, though, she said. “Our steaks are probably the favorite — the ribeye, sirloin, and the hamburger steak is really popular.”

The menu also features fettuccine of several kinds and chicken dishes. The chicken Philly and buffalo chicken sandwiches are popular, staff reported.

“Our desserts are very popular too, with our Caramel Cheesecake Pie being a real favorite,” Front-End Manager Kalysta Shipley said. “The Lava Brownie with Ice Cream is popular and we have a dessert special daily.”

Tennessee Jack’s offers a lunch menu, kids’ menu, gift cards, outdoor seating and a drive-thru. Orders can be called in to 450-0148, and the restaurant plans to do catering.

For those who dine in, there’s a warm, wooden interior with green-topped tables and comfortable chairs and booths. TVs are tuned to sports, news and children’s programs.

Football fans should feel at home — one wall is accented with Tennessee Volunteers and Florida Gator décor. A welcome center at the entrance offers T-shirts for sale.

Tennessee Jack’s hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hours may change in the summer, staff said.