43 Restaurants in Chattanooga Where Locals Eat and Drink
Where to eat in Chattanooga, Tennessee... I'll be honest, this guide took me a little while to put together because there's so much good food in Chattanooga for being a relatively small town. Not to mention there's a new restaurant or bar opening up just about every week!
I was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and I’ve loved this town since before it was “cool” to love this town. While I moved away for college, my love for the Scenic City has never diminished.
Now, 10 years later I’m back. After 2 years in Seattle and 2 years of full time travel, we moved back to Chattanooga in 2020 ready to put down roots.
While we know this city well, it’s changed so much in our absence with new places to try and explore all the time. With so many great local restaurants, bars, and cafes to eat at, I had a tough time narrowing my list of places to eat in Chattanooga to just 43.
So if you're looking for places to eat in Chattanooga, Tennessee, we've got you covered, so keep reading.
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Well, Chattanooga is in the deep south so you can expect some delicious southern food including fried chicken, grits, biscuits, and more. But amazing southern restaurants aren’t the only restaurants Chattanooga has to offer! Chattanooga has some incredible chefs who are using Chattanooga as their audience to serve up unique and delicious food in a low-key, friendly environment.
I'm not one to push a lot of change in small cities because oftentimes too much change ends up creating a new city unrecognizable from what it used to be. When it comes to food in Chattanooga, change has been a good thing. The reinvention of Chattanooga that has taken place over the last few decades has made space for both locals and transplants alike to share their love of new foods with the city.
If you had visited Chattanooga a decade ago, you would have struggled to find varied food options. Today more and more people are opening original restaurants featuring foods from around the world, new spins on southern favorites, and even a health restaurant or two has popped up. For years the city was mostly burgers, bbq, and biscuits, but those days are gone.
For my healthy eaters: as someone who loves a good biscuit, I do prefer to lean more on the healthy side of eating, too. While Chattanooga still won't offer the kind of healthy eateries you'd find on the west coast or in major cities, there are more healthy options today than there were in years past. I'd say that health food is still the most lacking category here, so if you're visiting for Ironman Chattanooga or are someone who carefully calculates what food they put into their body, booking an Airbnb in Chattanooga with a full kitchen would be a good option for you. There are two Whole Foods in town for you to create your own food at home if that's more your speed. I don't want to make it sound like there aren't any healthy restaurants in town, but coming off of two years living in Seattle, being in Chattanooga definitely makes me miss the number of healthy options.
Chances are you're visiting Chattanooga on vacation and healthy eating might not be high on your priority list. If that's you, keep reading because there are lots of places on to eat in Chattanooga that are well worth the splurge!
For being a relatively small town, Chattanooga has a thriving coffee scene with several strong, quality coffee shops in the city. When you're in Chattanooga, you're never far from a good caffeine fix!
Our absolute favorite coffee in Chattanooga (and one of our favorite coffee shops in America)! Goodman prides themself of farm relations and quality sourced beans that are roasted in house at their St. Elmo location. With two locations in town you’re never far from a quality cup of coffee (or tea!).
*Both Goodman locations are closed on Sunday.
Address (St. Elmo): 3913 St Elmo Ave Suite B, Chattanooga | Google Maps Address (Warehouse Row): 1110 Market St, Chattanooga | Google Maps
This cozy coffee shop is the perfect place to grab a delicious pastry (I recommend the cinnamon roll) or hide out in the corner and get some work done. Both of their Chattanooga locations are wonderful for hunkering down over a laptop or enjoying a good conversation with friends.
Address (Northshore): 205 Manufacturers Rd Suite 109, Chattanooga | Google Maps Address (Southside): 114 W Main St, Chattanooga | Google Maps
Velo offers quality coffee locally roasted in Chattanooga's Main Street area. If I'm being fully honest, Velo has always seemed a bit pretentious to me (for no real reason) so it's not usually my first recommendation to visitors. While their coffee is good, it's not the best in town and the atmosphere and employees are far from welcoming. I don't want to hate on Velo because it's many people's favorite coffee in town. I would recommend their cold brew if you find yourself strolling Main Street on a Sunday afternoon though! J
Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Frothy Monkey's Chattanooga location is located in the beautiful, historic train station. Frothy Monkey doesn't just serve coffee and espresso drinks, they also serve food, beer, and wine. This location is located inside the Chattanooga Choo Choo and is a treat to visit.
