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Jun 30, 2008 06:37 PM

Where to eat downtown Chattanooga..local style?

I am going to Chattanooga in August with family. We are staying downtown near the river and would like to eat at some good places. Any suggestions. We are food lovers and like local and eclectic and not touristy or chain food! THANKS!!

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  1. The Mount Vernon Restaurant, about a mile south of down town on the main road down to Lookout Mountain.
    It's an institution (in a good way) and has good food (I've eaten there every five years or so since 1975). I early on discovered their sweet celery salad dressing and have shared that discovery with many friends.

    4 Replies
    1. re: shallots

      Mt. Vernon is gross. The food is frozen and basic. Years ago it was the only non-fastfood "upscale" restaurant in Chattanooga, and it's currently only popular with an aging demographic that also vacations in Pigeon Forge & Branson, Missouri.

      Best restaurants in town are easily St. John's & The Meeting Place. St. John's is the more expensive (and formal) of the two. Fantastic food (much of it local), great service, great ambiance. Easy Bistro downtown across from the aquarium between Mellow Mushroom & Ben & Jerry's is a close third.

      Cheaper more relaxed fare can be found at Mojo Burrito & Lupis. If you take the electric shuttle to the Choo Choo, walk a block around the corner either way on Main Street, you can find great Sushi from Hiroshi's, or excellent breakfast from Bluegrass Grill (again, fresh local food). A half block past Bluegrass Grill is Niedlovs, a bakery that serves great sandwiches, but it's their bread that will change your life.

      1. re: josiahq

        thanks!! that was the response I wanted. If you ever travel to Charleston I'll tell you where to eat.

        1. re: josiahq

          Is Hiroshi's still there? It appears as closed on ylp. What is your opinion of Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar?

          1. re: gki

            Sadly Hiroshi's is closed and there was much nashing of teeth and wailing in the food universe :( (Please come back Hiroshi...PLEASE!!!!)

            Mt Vernon was once a very decent place, and sometimes I dunno I still like it for the memories....but...yeah....not really up very high on the list anymore. Mr Irvine should make this his next stop. I think it COULD be saved.....but doubting it.

      2. I agree with Mount Vernon, and you may also want to check out The Blue Plate (close to where you're staying), Southern Star (Get there by 11:30 or you'll wait a very long time for a table), Main & Mocha for a light lunch, or Hiroshi's if you like Japanese Food. Chattanooga is full of great locally-owned restaurants!

        2 Replies
        1. re: jenniferGA

          Thanks for the input!!! Any suggestions for dinner?? Mount Vernon the best? Years ago we ate at the Loft. Is it stil there and good?

          1. re: charlestonrealtor

            The Loft closed several years ago. Mt. Vernon is just Waffle House with tablecloths.

        2. For a wide range of food at any meal time try the 24 hour City Cafe - located at the Days Inn downtown. Bring your appetite and save room for the cakes shown as you walk in - you won't believe it. Steady crowd day or night, not much atmosphere, but good food at a reasonable price.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Grey00

            I second the City Cafe. While a diner attached to a downscale Days Inn doesn't sound like a great dining choice, the food here is really, really good. We especially like the Greek items on the menu -- the spanakopita is outstanding. Haven't tried the cakes but they're fantastic creations to ogle as they rotate in the display case.

          2. I added this to the Chattarati blog and a couple of suggestions were added...some of the same folks came here to comment.

            fyi: Mt.Vernon is better than suggested.

            1. We've linked to this from and some additional suggestions came up...some from the same people.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mkelley

                thanks for the link...very interesting, besides the Chili's and Olive Garden rec.