The history of The Orangery is one of both, great success and near devastation. It’s existence reads like a history book. Named after Marie Antoinette’s greenhouse at Versailles, The Orangery remained a staple in the Knoxville fine dining market for its first 38 years under the ownership of three generations of the Kendrick family (Kristopher, daughter Karen and grandson Stuart). When it first opened in 1971, the restaurant was filled with furnishings and antique architectural details that the family rescued from structures in Knoxville, New York, Paris and numerous other cities around the world. But in 1984, tragedy struck and a fire burned the entire structure to the ground, causing all of the art pieces and antiques to be lost.
Undaunted by this disaster, Kristopher Kendrick vowed to build Karen a new restaurant and did just that. Eighteen months later, The New Orangery opened and served its first guest at its current location in Bearden. The restaurant today, just like upon re-opening in 1986, flaunts a Steinway piano in the lobby, a massive spiral staircase rescued from the pre-Civil war Pace-Mabry mansion, marble from Park Junior High School, paneling from the boardroom of United American Bank, courtyard bricks from a building on Broadway once used for horse auctions and gates from the old Fulton Mansion that once stood where Westcliff Condominiums on Lyons View Pike are now located.
For the past four decades, The Orangery has played host to lavish wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, holiday parties, and other events too numerous to mention. The restaurant boasts several dining rooms on the main floor, all decorated in regency style while the Phoenix ballroom at the top of the spiral staircase can accommodate up to 300 people for larger gatherings.
“When you came to The Orangery, you left with a memory,” says new owner David Kiger. “Whether it was a meal for two or two hundred, the mission was always to provide the most memorable food in an intimate, unforgettable atmosphere.” And, that’s just what David Kiger and Executive Chef Amber Lloyd plan to continue at The Orangery.
Kiger has also reunited Kathleen Anderson with The Orangery. Kathleen was a tremendous part of The Orangery for 25 years and has returned to help restore The Orangery to what it once was. Jane Kendrick has also returned to The Orangery to help continue the traditions of elegant dining. Jane has been a long time devotee to what The Orangery stands for.
The menu has been updated with a fusion of french classics and international specialties. Guests will be awed by menu items such as lobster and mushroom crepes, slow-braised lamb shank, several fish and beef entrees and the daily specials that Chef Lloyd creates in The Orangery kitchen. “Many of our guests will recognize some of their old favorites on the menu. We’ve just given them our own finesse,” says Kiger. “It’s the same great book, just a new chapter.”