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18 Essential Restaurants in Chattanooga, Tennessee

From stacked high sandwiches and table-top ‘carousels’ of fried chicken to a restaurant incubator and bar with one-of-a-kind cocktails

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Nope — in Chattanooga, there’s neither a Graceland for Elvis enthusiasts to flock to, nor a beloved style of barbecue like Memphis boasts. And no, Mrs. Andre Prince, allegedly seeking revenge on her husband, didn’t invent her notorious hot chicken here, and there aren’t many honky-tonk or pedal tavern shenanigans to indulge in like in Nashville.

Chattanooga jigs and bops to the rhythm of its own fiddle. The city has cultivated its very own brand of eclectic, outdoorsy panache and has slowly but surely nudged its gastro-identity past Moon Pies and Little Debbie snacks.

Unfortunately, institutions like Mary’s Lounge have shuttered, so you’ve missed the pleasure of listening to Shalamar at their Wednesday steak nights. But don't fret, there are still plenty of excellent dining options around every bend of this gorgeous city, and if you ask the right local — some good, stiff moonshine too.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Whitebird

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102 Walnut St
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 269-8539
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The feeling is light and airy, easy and breezy, but the mission here is serious: Whitebird aims to elevate Appalachian cuisine from its often misunderstood ‘podunk’ status to something a little more polished and pretty. Think venison but with rosemary, labneh, and green tomato chow-chow or buttermilk fried quail with Szechuan sauce — all sourced from the Tennessee River Valley and enjoyed from tables overlooking the river.

Whitebird/Facebook

2. Easy Bistro & Bar

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801 Chestnut St
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 266-1121
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Chef Erik Niel didn't invent the charcuterie board, but he definitely made every establishment in the city step up their game. It is always special when Main Street Meat’s pâté shows up alongside manchego cheese imported from Spain, but the bistro’s secret weapon is its impeccable oyster selection that puts any raw bar to shame.

Easy Bistro/Facebook

3. Lil Mama's Chicago Style Hoagy

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818 Georgia Ave Ste 114
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 206-4505
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No, you didn't fall asleep and wake up in the intro of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, but with loud pink and green graffiti and gold thrones, that’s exactly the nostalgic swagger owner Tiffany Pauldon-Banks curated at Lil Mama’s. Undoubtedly the last thing you imagined you’d be eating in Chattanooga would be a Chicago-style hoagie, but it’s one of best things between two slices of bread in the 423.

4. Community Pie

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850 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 486-1743
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This pizzeria in Miller Plaza is essential as essential gets. Its Neapolitan style is super light with crispy, bubbly edges, as it should be. Set your mouth on fire with the ‘spicy Bianca’ topped with fresh mozzarella, ricotta Pecorino Romano, olive oil, garlic, and Calabrian chiles, then put that fire out with a scoop or two of handcrafted pistachio gelato.

Community Pie/Facebook

5. Proof Bar and Incubator

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422 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 541-6858
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As the name suggests, “Proof” is a bar; in fact, it’s a cocktail wonderland with bartenders performing alchemy on drinks made with bubble-gum-infused vodka, dill-infused gin, or house-smoked pineapple bitters. The “Incubator” is where chefs-in-resident are given the opportunity to hone their craft, so the menu can range from chef Kenyatta Ashford’s West African Red Red with coconut rice to pineapple-banana hummingbird cake by Mrs. Kendra Elmz.

6. Memo's Grill

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430 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 267-7283

This is one of the places Samuel L. Jackson would always stop to eat on trips back to his hometown. Since opening in 1966, Memo’s Grill has been a mainstay in Chattanooga’s black community. The locals will probably suggest the chopped Weiner plate or the chicken wings “fried hard.”

7. Champy's

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526 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 752-9198
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Where else can one find fresh tamales, crawfish (in season), and some of the best crispy fried chicken earth has to offer — all under one roof? Champy’s is the only answer. The aesthetics takes diners back to the back roads of the Mississippi Delta, and they even have koozies to keep that 40-ounce bottle of Miller High Life nice and chilly.

Champy’s/Facebook

8. Two Ten Jack

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Warehouse Row 1110 Market Street FC4 FC4
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 551-8799
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Deep down in the cavernous basement of Warehouse Row, there’s a Japanese-style izakaya with skewers of flame-kissed scallops (yakitori hotate) and tonkotsu ramen that can hold its own against any bowl from Newport Beach to New York City. Start things off with the takoyaki — just think of them as fancy octopus hushpuppies, served with a side of miso butter.

