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Drone aerial view of Downtown Chattanooga Tennessee and the Tennessee River at sunset
A view of Downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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20 Essential Bars and Restaurants in Chattanooga, Tennessee

From stacked high sandwiches and carousels of fried chicken to quirky cocktail dens and iconic pubs

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A view of Downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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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. There are now plenty of excellent dining options around every bend of this gorgeous city, from quirky cocktail dens to classic meat-and-threes, and if you ask the right local — some good, stiff moonshine too.

If you’re looking for more restaurants worth leaving Nashville for, here are 18 within driving distance.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. 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 patio seating.
Easy Bistro

2. Pickle Barrel

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1012 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 266-1103
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Pickle Barrel is arguably Chattanooga’s most iconic pub, located in a historic flatiron building smack in the middle of City Center. Despite the dive bar vibe, don’t overlook the food — it’s extremely solid. With surprisingly clean bathrooms and a great people-watching roof deck, not much has changed here over the years except for it becoming non-smoking, and that’s a good thing.

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3. 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.

Inside Community Pie.
Community Pie

4. Two Ten Jack

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Warehouse Row 1110 Market Street FC4 FC4
Chattanooga, TN 37402
(423) 551-8799
Visit Website

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.

5. 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.

6. 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 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.

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7. 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.

8. 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.

Inside Whitebird.
Whitebird

9. 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.

Shutterstock

10. Main Street Meats

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217 E Main St
Chattanooga, TN 37408
(423) 602-9568
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In 2013, James Beard award-nominated chef Erik Niel 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. 

11. Flying Squirrel

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55 Johnson St
Chattanooga, TN 37408
(423) 602-5980
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This quirky hotspot in Chattanooga’s Southside neighborhood is where techies and hipsters have babbled about gigabytes and kombucha for close to a decade now. 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 Wild Heaven, perhaps?).

12. Taqueria Jalisco Ania

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

Maria and Jose Parra started out in 2005 slinging tacos out of a food truck throughout the streets of the Southside. Now, their chic storefront 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.

13. Proof Bar and Incubator

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422 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 541-6858
Visit Website

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. Desserts are always a standout.

14. 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.”

15. 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.

16. Uncle Larry's Restaurant

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736 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403
(423) 757-5894
Visit Website

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.

17. The Rosecomb

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921 Barton Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37405
(423) 541-9314
Visit Website

Newcomer the Rosecomb is already a favorite for modern versions of Southern cookout favorites like pimiento cheese and fried catfish, and even more centrally, excellent cocktails. Set in a 1920’s cottage in the historic Riverview neighborhood, the vibe is intimate and homey, with walls and surfaces dotted with antique, quirky touches. Outside, it feels more like a friend’s summer backyard party than a restaurant, in a good way. It’s 21+ only, even at Sunday brunch.

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

19. Sugar's Ribs

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2450 15th Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37494
(423) 826-1199
Visit Website

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.

20. Herman's Soul Food & Catering

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3821 Brainerd Rd
Chattanooga, TN 37411
(423) 624-5715
Visit Website

Just about every Southern city has its quintessential soul food spot, 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.

1. Easy Bistro & Bar

801 Chestnut St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Easy Bistro patio seating.
Easy Bistro

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

2. Pickle Barrel

1012 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Shutterstock

Pickle Barrel is arguably Chattanooga’s most iconic pub, located in a historic flatiron building smack in the middle of City Center. Despite the dive bar vibe, don’t overlook the food — it’s extremely solid. With surprisingly clean bathrooms and a great people-watching roof deck, not much has changed here over the years except for it becoming non-smoking, and that’s a good thing.

1012 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402

3. Community Pie

850 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Inside Community Pie.
Community Pie

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

4. Two Ten Jack

Warehouse Row 1110 Market Street FC4 FC4, Chattanooga, TN 37402

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

5. 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

6. Blue Orleans | Seafood Restaurant

1463 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402
Shutterstock

Hurricane Katrina forced chef Mike to leave New Orleans 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

7. St. John's Restaurant

1278 Market St, Chattanooga, TN 37402

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

8. Whitebird

102 Walnut St, Chattanooga, TN 37403
Inside Whitebird.
Whitebird

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

9. Zarzour's

1627 Rossville Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37408
Shutterstock

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

10. Main Street Meats

217 E Main St, Chattanooga, TN 37408

In 2013, James Beard award-nominated chef Erik Niel 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

11. Flying Squirrel

55 Johnson St, Chattanooga, TN 37408

This quirky hotspot in Chattanooga’s Southside neighborhood is where techies and hipsters have babbled about gigabytes and kombucha for close to a decade now. 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 Wild Heaven, perhaps?).

55 Johnson St
Chattanooga, TN 37408

12. Taqueria Jalisco Ania

1639 Rossville Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37408

Maria and Jose Parra started out in 2005 slinging tacos out of a food truck throughout the streets of the Southside. Now, their chic storefront 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

13. 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. Desserts are always a standout.

422 E M L King Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37403

14. 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

15. Champy's

526 E M L King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37403

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

Related Maps

16. Uncle Larry's Restaurant

736 E M L King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37403

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

17. The Rosecomb

921 Barton Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37405

Newcomer the Rosecomb is already a favorite for modern versions of Southern cookout favorites like pimiento cheese and fried catfish, and even more centrally, excellent cocktails. Set in a 1920’s cottage in the historic Riverview neighborhood, the vibe is intimate and homey, with walls and surfaces dotted with antique, quirky touches. Outside, it feels more like a friend’s summer backyard party than a restaurant, in a good way. It’s 21+ only, even at Sunday brunch.

921 Barton Ave
Chattanooga, TN 37405

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

19. Sugar's Ribs

2450 15th Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37494

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

20. Herman's Soul Food & Catering

3821 Brainerd Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37411

Just about every Southern city has its quintessential soul food spot, 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

Related Maps