Frothy Monkey’s New Home in the Choo Choo

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2014-07-30-08-37-52Set to open by the end of the year, The Frothy Monkey will swing into town, becoming the revamped Chattanooga Choo Choo’s second new restaurant. The first, Stir, opened one year ago.

The Frothy Monkey has been a much-loved restaurant in Nashville since opening in 2004 in Nashville’s vibrant 12 South neighborhood and has since added two additional Nashville-area locations. However, Chattanooga marks its first venture outside Music City. And few could be happier than Tom Clarke and fiancee Debbie Boaz.

Clarke and Boaz have the best of both worlds with a farm outside Nashville and a home in Chattanooga and look forward to enjoying the same food and service in Chattanooga that they’ve experienced at Nashville’s Frothy Monkey. “It fits perfectly with the ever-changing and growing Chattanooga restaurant scene on the Southside,” Clarke says.

The restaurant will have several seating options, with the main dining room seating 162, including a private dining space for up to 30 for private functions. Outside, there will be seating for another 40 diners. The décor is what you would find in most renovated, industrial loft spaces “with a slice of Generation Y – the ‘Young Urban Creative’ as clientele,” Clarke says of the Nashville 12 South location. The interior space for each restaurant is different though, notes Jennifer Sheets, Frothy Monkey marketing and creative director.

“All of our locations are unique to the neighborhood they are a part of,” she says. “This one will be consistent with that. We love the Southside neighborhood of Chattanooga, and the fact that we get the opportunity to aid in the restoration of a historic landmark is the cherry on top.”

The menu is identical to other locations, but does change with the seasons. One thing that’s consistent throughout the year, though, is a commitment to using fresh, local ingredients, following the food-to-table trend taking place in restaurants across America.

Frothy Monkey serves breakfast and brunch every day, plus lunch and dinner, with expanded beverage offerings including coffeehouse standards as well as craft beer, wine and cocktails.

“We feature creative folks using local ingredients to prepare original dishes served in a cozy and approachable atmosphere,” Sheets says.

2015-08-11-09-33-38The dinner menu features a variety of slow-cooked meats from pepper-dusted pork tenderloin to the signature Bear Creek Beef – flank steak over herbed mashed potatoes served with caramelized Brussels sprouts.

Many of the dishes served throughout the day have simple, whimsical names: Lucy (a mixed green salad with berries, feta and candied walnuts); Sadie (spinach with blue cheese, strawberries and toasted almonds); Betsy (chicken salad sandwich); or Buck (Frothy Monkey’s version of a Reuben). And at breakfast, you can sit down with Bob (whole-grain pancakes); Bill (buckwheat waffles) or Julie (a bagel sandwich with farm eggs, feta, basil and tomato).

“Debbie likes the Royale, a smoked turkey sandwich on bread from Frothy Monkey’s own bakery. It’s their best-selling sandwich and of course, I had to have a bite. No wonder it sells,” Clarke says, adding, however, that he can’t resist Nathan, a peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich.

“It brings out the little boy in me,” he says.

Choices are tough because everything on the menu sounds good, Clarke adds.

“All of the ingredients are healthy choices, and prices are very favorable,” he says. “We intend to work our way around the menu. With the renaissance on the Southside, restoration of the Choo Choo and Stir a destination, we feel the Frothy Monkey will make a good addition.”

Frothy Monkey has had its eye on locating in the Scenic City for a while, feeling that the town is a natural extension of Nashville. But it wasn’t until the Chattanooga Choo Choo reached out to them that the decision was finalized.

“Yes, the Choo Choo actually reached out to us, but this happens all the time,” Sheets says.”Folks from other cities contact us to either franchise a Frothy or recruit us to open one in their city. So, we hear a lot of pitches. Chattanooga has been on our short list of cities we would consider for our first location outside of Nashville.” 

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Frothy Monkey specializes in original cocktails and fresh local ingredients used in creative menu items.

Yaser Hanieh, director of food and beverage at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, believes Frothy Monkey is a good addition to other new retail offerings at the historic hotel, an anchor of the Southside neighborhood.

“The Choo Choo is all about a local, authentic and historic experience for both locals and tourists. It is more than a hotel. It’s a community asset for the entire city.”

And it’s this community-minded spirit that connects Frothy Monkey to Nashville and soon to Chattanooga.

“We not only want to support the non-profits in our communities, but also reinvest back into local businesses as well,” Sheets says, adding that the restaurant and its owners are interested in supporting several different nonprofit entities, including the arts, historical preservation and the creative community.

Story by Anne Braly
Photography by Mark Boughton and courtesy of Frothy Monkey

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