Chattanooga is home to a thriving hospitality industry and an increasingly diverse food scene in Chattanooga is no secret to locals and visitors alike. Chattanooga-based chefs have numerous James Beard nominations to boast, with significant investment coming from out-of-town breweries and restaurants, as well as the expansion of local offerings, such as OddStory Brewing Company and Milk & Honey. Anticipation is high for continued growth in Chattanooga’s culinary scene with the upcoming development of The Bend and other industrial growth and housing growth.
While Chattanooga can certainly turn diners into regulars easily, there has been noticeable growth in local offerings that are within the greater Chattanooga limits. Even a short drive or bike ride can provide diverse offerings in unique settings, with incredible convenience to the city. Here are a few that are just a short drive from Scenic City limits.
Cart & Seoul- Flintstone, GA
While Cart & Seoul’s name might be familiar to Chattanooga food truck aficionados, the restaurant recently parked into a brick-and-mortar location in nearby Flintstone, Georgia. Nestled next to a beautiful waterfront, restaurant goers, can enjoy lunch and dinner options that include a Korean take on Nashville hot chicken and maple-braised potatoes. The restaurant is only a short drive past St. Elmo along Highway 193, a route familiar to many cyclists and Ironman participants.
Thai Esan- East Ridge, TN
Drivers could be forgiven for passing by Thai Esan, located in a nondescript strip mall on Ringgold Road. However, those in the know have enjoyed their authentic cuisine for years. Tall glasses of sweet Thai coffee and Thai tea accompany heaping bowls of curry and noodle dishes, followed by refreshing scoops of mango sticky rice for dessert. Lunch and dinner is available.
Flora de Mel Meadery and Calliope Restaurant- Rossville, GA
Many are pegging Rossville for a renaissance, with the recent revitalization of the Chief John Ross House. Restauranteurs are taking notice, with local coffee chain BeCaffeinated recently announcing a new location to be established. While older establishments such as the Dream Cream and Darr’s Chow Time will only live in memory, other Rossville favorites like Roy’s Grill have made a resurgence alongside newcomers Flora de Mel, the area’s first meadery and Calliope Restaurant, with delectable Mediterranean dinner and brunch offerings.
Bread and Butter, Red Bank, TN
Follow the scent of fresh baked bread for a short drive down Dayton Boulevard. While available in farmers markets in Chattanooga, visitors will be glad to see both baked and prepared offerings, such as quiches, sandwiches, pies, and their famous “Breakfast Pockets”, featuring local and regional ingredients like Hoff Sauce, Main Street Meats Bacon, and Sequatchie Cove Eggs. Many of the bread offerings rotate daily and most are naturally vegan.
Café on the Corner, Lookout Mountain, TN
The old town grocery store on Lookout Mountain has given way to a cozy, romantic restaurant that begs diners near the fireplace in the winter and onto the beautiful patio during warmer months. The menu features upscale Southern favorites, such as Louisiana Wild Caught Shrimp and Beer-Battered Pickled Okra. After a fire ravaged the restaurant in 2014, owner Ruth Oehmig rebuilt with passion and even regularly hosts and events to raise funds for the town’s fire department.
The Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce has an incredible resource for locals and newcomers looking to explore all that the Scenic City has to offer called ChattanoogaCalling.com. Here you’ll find information on top dining destinations, local companies and other resources including a cost of living calculator that highlights Chattanooga’s high quality of life.
Learn more by visiting our website, here.
Read about our top ChattanoogaCalling.com features, here.
Ryan Russell is one of the Principals at Lift Media Group, a digital marketing agency in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is also a Lecturer of Marketing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in the Gary W. Rollins College of Business.