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Nine places for food, drink, and chocolate in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, or Chatt as the residents fondly call their city, is young, filled with restaurants, pubs and bars. One of the pleasures of a visit is to eat and drink your way through the city.

Bluff View Arts District

Start with the area called the Bluff View Arts District. This walkable, charming District is actually privately owned and is focused on art, and food. It offers excellent public art combined with artisan chocolate, breads, coffee roasters, pastries, and more. And, of course, some stellar restaurants.

1. For a special dinner, the Back Inn Cafe has indoor and glassed in patio dining. Try their signature Taste of Havana cocktail. Also recommended is their juicy pan seared free-range chicken breast with sweet tea glaze and cornbread pudding.

2. For casual dining and yummy pastries, Rembrandt’s Coffee House offers house roasted coffees, hand dipped chocolates and fresh baked pastries as well as sandwiches and salads.

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3. One of the first beer pubs in Chattanooga, Big River Grille & Brewing Works is housed in the historic trolley barn, but you’ll come for the food as well as the beer and the brewery tours. Their crab and artichoke dip on crostini appetizer was fabulous. Tuscan chicken pasta was a winner. For dessert – their salted caramel cheese cake was a perfect finish to a delicious dinner.

4. More upscale, the nearby Easy Bistro has transformed the 1932 original Coca-Cola bottling plant bottling plant with art deco touches. Chef Eric and Amanda Niel offer a farm to table, seasonal menu.

Chatt also has two unusual culinary treats conveniently located side by side in downtown. Think whiskey, and chocolate.

5. Tennessee Stillhouse is home to Chattanooga Whiskey -- the first distillery opened since Prohibition. Although whiskey could be sold in wet counties, it couldn’t be distilled anywhere in the state. The successful “Vote Whiskey” campaign mobilized popular sentiment and changed the law. The motto of Chattanooga Whiskey is “rules are good – change them” so be prepared for some innovative whiskey coming soon. Chattanooga Whiskey is open seven days a week with hourly tours.

6. Next door, the Hot Chocolatier is the dream that became reality for Wendy and Brandon Buckner. They make delicious and innovative hot and cold chocolate drinks including a frozen hot chocolate that they blend like a Frappuccino with milk and ice. Their S’mores hot chocolate is instant pleasure. They also offer pastries and a wide selection of specialty chocolates. They grow their own basil, mint, and lemon verbena which they incorporate into some of their unique flavor combinations. Visitors can even see the process of making their gourmet chocolate through the large windows onto their climate controlled area.

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7. For lunch with a view of downtown, head to Sugar's Ribs. Their long and slow smoked brisket and pork butt make delicious sandwiches and platters. They also serve an innovative side – delicious wood grilled okra. Their tacos made with their own tortillas, lime crema sauce, queso fresca, sweet grilled onions and their smoked meats was the best. Don’t know what to do with your leftover veggies? Feed them to the goats who wait downstairs below the patio for handouts.


8- The FEED Co. Tavern and Table combines a great tavern and family dining. Buffalo calamari is tangy crispy delicious. The French dip with smoked brisket added a wonderful element to an old classic. Don’t miss the brussel sprouts baked with maple and bacon. That may not make it the healthiest vegetable in the world, but it is certainly one of the most delicious versions of that vegetable. Enjoy their "Bluegrass Thursdays" featuring some of the best local and regional bluegrass acts around. They also feature Chattanooga Whiskey in their innovative cocktails.

9. For pure fun, the Flying Squirrel bar in the hipster southside features a long bar which is open in good weather to the outside. There’s also a patio and additional tables tucked into the back. It’ next door to the Crash Pad hostel.

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Neala McCarten

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos by the author

Published: July 10th, 2016

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