Chattanooga serves up some savory Southern cuisine

Fri. October 27, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

People in the South show love with the comfort food they provide to others. That is quite apparent when visiting Chattanooga, Tennessee and exploring the region's culinary landscape.

There are many tempting places to try for the first meal of the day right there in River City. Aretha Frankenstein, 518 Tremont Street, is tucked away in a quiet, cozy neighborhood with a peaceful exterior, but the interior is simply a different story that contains a loud, rocking brunch hotspot. The retro decor is a feast for the eyes and the massive pancakes are a banquet for the belly.

Niedlov's Bakery & Cafe, 215 East Main Street, has a completely different atmosphere with more of a grab-and-go kind of attitude. Order at the front counter and then good luck finding a seat after depending on the time of day. Socialize at the large communal table or visit the patio to find more space in this popular Southside district breakfast spot.

Welcoming all sexual orientations at Sleepyhead could be the best part of waking up. Although the place is small and narrow in layout, a separate sitting area lies just outside the room where the food is prepared.

Tony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria is the place to be seen at lunchtime and is located right in the heart of the Bluff View Art District at 212 High Street. While some may create their own pasta from choices on the menu, the real hidden gem is the chicken tetrazzini made from thick rigatoni pasta and bathed in Alfredo sauce and gooey, mozzarella cheese.

Vegan restaurant Cashew, 149 River Street, was also a standout for the second meal of the day. The Jackfruit BBQ Nachos are incredibly filling, but if you can save a little room to choose from the glass case full of desserts made fresh each day.

Cashew is just steps from several unique retail stores and the nearby Coolidge Park on the North Shore area of town.

Located in Warehouse Row at 1110 Market Street, Public House Chattanooga rolls out refined Southern fare such as deviled eggs with candied bacon and a memorable grilled pork tenderloin.

For dinner don't sleep on Hello Monty, 306 West Main Street, right on the tourism strip. The Springer Mountain Farm's half chicken is a must-try item and accompanies that main with a side of fried Brussels sprouts to complete the experience.

The braised brisket at the sleek and modern Wooden City, 203 Broad Street, needed more of the addicting grits on the side, but the crispy french fries made up for it.

The swanky Italian restaurant Alleia offers an open kitchen and cozy atmosphere with roomy booths and moody lighting. James Beard Foundation nominated chef Daniel Lindley originally hails from Illinois and takes pride in his incredible wood-fired pork shoulder with good reason because he's also the owner.

Southern American food originally evolved from Native American, European and West African cultures over time. This is reflected in many of the dishes offered in the southeastern part of Tennessee.

Portions are usually large and the mix of ingredients used can sometimes be overwhelming. Pace yourself and ask your server for suggestions. One told me that leftover gravy is used in the macaroni, which explains the heavy feeling after consuming it.

The challenge is not over-ordering items from the menu and attempting to save room for dessert along the way.

Chattown will give customers something savory to chew on that they won't soon forget!