Thrillist Names Chattanooga Among 15 Cities That Secretly Have Great Food Scenes

Well, it looks like has gone and spilled the beans on a secret that all of us already knew, Chattanooga is a great dining town! In their recent list of “15 American Cities That Secretly Have Great Food Scenes,” they named the ‘Noog as one of their sleeper picks for a culinary vacation.  

Travel writer Tim Ebner recognized Chattanooga’s easy access to outdoor activities, elevated standard of living at affordable prices and especially the restaurant scene. Ebner pointed to the food truck farm at Chattanooga Market and its veritable smorgasbord of casual and inexpensive ethnic food choices as well as the fried chicken at Champy’s (really?) and the catfish at Uncle Larry’s (solid choice.)  

For more upscale dining, Thrillist points visitors toward Daniel Lindley’s Alleia for rustic Italian fare and newcomer Whitebird at the foot of the picturesque Walnut Street Bridge where chef Kevin Korman offers a New Southern Cuisine menu of dishes created with ingredients sourced almost exclusively from the Tennessee River Valley. The author explicitly calls out Korman’s signature “Whitebird” roasted chicken with a honey and tea lacquer, so yeah, get that! 

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Thrillist reserves their most effusive praise for James Beard semifinalist Erik Niel and his two Chattanooga establishments Main Street Meats and Easy Bistro & Bar. The former is a working butcher shop serving exceptional charcuterie plates of meats and cheeses plus soups, salads, sandwiches and some outstanding plates of butchers’ steak selections. At Easy Bistro, the menu is more extensive ranging from a decadent weekend brunch to everyday dinner featuring a range of culinary genres that demonstrate chef Niel’s facility with all sorts of techniques and ingredients. From simple appetizers of oysters, cheese and cured meats to small plates featuring exotic preparations of heirloom vegetables to pasta to steaks, Easy Bistro has something for everyone. In fact, so does Chattanooga, so make plans to eat your way through The River City sometime soon!

Heather Sinyard