Here’s the Moxley Carmichael team (and some significant others) celebrating the holidays in Bullfish, a convivial eatery in Pigeon Forge.
Every year, Moxley Carmichael’s staff celebrates the holidays (and our year-end bonuses!) with a festive dinner in downtown Knoxville. This year, we had reserved the new private dining room at Babalu on Gay Street, a fun client of ours.
But, being intently focused on the plight of the people of Gatlinburg and Sevier County since the terrible wildfires, we made a change of plans. “The best thing you can do to help us is to keep coming to visit,” one of the officials said during a news conference. We took that to heart.
Bullfish has an extensive menu, ample servings, good wine and other adult beverages, great desserts and a casual, laid-back atmosphere.
We canceled our reservations at Babalu and headed instead to Bullfish Grill, an eatery at 2441 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. It is owned by Diverse Concepts, another company with which we have done business. The folks at Babalu were understanding. “You are doing the right thing,” the catering manager told us. “We know you support us and will be back.” (And we definitely will be. We recently hired them to cater a tailgate we had at a new venue on the University of Tennessee campus. Click here to see what a great job they did!)
We also secured the services of the Big Love Bus, which we helped introduce when it opened in Knoxville, and arranged for our whole staff to be driven through downtown Gatlingburg prior to dinner. We wanted to see for ourselves what was going on there.
Here’s what we found. Both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are open for business. The restaurants and entertainment venues are fully stocked and have their bright, welcoming lights on. But in Gatlinburg, the streets are pretty empty. There simply are not many tourists there. Pigeon Forge, which was not affected as much by the fires, is much busier. But attendance still is down. We did not have the usual traffic jam on the Parkway. And the restaurant where we dined was half full, at most.
The takeaway from our visit? Go to Sevier County now! You can avoid the gridlock, and they will really appreciate you. And you’ll know you’ve done the best possible thing to help our neighbors.
All aboard! From left, Moxley Carmichael VP Scott Bird, his friend Michael Higdon, and Pam Rhoades, our digital storyteller, board the Big Love Bus on State Street in downtown Knoxville.
I think it’s fun just to look at this thing driving down the street! (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Our creative director, Charley Sexton, digs into some of the delicious hors d’oeuvres on the bus! Ha.
CFO Shaun Fulco poured the liquid refreshments.
Our writer/editor, Maria Cornelius, chose the trademark beer brand of Moxley Carmichael. One of our favorite clients is Cherokee Distributing Company, the local Miller distributor. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Moxley Carmichael graphic designer Katrina Roberts and senior web developer John McCulley on board. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Scott Bird, left, and Michael Higdon getting into the spirit. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Shaun, left, and Pam. (Photo by Charley Sexton)
Getting ready to shove off! (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Shaun still hard at “work.” Senior Account Executive Amanda Jennings is the beneficiary. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Linnie and Charley Sexton. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Interns Destinee Dowdy, left, and Lauren Parrish. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Moxley Carmichael graphic designer Jessica Ray and her husband, Greg Schell. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Amanda Jennings, left, with account executive Savanna Howie and her boyfriend, Camp Arnett. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
The wheels of the bus go round and round! (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
It had gotten dark by the time we reached Gatlinburg. The lights were beautiful. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Downtown Gatlinburg at about 6 p.m. Mostly empty sidewalks. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
We made the loop in downtown Gatlinburg and headed back to Pigeon Forge. Here’s the statue in front of Bullfish Grill, our final destination.
We happily settled in. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
There were a few other tables occupied. But, usually, this is one of the busiest times of year for Pigeon Forge.
We loved the menu at Bullfish Grill. Here’s one of the appetizers: fried mozzarella sticks with marinara.
Fried green tomatoes.
Michael passing the buffalo chicken tenders.
Linnie with the spicy shrimp appetizer.
The wine was served with frozen stainless steel cubes to keep it cold without diluting it. Great idea!
Then we had to figure out what to order for our main courses. Jessica and Greg discussing menu options. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Intern Lauren Parrish, front left with, from left, Jessica Ray, Greg Schell, Katrina Roberts, Destinee Dowdy and her guest, Kathryn Sullivan.
I ordered tuna with asparagus as my entree. It was delicious.
Lauren Miller, our director of client services, had shrimp and grits.
Here’s the salmon with mustard dill sauce and broccoli.
Amanda and Lauren chatting. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
John and Jessica posing. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Brandon and Amy Barger. Amy is Moxley Carmichael’s manager of first impressions. Great title, huh? (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Our president, Alan Carmichael, making a few remarks.
Amanda and Scott.
A toast to Moxley Carmichael and the people of Sevier County.
Dessert time! A lot of us ordered key lime pie. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Maria was among them!
Savanna and Camp went for strawberry cake.
John (getting photobombed by Jessica) had creme brulee.
Charley had some of Alan’s “Chocolate Dream.”
And some of Linnie’s creme brulee!
Time to get back on the Big Love Bus! Our account team, from left, Lauren, Savanna, Amanda and Scott. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
We passed The Island in Pigeon Forge with its big Ferris wheel on the way back. (Photo by Pam Rhoades)
Pam took this artsy shot of the Christmas lights in the bus.
Shaun snapped a pic of the beads in the back of the bus. Cool.
And we bid farewell to our colorful chariot on the streets of downtown Knoxville. It was a good night.