Located next to the beautiful, historic Tivoli Theater, Sleepyhead Coffee is our top coffee shop recommendation in Chattanooga for vegans.
Address: 735 Broad St Suite 104, Chattanooga | Google Maps
Breakfast restaurants in Chattanooga
Ah, breakfast. My love for a good breakfast rivals that of Ron Swanson (Parks and Recreation TV show reference). Nine times out of ten if we have plans to meet up with friends on the weekend I'll recommend breakfast or brunch rather than dinner and drinks. Maybe it's the laidback feeling of grabbing breakfast vs. dinner, or maybe it's because I really love an excuse to eat bacon. No matter the reason, breakfast is my favorite and there are my favorite spots to enjoy breakfast in Chattanooga.
Hands down, Neidlov's serves up the most delicious baked goods in Chattanooga. This cozy shop is complete with the smell of fresh baked bread from the second you walk in the door, to a patio with a fire pit to keep you warm even on cold days. Neidlov's serves Onyx Coffee and is open for both breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday.
This family run restaurant is our top recommendation for grabbing the best homemade southern cooking in town. The prices are incredibly reasonable and the setting is relaxed and homey. Bluegrass Grill is open for breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday.
Note: Arrive early! This place gets busy with locals and tourists. Address: 55 E Main St, Chattanooga | Google Maps
Aretha Frankenstein’s is home to the thickest, most delicious pancakes on earth. Each pancake is almost an inch thick (I’m not even kidding). This place might be the only place I’ve been where you can wash your pancakes and biscuits down with beer. Aretha's is all about quirky from their decor to the beer/breakfast combo.
Note: Most of Aretha Frankenstein’s seating is outside but on the cooler days they have heaters out to keep you cozy and warm. Address: 518 Tremont St, Chattanooga | Google Maps
Local juice shop serving juice, smoothies, acaí bowls, and small bites. If you're hanging around the Main Street area, this is our top recommendation for grabbing a healthy meal or snack. It's pretty common for me to want to stop by and grab a smoothie bowl after a hot summer run on Chattanooga's Riverwalk.
The brunch trend made its way to Chattanooga several years ago and since then several solid local favorites have popped up in the downtown area. Keep in mind that many of the places listed under breakfast spots are also open for brunch giving you more options.
You'll see the Bitter Alibi located under lunch and dinner, but I wanted to mention their weekend brunch, too. The brunch menu here is a fun mix of a little bit of everything from southern favorites to a splash of Korean. Brunch is offered on Saturday beginning at 12:00 pm and on Sunday beginning at 10:00 am.
The Flying Squirrel offers delicious brunch foods + cocktails in an airy, fun, unique space in Chattanooga’s popular Southside Historic District. While the food is wonderful, the space is the real winner and has been named one of the best designed bars in the country. The Flying Squirrel is conveniently located right between popular Main Street and the Chattanooga Choo Choo.
Solid brunch option in Chattanooga’s Northshore neighborhood. This place is a little more tucked away and is mostly visited by locals. If you're looking for a quiet spot on a Sunday morning to sip a latte and get a filling breakfast before a big day of exploring, this is the spot. The Daily Ration is located in an old fuel station and features a large patio and plenty of inside seating as well.
A newer restaurant on the scene but quickly establishing itself as a great place to grab a comforting breakfast/brunch/lunch meal in a fun, bright space. Kenny's is located close to many of Chattanooga's popular sites and near several hotels.
One thing I love about Chattanooga is the general casualness to the city. There are a few restaurants on here that I'd suggest dressing up for a bit more than jeans, but most of them are laidback and low-key. While I love getting dressed up to go out, when I'm on vacation, typically I don't want to have to worry about running back to the hotel to change for lunch or dinner. I love a good restaurant that gives me good food and a relaxing place to hangout. Bonus points when the restaurant offers a good patio for our dog, Kramer!
If you're looking for something totally different than anywhere else I'm about to list for lunch and dinner in Chattanooga, Calliope if the best restaurant choice for you! While this is a new-ish restaurant to the Chattanooga food scene, they've quickly established a name and a reputation for themselves. Serving up Levantine cuisine in a beautiful two story building, Chef Khaled AlBanna pulls from his roots and childhood where he was born in Jordan and raised in Cairo, Egypt eating many variations of the food he now serves in his Chattanooga restaurant. If you're like us and loving tasting food from around the world, Calliope should be at the top of your list for date night or for a nice dinner with friends or family.
