Bristol restaurants bring fight from gridiron to the grill

Battle at Bristol brings out battle for local fair

BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) — Teams from two states will tangle for ultimate bragging rights in a border battle expected to smash college football’s biggest crowd on record.

Downtown Bristol, Tennessee is decked out but make no mistake, it’s a street divided with spirit, one side for the Vols, the other for the Hokies. The Tennessee and Virginia Tech football teams may be fighting for the Battle at Bristol trophy but from the gridiron to the grill, another contest is cooking.

Restaurants on both sides of the state line are battling for taste buds. In honor of the big game, Food City Executive Chef JJ Jones and his department cooked up some burgers,each with state specific ingredients.

“Smoked sausage from Smithfield cut up and it’s stuffed with Velveeta cheese and Virginia ham,” he said. “Tennessee burgers got little fried onions on top along with the Grainger County tomatoes, some orange peppers.”

In the battle of the burgers, Chef JJ said it’s hard to pick a winner. “We’re actually going to take them and see what we sell the most of and declare a winner,” he said.

An in Johnson City a beer battle is also brewing. Hokie fan Eric Lathan and Volunteer fan Casey Hendrix agreed to use the same base for beer, but friend and unofficial referee Ben Smith said that’s where the camaraderie ends.

“They can’t agree on anything, so the house is divided,” said Smith. Each brewer hopes the beers showcase the spirit of their favorite teams.

And at the Southern Church in Bristol, the fight over fudge may be too close to call. For Tennessee fans there is an orange cream fudge and there is a rasberry puree fudge for Virginia Tech fans.

Southern Churn owner Karen Hester says she may have to give the win to Virginia Tech. “I love rasberry, but the orange cream is delicious too,” said Hester.

Whether you’re a Vols fan or a Hokies fan, one thing is for certain: There will be something for everyone’s game day menu.

Complete coverage: Battle at Bristol

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