Always order the spicy crab garlic noodles when at TTJ
Two Ten Jack/Facebook

9. Uncle Larry's Restaurant

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736 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 757-5894
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Larry Torrence said it himself: he’s the “designated fish fryer” at his family reunions — and that should tell you everything you need to know. His first location on MLK Boulevard couldn’t handle the demand for his perfectly seasoned, breaded, and fried catfish, tilapia, and whiting, so he opened two additional locations in the city for easy fried fish access for all his fans.

Uncle Larry’s Restaurant/Facebook

10. St. John's Restaurant

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1278 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 266-4400
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St. John’s radiates sophistication. There’s a mix of moguls cutting through Flat-Iron wagyu as they finalize power moves and folk celebrating their anniversary or graduating from law school with cocktails crafted with local whiskey and creme de violette — and yourself, should you choose to get fancy, adhere to the dress code and indulge in Chattanooga’s go-to example of fine dining.

St. John’s/Facebook

11. Blue Orleans | Seafood Restaurant

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1463 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 757-0088
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Hurricane Katrina forced chef Mike to leave New Orleans, Louisiana and reach the corner of Market and Main Street in Chattanooga. Now, there are a million places outside of The Big Easy selling gator bites and shrimp po’boys, claiming it’s Creole — but this place is undoubtedly the real deal. If nothing else, be sure to order both the gumbo and crawfish etouffee.

Blue Orleans/Facebook

12. Flying Squirrel

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55 Johnson St
Chattanooga, TN 37408
(423) 602-5980
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This quirky hotspot is where techies and hipsters babble about gigabytes and kombucha. Whether you pedal up on a fixed gear bike or pull up in an Uber, come hungry for a progressive menu featuring pork belly sisig and of course, pints of craft beer (the saison from Blackberry Farms, perhaps?).

Flying Squirrel/Facebook

13. Main Street Meats

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217 E Main St
Chattanooga, TN 37408
(423) 602-9568
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James Beard award-nominated Chef Erik Niel has created a carnivore’s paradise via sandwiches packed with house-cured Coppa ham, liverwurst, and chowchow. This is Tennessee, so please dabble in Main Street Meats’ mile-long whiskey list (over 280), and don’t forget to ask the butcher for a few beautifully marbled ribeyes to bring home to show off at your next cookout. 

14. Zarzour's

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1627 Rossville Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37408
(423) 266-0424
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You know a place is something special when they list cottage cheese and peaches on the menu as “vegetable options.” At Zarzour’s, the word “old-fashioned” is an understatement, as Abraham “Charlie” Zarzour immigrated from Lebanon in 1918, and 104 years later his restaurant is still churning out its coveted cheeseburgers, chicken and dumplings, plus plenty of other greasy spoon delights.

15. Taqueria Jalisco Ania

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1639 Rossville Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37408
(423) 541-4410
Visit Website

Maria and Jose Parra came from humble beginnings, slinging tacos out of a food truck throughout the streets of the Southside. Now, Taco Jalisco Ania has the most stellar cache of mezcal, huevos ranchero for brunch, and is one of the swankiest taquerias to ever serve tostadas tinga.

16. Herman's Soul Food & Catering

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3821 Brainerd Rd
Chattanooga, TN 37411
(423) 624-5715
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Just about every Southern city has its quintessential soul food joint, and Herman’s is just that in Chattanooga. Here, the smoked ham hocks are the size of a heavyweight boxer’s fist, while the rest of the menu is filled with dishes that harken back to those Sunday dinners at your Granny’s house after church.

17. Sugar's Ribs

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2450 15th Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37494
(423) 826-1199
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Perched on a hill overlooking the city, Sugar’s Ribs has made the bold claim of having the best barbecue in Chattanooga. These slabs of ribs that purists go gaga over are wood-fired on a grill invented by the owner — and the results are a pleasant duet of crunch and tenderness. There are six different sauces to choose from here. Oh, and bring a bib.