Our recommendations to eat: Whipped Feta, Falafel, Local Mushrooms, Lamb Neck, and Braised Brussels.
Our recommendations to drink: Tree of Life and Sage Advice
Note: Many dishes come with pine nuts which is an issue for us since Chris is allergic to all sorts of nuts. Our waitress, Maddie, was great about ensuring nuts were left out of the appropriate dish for his severe allergies. Not all restaurants will do this so we were extremely happy that they accommodated this!
Address: 422 E M L King Blvd, Chattanooga, TN 37403 | Google Maps
The Bitter Alibi has become a staple for Chattanoogans who want a casual night out and a good beer. Located in an old house, this bar and restaurant serve dinner daily beginning at 4:00 pm. The menu is a fun mix of a little bit of everything from southern favorites to a splash of Korean. They also serve fun brunches on Saturday (beginning at 12:00 pm) and Sunday (beginning at 10:00 am).
Taco Jalisco is the best place in town to get authentic tacos. Bonus: the space is beautiful and perfect for all of those Instagram worthy pictures. Every time I've been to Taqueria Jalisco the scene has been lively and the service wonderful. I feel like this place is often overlooked though due to its location just off Main Street. If you're in the mood for Mexican food, this is the place.
There's hardly a food that's more Tennessan than fried chicken. Champy's is a Chattanooga favorite amongst locals and visitors alike for its fried chicken, lots of beer options, and fun environment. Many a celebrity has stopped through to enjoy Champy's famous fried chicken while in the area, most recently Morgan Freeman.
This has been a popular and fun spot for brunch, lunch, and dinner the last few years. With both indoor seating and a large patio, it's the perfect place to enjoy on one of Chattanooga's many warm days. Food options includes American fare cooked in a wood fired oven as well as a full bar. This is our best recommendation for larger groups who are visiting Chattanooga together. Bonus: their patio is dog friendly so if you're traveling with your dog, he/she is welcome here!
Originally from the Seattle, Washington area, Wooden City opened its third location, and first out of the state of Washington, right here in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Featuring refined American comfort cuisine in a beautiful building featuring full bar and wood-fired pizza oven as centerpieces in the space, this is the perfect group dinner or date night spot.
Craving a good steak or want to try the best burger in Chattanooga? Main Street is the place to go! This spot is ½ restaurant + bar and ½ meat market and the space is casual but refined making it the perfect stop anytime, any day.
Looking for something outside the southern comfort food genre? Give Cuban food a try! This restaurant is located in Chattanooga's Northshore district and offers good food in with casual indoor and outdoor eating space.
Food Works is located in a really cool old restored mill building that features exposed brick and high ceiling. Located on Chattanooga's north shore, conveniently across the street from Renaissance Park it's the perfect place to grab dinner or weekend brunch before a day at the park or shopping the local boutiques on Frazier Avenue.
Address: 205 Manufacturers Rd, Chattanooga, TN | Google Maps
I know Greek food isn't what comes to mind when you think of Chattanooga, but Opa is a longtime favorite in Chattanooga. This small, quaint Greek restaurant serves a set menu each day, making it easy to sit back and enjoy whatever they're serving. The space is cozy and feels a bit like you just stepped into a Greek grandma's houses, they even let you smash plates at the end of the meal. The food is delicious and the location is convenient right next to Coolidge Park.
*Note: Reservations are required. Only open to the general public Fridays and Saturdays.
Classic Italian cuisine in Chattanooga’s Art District. This restaurant has a relaxed interior setting plus two patios with great views of the Tennessee River. Tony's is a bit tucked away in the Art District, but that's part of the charm. Grab dinner here then head across the way for dessert at Rembrandt's.
Hello Monty is restaurant owners and brothers, Rob and Clay Gentry's, newest restaurant in Chattanooga. Hello Monty serves up southern American cuisine with new twist, plus they brew their own beer on property. Grab one of their signature cocktails or brews and enjoy your dinner in their modern space with views of the kitchen, or sit outside and enjoy a perfect summer night in Chattanooga. Perfect for date night or dinner with friends.
Lupi's is one of our best recommendations for families visiting Chattanooga. This long time local favorite places features hand tossed pizza and calzones in a casual setting. Located just a few blocks from the Tennessee Aquarium and the Creative Discovery Museum.
