Help with Chattanooga
My Fellow Chowhounds:
I'll be in Chattanooga the beginning of October 2007 for a conference at the downtown convention center. I'll have a car, and I'll be most likely with other out-of-towners looking for good eating. It can be from expensive ine dining, to TN's version of al fresco, to local Barbecue; from foreign to Southern cuisine. We had our conference in Chattanooga and just tried places near the convention center -- without much luck.
I'd be mighty obliged for y'all's help.
For lunch, you absolutely cannot miss at Caffeine. Soups, sandwiches and casseroles are the menu staples, but don't be fooled: the tastes are big. So is the beverage menu, which includes a few soft drinks and beers that can't be had at any other place in town. And, it's right downtown, on MLKing, across the street from Bessie Smith Music Hall. My favorite menu items are the pear salad and the B.L.A.S.T., a BLT with avocado and shrimp. If you visit here you absolutely must have a salad. The house dressing (the only dressing) is out of this world; I'm told that Blackie, the chef, doesn't even share the recipe with his kitchen staff, who, no doubt, could sell his secret family recipe for piles and piles of cash.
And, if anybody wants to order in, the only place for pizza is Piza Pizza. Located behind Standard Ink - a tattoo and piercing studio, - right off Frazier Avenue and spitting distance from Coolidge Park, Piza Pizza offers the very best house specialty pizzas I've ever eaten...anywhere...in seven states. And, as a recent college grad, my experience with pizzas has been - I promise you - tremendous. Plus, if you're really picky, they'll make a pie exactly to your specifications; I think they have something like 50 toppings to choose from, white or wheat crust and three different sauces. Yum!
Bea's is a quaint little family place on Dodds Avenue. The food is good, but it's the atmosphere that really sells it. For eight dollars and change you get all you can eat and drink of fried chicken, ham, potatoes, greens, beans, cornbread, tea and the like, presented before you and your table mates on a giant lazy susan. I've never heard of another place quite like it, and that's reason enough to venture out there.
If you want more upscale (read, "full service and nice linens") Southern dining, you ought to try Mt. Vernon Restaurant. The menu is full of tasty twists on old Southern classics. I treated myself there once and fell in love with their fried green tomatoes. They were the only ones I've ever tasted that rivaled my grandmother's. (And, where I come from that kind of compliment is tantamount to saying the angels themselves must have had a hand in making them.) You can read the menu online at http://www.mymtvernon.com/pages/menu....
We're been in Chattanooga the last two falls for the Head of the Hooch regatta. And a large group of us go to Tony's Pasta Shop over on the other side of the Aquarium. Good pasta and seafood. They only serve Italian wines and will let you taste any one of them on their menu. A bit warehousey in decor but friendly service, reasonable prices and accomodating for large groups.
A month ago today, we discovered an enjoyable lunch spot in downtown Chattanooga. We ate at Mykonos Greek Grill, 11 W 8th. I had a gyro (beef & lamb) and my wife had a combination (beef & chicken) for $5.25 each and a couple of drinks for $1.10 each. Service was a little confused - customers were not served sequentially - but the food was very tasty. We will be back.
I'll try to list several good places downtown or near downtown.
St John's- the best fine dining in town. Pretty formal, good wine list. The chef uses mostly local ingredients. The Kobe beef is excellent
The Meeting Room - next door to St John's and also owned by the same people. More casual. Excellent apps. kobe beef burger is a good deal for $12
Blue Water- Owned by the Gordon Biersch(sp?) group. Fresh seafood flown in. I like the jerk swordfish
Southern Star has great southern food and desserts. They are not open on weekends
For BBQ, President Bush ate at Porker's. I've never been
Let me know what you like, and I'll tell you what I know!
We're in Chattanooga often, and have had great meals at the Boathouse, which overlooks the river and the riverwalk. Everything we've ever had there is yummy - especially the fire-grilled oysters, if you're a fan. They have lots of meat/poultry offerings as well as the seafood choices. Much more casual than fine dining, but very enjoyable.