Sugar’s Ribs/Facebook

18. Bea's Restaurant

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4500 Dodds Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37407
(423) 867-3618

In the shadows of Lookout Mountain is the down-home country cooking this part of America is famous for. Open since 1950, Bea’s is a buffet, but you don't have to leave your seat to pile that plate with third and fourth helpings. At Bea’s, there’s a lazy susan in the middle of the table — and it’s a culinary carousel of fried chicken, peach cobbler, and potato salad right in arm’s reach.

Bea’s Restaurant/Facebook

1. Whitebird

102 Walnut St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
Whitebird/Facebook

The feeling is light and airy, easy and breezy, but the mission here is serious: Whitebird aims to elevate Appalachian cuisine from its often misunderstood ‘podunk’ status to something a little more polished and pretty. Think venison but with rosemary, labneh, and green tomato chow-chow or buttermilk fried quail with Szechuan sauce — all sourced from the Tennessee River Valley and enjoyed from tables overlooking the river.

102 Walnut St
Chattanooga, TN 37403

2. Easy Bistro & Bar

801 Chestnut St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Easy Bistro/Facebook

Chef Erik Niel didn't invent the charcuterie board, but he definitely made every establishment in the city step up their game. It is always special when Main Street Meat’s pâté shows up alongside manchego cheese imported from Spain, but the bistro’s secret weapon is its impeccable oyster selection that puts any raw bar to shame.

801 Chestnut St
Chattanooga, TN 37402

3. Lil Mama's Chicago Style Hoagy

818 Georgia Ave Ste 114, Chattanooga, TN 37402

No, you didn't fall asleep and wake up in the intro of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, but with loud pink and green graffiti and gold thrones, that’s exactly the nostalgic swagger owner Tiffany Pauldon-Banks curated at Lil Mama’s. Undoubtedly the last thing you imagined you’d be eating in Chattanooga would be a Chicago-style hoagie, but it’s one of best things between two slices of bread in the 423.

818 Georgia Ave Ste 114
Chattanooga, TN 37402

4. Community Pie

850 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Community Pie/Facebook

This pizzeria in Miller Plaza is essential as essential gets. Its Neapolitan style is super light with crispy, bubbly edges, as it should be. Set your mouth on fire with the ‘spicy Bianca’ topped with fresh mozzarella, ricotta Pecorino Romano, olive oil, garlic, and Calabrian chiles, then put that fire out with a scoop or two of handcrafted pistachio gelato.

850 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402

5. Proof Bar and Incubator

422 E M L King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37403

As the name suggests, “Proof” is a bar; in fact, it’s a cocktail wonderland with bartenders performing alchemy on drinks made with bubble-gum-infused vodka, dill-infused gin, or house-smoked pineapple bitters. The “Incubator” is where chefs-in-resident are given the opportunity to hone their craft, so the menu can range from chef Kenyatta Ashford’s West African Red Red with coconut rice to pineapple-banana hummingbird cake by Mrs. Kendra Elmz.

422 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403

6. Memo's Grill

430 E M L King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37403

This is one of the places Samuel L. Jackson would always stop to eat on trips back to his hometown. Since opening in 1966, Memo’s Grill has been a mainstay in Chattanooga’s black community. The locals will probably suggest the chopped Weiner plate or the chicken wings “fried hard.”

430 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403

7. Champy's

526 E M L King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37403
Champy’s/Facebook

Where else can one find fresh tamales, crawfish (in season), and some of the best crispy fried chicken earth has to offer — all under one roof? Champy’s is the only answer. The aesthetics takes diners back to the back roads of the Mississippi Delta, and they even have koozies to keep that 40-ounce bottle of Miller High Life nice and chilly.

526 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403

8. Two Ten Jack

Warehouse Row 1110 Market Street FC4 FC4, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Always order the spicy crab garlic noodles when at TTJ
Two Ten Jack/Facebook

Deep down in the cavernous basement of Warehouse Row, there’s a Japanese-style izakaya with skewers of flame-kissed scallops (yakitori hotate) and tonkotsu ramen that can hold its own against any bowl from Newport Beach to New York City. Start things off with the takoyaki — just think of them as fancy octopus hushpuppies, served with a side of miso butter.

