With various attractions and our lodgings in Chattanooga covered in previous posts, all that’s left to share is our dining experience. I would have skipped it, but we really lucked out – each meal was better than the last!
|An old art deco restaurant across from the Chattanooga Choo Choo|
For inspiration and suggestions I have to thank Grant and Marie from the blog Marie, Let’s Eat!, who although based out of Atlanta, seem to have a firm handle on the current dining scene in Chattanooga. I used this interactive map to get started, and although our choices were partly luck of the draw as far as where our hotel was located/which attractions we visited, I relied heavily on Grant’s reviews.
|Enjoying lunch at Mojo Burrito|
After our Ruby Falls visit on the first day, we came down from Lookout Mountain to Mojo Burrito. One of three locations in Chattanooga, the chain was established in 2002 and serves up farm fresh Tex-Mex. We built our own burritos, polished them off, tried a quesadilla off the kids menu, ordered more chips and guacamole because mom should never have picked a quesadilla for a boy who needs to see what's inside his food, and finally thoroughly enjoyed the beers that were ordered as an afterthought. The atmosphere was hopping, and although grabbing a table for a large party was sort of complicated during the lunch rush, the food was good, filling and reasonably priced. I definitely recommend the St. Elmo location as a lunch stop if you’re on the west side, and as it’s conveniently located across the street from the incline railway station, you can eat before your ride up Lookout Mountain.
For dinner we walked across the street from our hotel The Chattanooga Choo Choo to The Terminal BrewHouse. The history of the building is closely tied to that of the train station, as the Stong building was built in 1910 as a hotel and café catering to the travelers arriving and departing by rail. Legend has it that over the years the building housed a speakeasy, an illegal casino, and even a house of ill repute. Chester Davis (a porter at the train station) purchased the building in the 1940s, becoming one of the first black business owners in Chattanooga. Sold again and restored in 2006, the building now houses The Terminal BrewHouse.
|The brewery, the bar, the kitchen - action!!!|
We were seated upstairs, in almost the very narrowest part of the building (which is in the shape of a wedge). The service was great, complete with excellent recommendations on dishes and accompanying beer. We tried over half of the beers brewed right there on site, and although I definitely liked the IPA, you should try the various brews and seasonals yourself; they’ve got a good variety, so chances are you’ll find one you can drink. I like that they are a locally-minded company, sourcing, selling and building a community on the south side. They’ve also got the green thing going – a green roof, a cistern, waterless urinals… Go ahead, take a look at their menu, their beer list, their homepage – next you’ll be putting this Chattanooga hot spot on your short list of restaurants to visit.
For breakfast the next morning we took a little longer of a walk, swinging west on Main Street to reach the Mean Mug Coffeehouse. Mean Mug has been on location since 2011, serving locally roasted Velo coffee and artisan pastries made in-house. Every table in the cafe was full so we hopped up on seats at the bar, and before long we had coffee and enormous breakfast plates in front of us. Between the seven of us we tried an assortment of items on the menu: the breakfast plate, the egg & avocado toast, the hoff & vegan sandwich (chickpea salad with Hoff sauce, spring mix, carrot, red cabbage and sprouts on wheat bread), the quiche of the day, the biscuits, and finally a scone from the bakery case.
It was all fresh. Delicious. Affordable. We should have ordered additional sandwiches to take with us for lunch, but then we never would have found our lunch spot...
Rembrandt’s Coffee House in the Bluff View Art District is just a hop and a skip away from the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Walnut Street Bridge. A coffee shop serving up traditional French pastries and hand-dipped chocolates, we ordered from their lunch menu of sandwiches, paninis and salads. The day was warm enough that we could enjoy the garden terrace seating, and once again it was tempting to order an entire second lunch to eat later.
The Bluff View Art District is a charming little neighborhood; complete with a bakery, art gallery, bed & breakfast and several restaurants, it also has gardens, plazas and courtyards to explore and enjoy. With more great views of the Tennessee River from the Paver Gallery Sculpture Garden, it was really tempting to put off our departure for Greenville another couple of hours - but it just wasn’t meant to be. With three rather tired children (and two tired sets of parents/grandparents!) we loaded up the car and headed east - into the mountains and into the evening.