Chattanooga's best Neapolitan and New York style pizza (plus homemade gelato!) can be found at Community Pie. Located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, this space is the perfect place to grab dinner before one of Chattanooga's free Nightfall Concerts.
Good BBQ is a must when visiting Chattanooga, and Purple Daisy is one of our favorite spots. This low-key, family friendly space offers freshly smoked meats and lots of budget friendly, casual lunch and dinner options. It's location at the base of Lookout Mountain makes it the perfect place to eat after visiting Rock City, the Incline, or Ruby Falls.
This local brewery serves delicious brews and a small menu of food including pretzels and burgers. Chattanooga Brewing is the perfect place to grab a drink before attending a Chattanooga Football Club match just across the street.
Chattanooga's The Rosecomb is a quaint and fun bar set in a historic home with wonderful patio. Located in Chattanooga's Northshore neighborhood, it's the perfect place to grab a drink on a date or with friends.
Chattanooga Whiskey is famous for it's "Tennessee High Malt" bourbon Whiskey. This is the first whiskey produced in Chattanooga since prohibition, and I don't think they're going anywhere anytime soon. This is a popular stop amongst tourists, and locals have chosen their whiskey as a favorite, too. In their tasting room space they offer delicious cocktails and 1-hours tours with tasting flights. Chattanooga Whiskey is located conveniently across the street from the Chattanooga Choo Choo and one block from Main Street making it an easy stop for visitors who intend to visit some of Chattanooga's most popular places.
Oddstory is our personal favorite brewery in Chattanooga. When the weather is nice, you'll find us enjoying Oddstory's wonderful back patio with our dog, Kramer. The taproom is kid and pet friendly (pets must stay outdoors).
Bonus: Checkout Oddstory's original brewing location has been redesigned and is now open as a The Greenhouse Barrel + Taproom. It's still owned and operated by Oddstory, this is just a new, fun project of theirs.
Chattanooga's Basecamp Bar and Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy a beer on a beautiful day. Their patio has a great view of the river and iconic Walnut Street Bridge, and their pub offers craft beers and eats in a casual setting.
It's hard to beat a good pretzel and beer, and Chattanooga's Brewhaus is the place to get both. This German-American pub is located right at the end of the Walnut Street Bridge (or as most people know it, "the walking bridge"). Take a walk/run/bike ride and reward yourself with a beer and a view.
While I may love a good health food place, I equally love a good dessert. In case you didn't know, Chattanooga is home to Little Debbie and Moon Pies, so dealing with sweet treats isn't foreign to us. Chattanooga knows how to meet a sweet tooth and these are the places I'd most recommend.
It's not a visit to Chattanooga without a stop at Clumpie's. This local hand-made ice cream shop features seasonal flavors as well as classic ice cream flavors (but better!). Ten of ten recommend cooling off on a hot summer day with Clumpie's!
Love chocolate? This place is for you. Chattanooga's The Hot Chocolatier offers hot and cold chocolate drinks, baked good, candies, and more. Located right across the street from the Chattanooga Choo Choo, it's the perfect place to grab a hot drink to warm up in the winter (or a cold drink to cool down in the summer).
It's hard to beat an evening spent on Rembrandt's patio. Whether you're meeting a friend for lunch or looking for dessert after a dinner date, this is the place. Rembrandt's is a European style cafe serving craft pastries, breads, and espresso.
Who doesn't love donuts? Julie Darling Donuts is located in Chattanooga's Northshore neighborhood and offers creative donut flavors in a retro shop. Be sure to try their signature donut sundae (donuts + ice cream!).
While homemade gelato is what Milk & Honey is most famous for, they also offer an extensive breakfast, brunch and lunch menu with southern favorites and quirky originals. Milk & Honey has created a beautiful, Instagram worthy space in Chattanooga's Northshore neighborhood.
Chattanooga, Tennessee has so much to offer by way of food. This city is growing by leaps and bounds and it's fun to witness all the new options that are constantly opening while also holding onto the classics that have been staples in Chattanooga for decades.
Have a favorite restaurant we didn’t mention here? Let us know in the comments below!
Planning a road trip through the southeast? Checkout our other travel guides.
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We're Chris and Sara
A creative husband and wife duo from a small-town in Tennessee with passion for all things travel. Checkout the links below to join us on our past, present, and future adventures!