When my husband and I were dating, he made sure to tell me about all of the good places to eat in Chattanooga. I think he was a little nervous because he really wanted me to like the city and I was coming from a place where the food scene was top rated and had been the #1 food city in America in 2012. I have been pleasantly surprised by Chattanooga and the growing food scene over the past six years. Our opportunities for dates have needed to be flexible because of the kids, so we don’t always get a night out, but instead a morning or evening tea outing.
Our list of favorites is ever-expanding, but here are a few that we’ve come to enjoy:
Han-Mi: Located on Broad Street across from Wendy’s, this is a hole-in-the-wall you didn’t know you needed to frequent. The menu isn’t extensive but what they offer is delicious and you can’t go wrong with anything on it. It doesn’t have a lot of seating but it’s perfect for a quick lunch or casual date night. Their fried dumplings are our appetizer of choice and the ramen soup will warm your bones on a chilly day. If you’re not a spicy food person, make sure to ask your server about the spice levels.
Alleia: If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would walk right past their building. Serving up rustic Italian cuisine, everything we’ve had has been delicious. Their bacon wrapped dates and ricotta bruschetta with ruffle honey are our go-to appetizers. The atmosphere is dark and cozy, but can be a little loud at times. This doesn’t have to be a place for an expensive date either — order a pizza to share and voilà!
Neutral Ground: We were only able to visit this establishment just before they left Proof Bar & Incubator and you can bet that once they open their brick and mortar location next year, we will be there for all they have to offer. We ordered the Smoked Brisket Meatball Yakamein and Catfish with polenta, they were AMAZING! The brisket meatballs were so tender they fell apart from me barely touching them and the catfish was perfect, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t eat a lot of seafood.
Bluegrass Grill: My first time here was for brunch with my dad and it did not disappoint. I LOVE breakfast food and am picky about my home fries (I’ve had some bad ones), but Bluegrass Grill was on-point.
Slick’s Burgers: I fell in love with Slick’s on my first visit. Their menu is very customizable: you pick your meat, size, and toppings from their already crafted combinations or individual topping list. Their fig, goat cheese and balsamic reduction burger is my favorite by far, along with their skinny fries. Make sure to get the fries lightly salted unless you like a lot of salt. They were overly salted on my first visit, which I did not like. It can get noisy especially on live music nights so if you’re looking for a place to talk a lot on date nights, this may not be the place for you.
I was very excited when Community Pie opened because I love thin crust pizza with the perfect amount of toppings. There have been a few times where I’ve wished they had put more toppings, but that hasn’t deterred us from them. There are plenty of pizza flavors to choose from to make everyone happy and if you don’t want pizza, you can order pasta. If you want a little competition on your date night, head to Goodfella’s for pizza and their arcade room. Tuesdays are double token days. For a cozier atmosphere, take a seat downstairs in their Wiseguy Lounge and step back in time to the roaring twenties.
Frothy Monkey: We’ve come here for an evening tea when the twins were little and we needed a little time together before bed. It’s in the perfect location to walk or sit, and chat while sipping your favorite beverage and maybe munch on a charcuterie board or dessert. Their PMP sandwich is my favorite and their bagel breakfast sandwich hits the spot.
If we are looking to grab a sandwich and spend time in the park on a date or family time, we like sandwiches from River Street Deli and Lil Mama’s Chicago Style Hoagy. The meat at Lil Mama’s is sliced to the perfect shredded thinness that I love to layer on sandwiches with shredded lettuce to match.
There are still so many places we have yet to try and so many new ones constantly being added. Some of the places on our list are Opa, Bollywood Tacos, Wooden City, Calliope, Amada, El BBQ Mexique, Lookout Mountain Pizza Company, Top of the Rock Restaurant and Brewery, and The Daily Ration. I look forward to seeing a dessert bar in Chattanooga one day.