Warehouse Row 1110 Market Street FC4 FC4
Chattanooga, TN 37402

9. Uncle Larry's Restaurant

736 E M L King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37403
Uncle Larry’s Restaurant/Facebook

Larry Torrence said it himself: he’s the “designated fish fryer” at his family reunions — and that should tell you everything you need to know. His first location on MLK Boulevard couldn’t handle the demand for his perfectly seasoned, breaded, and fried catfish, tilapia, and whiting, so he opened two additional locations in the city for easy fried fish access for all his fans.

736 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403

10. St. John's Restaurant

1278 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
St. John’s/Facebook

St. John’s radiates sophistication. There’s a mix of moguls cutting through Flat-Iron wagyu as they finalize power moves and folk celebrating their anniversary or graduating from law school with cocktails crafted with local whiskey and creme de violette — and yourself, should you choose to get fancy, adhere to the dress code and indulge in Chattanooga’s go-to example of fine dining.

1278 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402

11. Blue Orleans | Seafood Restaurant

1463 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Blue Orleans/Facebook

Hurricane Katrina forced chef Mike to leave New Orleans, Louisiana and reach the corner of Market and Main Street in Chattanooga. Now, there are a million places outside of The Big Easy selling gator bites and shrimp po’boys, claiming it’s Creole — but this place is undoubtedly the real deal. If nothing else, be sure to order both the gumbo and crawfish etouffee.

1463 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402

12. Flying Squirrel

55 Johnson St, Chattanooga, TN 37408
Flying Squirrel/Facebook

This quirky hotspot is where techies and hipsters babble about gigabytes and kombucha. Whether you pedal up on a fixed gear bike or pull up in an Uber, come hungry for a progressive menu featuring pork belly sisig and of course, pints of craft beer (the saison from Blackberry Farms, perhaps?).

55 Johnson St
Chattanooga, TN 37408

13. Main Street Meats

217 E Main St, Chattanooga, TN 37408

James Beard award-nominated Chef Erik Niel has created a carnivore’s paradise via sandwiches packed with house-cured Coppa ham, liverwurst, and chowchow. This is Tennessee, so please dabble in Main Street Meats’ mile-long whiskey list (over 280), and don’t forget to ask the butcher for a few beautifully marbled ribeyes to bring home to show off at your next cookout. 

217 E Main St
Chattanooga, TN 37408

14. Zarzour's

1627 Rossville Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37408

You know a place is something special when they list cottage cheese and peaches on the menu as “vegetable options.” At Zarzour’s, the word “old-fashioned” is an understatement, as Abraham “Charlie” Zarzour immigrated from Lebanon in 1918, and 104 years later his restaurant is still churning out its coveted cheeseburgers, chicken and dumplings, plus plenty of other greasy spoon delights.

1627 Rossville Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37408

15. Taqueria Jalisco Ania

1639 Rossville Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37408

Maria and Jose Parra came from humble beginnings, slinging tacos out of a food truck throughout the streets of the Southside. Now, Taco Jalisco Ania has the most stellar cache of mezcal, huevos ranchero for brunch, and is one of the swankiest taquerias to ever serve tostadas tinga.

1639 Rossville Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37408

Related Maps

16. Herman's Soul Food & Catering

3821 Brainerd Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37411

Just about every Southern city has its quintessential soul food joint, and Herman’s is just that in Chattanooga. Here, the smoked ham hocks are the size of a heavyweight boxer’s fist, while the rest of the menu is filled with dishes that harken back to those Sunday dinners at your Granny’s house after church.

3821 Brainerd Rd
Chattanooga, TN 37411

17. Sugar's Ribs

2450 15th Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37494
Sugar’s Ribs/Facebook

Perched on a hill overlooking the city, Sugar’s Ribs has made the bold claim of having the best barbecue in Chattanooga. These slabs of ribs that purists go gaga over are wood-fired on a grill invented by the owner — and the results are a pleasant duet of crunch and tenderness. There are six different sauces to choose from here. Oh, and bring a bib.

2450 15th Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37494

18. Bea's Restaurant

4500 Dodds Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37407
Bea’s Restaurant/Facebook

In the shadows of Lookout Mountain is the down-home country cooking this part of America is famous for. Open since 1950, Bea’s is a buffet, but you don't have to leave your seat to pile that plate with third and fourth helpings. At Bea’s, there’s a lazy susan in the middle of the table — and it’s a culinary carousel of fried chicken, peach cobbler, and potato salad right in arm’s reach.

4500 Dodds Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37407

Related Maps