By Amy Box Fellhoelter
Some people go to great lengths to unplug from life’s responsibilities and connect with their family members such as sight-seeing at the Grand Canyon or hiking in the Smoky Mountains. But great family moments and memories can be made here in Knoxville right around the corner at Cool Cat Billiards & Café.
Cool Cat provides a clean, well lit atmosphere that encourages conversation and memories to be made while playing games and eating entrees made from scratch. “I wanted a place where parents and grandparents can reach out and share those ‘I remember when’ stories with their kids and grandkids,” said Jim Broughton, owner of Cool Cat Billiards & Café. His desire was to create a neutral location where families can connect and “build relationships in a safe environment,” Broughton added.
“The emphasis here, is this is a billiards room, with a full restaurant and a bar,” he explained. Broughton made his establishment – located at 5210 Schubert Road – to be a one hundred percent family-friendly, casual restaurant with high-quality food and a small bar on the side, unlike most billiard places which focus primarily on the bar.
The veteran-owned café is appropriate for children of all ages. They are welcome to try their hands at soft tip or steel tip darts, play at one of the ten professional-class pool tables, or enjoy an electronic jukebox filled with non-explicit, family-appropriate music. Pool experts competing or explaining the game can be viewed by patrons on three of the big screen televisions scattered throughout the 9300-square-foot facility. Alongside those screens, others display sporting events.
Fortunately, whatever families choose, their small talk won’t be competing with the bells and sirens of arcade games, or loud, abrupt music, or flashing lights typically found in gaming rooms where pool tables are available. Away from the video games, “when you’re playing pool, when a granddad settles in with a grandchild, Papa starts sharing something,” and connections are made said Broughton.
Building this first-class billiards room was a joint effort with his wife Jan who has crafted most of the homemade recipes and is one of the restaurant chefs. Broughton, who is a mechanic by trade, is now doing two things he enjoys. He said he is fortunate “doing what I want to do … I love this place.”
Broughton, who began hanging out in a pool hall at age twelve, has played pool on and off throughout his life, and started playing again full time in 2008. He is available to teach group lessons and training seminars for those wanting to improve at the sport.
Soon Broughton will be scheduling a Family Scotts Doubles Tournament – which are two-person family teams made up of a parent and a child such as mother/son or father/daughter or two siblings. “A lot of guys come in, and bring their daughters in to practice, or their sons to practice,” emphasized Broughton regarding the family friendly ambiance of Cool Cat. The Broughtons know families need to make memories at affordable places, so they price dinners and pool table prices at an excellent value. Tables are ten dollars an hour and daily specials for food, drinks, and tables can be found on their Facebook page. A recent special, “Two for Tuesdays” includes two made-to-order dinners, drinks, and desserts paired with two hours use of a professional table for $39.99.
Besides welcoming young people with their families, Cool Cat embraces large groups into their smoke and vape free complex. Their tournament-style billiard tables are perfect for student-incentive field trips, and birthday, anniversary, graduation, or retirement parties. Groups can rent the all-occasion venue for team building meetings, business luncheons, or promotion parties for work. And yes, even weddings and wedding receptions, “We’ve got a wedding planned for here too,” said Broughton. The spacious café can seat up to 145 guests and provides a stage. It’s an excellent setting for church group gatherings and fundraisers as well. Closing the establishment for privacy and respect, he explained, “we even had a celebration of life ceremony here.”
The manager of a construction crew came in recently and told Broughton, “I want to tell you, and I’ve been in this business for a long time, six or eight years, and I travel everywhere, and you’ve got the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten in my life.”
Cool Cat is recognized for its Signature Burger with candied pepper bacon and pepper jack cheese, the BOMB BLT, whipped cheddar and pimento with tortilla chips, sweet potato chips with blue cheese, and hand breaded chicken tenders. Wings, salads, appetizers, soups, sandwiches and desserts load the menu as well. For those unable to experience the billiards café, but wish to try their tasty dinners, delivery is available by ordering online using their website or Facebook page. For a menu of foods provided by their full-service kitchen, check out www.coolcatbilliardsandcafe.com.
For custom cue repair, to be placed on a tournament list or in-house pool league, or to reserve the establishment for your next group meeting or party, call Cool Cat at 865-200-5587 or email [email protected]
Having opened in March 2018, Cool Cat is easy to find located off of Merchant Drive behind Pilot and Wendy’s off Schubert Road. For photos, demonstration videos of pool tips, dinner specials, online ordering, and more, visit their Facebook page Cool Cat Billiards and Café.