Come hungry and leave filled… Libby’s Lodge offers great portions, delightful flavors to the palate

Published 1:05 pm Monday, April 18, 2022

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Diners at Libby’s Lodge Restaurant will quickly notice that the restaurant is designed to create a comfortable space.

Owners Donald and Jamie Campbell want their customers to feel like they are at home and have the freshest food prepared when ordered.

Opened only six months but under construction since Mother’s Day 2021, Libby’s Lodge Restaurant is named after the Campbells’ 14-year-old black lab, Libby, that Donald raised from a four-week-old puppy.

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The Campbells are originally from Michigan but moved to Carter County about four years ago at the urging of Jamie’s mother, who had previously moved to the area.

Jamie is no stranger to the restaurant business, working in the industry since she was 16. Knowing his wife’s desire to own a restaurant, Donald set out to surprise Jamie with a special Mother’s Day surprise in 2021.

“I asked her if that was what she wanted to do and she said yes, so I cashed out what I had in my 401K, quit my job and got this building and started working on it,” said Donald. “I surprised her with it on Mother’s Day although it wasn’t completed yet.

“We were going to name it The Lodge because I built a lodge on the back of our house. We got so many compliments on it so we were going to name this place The Lodge. I was in the shower one day and she came to me and asked me ‘what about Libby’s Lodge — let’s name it after Libby’ and I went ‘boom there it is.'”

The menu came from a combination of food ideas that Jamie had from her previous experiences in different restaurants and recipes from both sides of the family.

The menu includes items such as the Momma Bear pulled pork sandwich with homemade fries, a special house barbecue sauce, and a coleslaw made from a secret family recipe; a one-pound Zeus Burger; a giant house salad; and the popular Gunner’s Bowl — a breakfast favorite.

The Momma Bear pulled pork sandwich consists of a pile of juicy pulled pork that can be topped with one of two sauces that the Campbells make in-house: a sweet barbecue sauce or a yellow mustard-based sauce.

The Zeus Burger stands about six inches tall and promises to satisfy even the hungriest diners. The burgers are cooked on the smoker, which adds its own unique flavor and taste to the one pound of hamburger meat.

The recipe for the baked beans comes from Jamie’s grandmother, and Jamie takes pride in crafting fresh salads.

The Gunner’s Bowl is a popular breakfast item, featuring fried potatoes topped with onions, three eggs prepared to the diner’s choice, sausage, bacon, green peppers, gravy, and grated cheese with toast.

For those who love tenderloin, every Tuesday is Tenderloin Tuesday and according to Donald, customers have said that the tenderloin beats everyone else’s hands down due to its juicy flavor.

The Campbells said they owe a lot to their family and friends who have had their back through their early stages of opening and have a family tree plaque on the wall of all those who have helped, including local businesses.

Discounts are provided to seniors, veterans and first-responders.

“We give all of our veterans and seniors a 10% discount,” said Jamie. “All of the uniformed police officers, paramedics, and firemen get 50% off their meal and a free drink as a thank you because they are always eating on the run.”

Libby’s Lodge Restaurant is hoping to have an outdoor patio for guests to enjoy during the warm months. For right now, the Campbells want to stay small but said expanding to another location is possibly another option — in the future.

The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. Beginning Memorial Day, the hours will change to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and will remain the same for Sundays.