Five excellent ways to make the weekend special.
Is there anything better than brunch on a lazy weekend? The thought of eggs Benedict paired with a bold, spicy Bloody Mary or delicately sweet French toast washed down with a sparkling mimosa is enough to tingle your tastebuds right out of bed. Here are five restaurants in Chattanooga we’ve found that do it right, offering brunch on both Saturday and Sunday with hours that extend well into the afternoon _ just in case you want to sleep in.
1885 Grill, 3914 St. Elmo Ave.
Brunch hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday
Experience it: Whether it’s inside admiring the contemporary feel of the historic St. Elmo building or outside sitting in the shade beneath a canopy of trees, brunch at 1885 is a lively affair, particularly on Sundays when live music is playing outside_ weather permitting _ and the “Sunday Funday” crowd shows up. That’s also the day when “regulars” come for brunch, says co-owner Miguel de Jesus. So if you’re looking for a more sedate way to spend your morning, Saturday may just be it. One thing that holds true for both days, though, is the delicious fare you’ll find here.
Taste it: Savory sweets, such as fried chicken and waffles ($12), along with traditional brunch options, including steak and eggs ($18) and Bananas Foster Belgian Waffles ($8) are weekend favorites, along with trout hash and made-from-scratch biscuits and gravy. A Bloody Mary bar ($3.50) filled with everything you need to give your brunch a good punch and mimosas made to order ($3) add to the vibe you’ll find here.
Blue Plate Diner, 191 Chestnut St.
Brunch hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Experience it: With a commanding view of the waterfront, Blue Plate is hopping on weekends, so much so that the huge Local 91 bar adjacent to the dining area is open and filled with overflow seating. Don’t be surprised if there’s a wait _ brunch is in demand, making Saturdays and Sundays lively and busy on a regular basis, says owner Rob Gentry.
Taste it: Locally sourced ingredients are used whenever possible to make most of the brunch faves. Try the Benton’s Bacon and Cheese Omelet ($9.50) or the fried chicken on a pancake using Aretha Frankenstein’s mix ($10). The most popular of all brunch specials, though, is Huevos Rancheros _ a fried flour tortilla topped with housemade refried beans, fresh salsa and sliced avocado ($9). And for sharing? A plate of Cathead biscuits with creamy sawmill gravy ($7.75) and a quart _ that’s enough for four to five people _ of Bloody Mary’s made with house-infused vodka ($16). And there’s a bonus: Happy hour runs from10 a.m. till 4 p.m. on brunch days.
Farmer’s Daughter, 1211 Hixson Pike
Brunch hours: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Experience it: When it opened in late 2013, Farmer’s Daughter planted a seed that grew well beyond its Riverview neighborhood. Known for serving the freshest foods possible, much of which is grown on co-owner’s Ann Keener’s family farm, Sequatchie Cove Farm, folks flock to the gas-station-turned-restaurant for brunch every weekend. “What we are providing our customers is delicious, simply prepared, responsibly sourced food and coffee,” says Keener’s partner Mike Mayo. But he says brunch is more than that, It’s the opportunity to slow down and enjoy the morning in a beautiful space surrounded by friends and family. “That’s what is so special and why we are fortunate to be so busy every weekend,” Mayo adds.
Taste it: Start your morning with brunch specials, such as a plate of sweet potato cinnamon rolls ($3) and a bowl of grits and greens using grits from Riverview Farm flavored with ham hocks from Main Street Meats and Cumberland cheese ($7.50). The a la carte menu served for breakfast during the week is also available and features breads from Niedlov’s, local meats and eggs fresh from the farm. And to wash it down? Here’s a mimosa twist: Farmer’s Daughter makes it with champagne, grapefruit juice and a splash of orange liqueur ($5.50).
Easy Bistro and Bar, 203 Broad St.
Brunch hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Experience it: Begin your weekend with a leisurely brunch in one of Chattanooga’s most-historic buildings, the world’s first Coca-Cola bottling plant. High ceilings and woodwork add drama to an eclectic menu that marries chef/owner Erik Niel’s Cajun background with the latest culinary trends. A strong focus on locally sourced meats, honey, cheeses and vegetables add to the glory of an Easy brunch. “Our Saturdays are a bit more chilled and relaxed. Sunday brunch is a bit more lively,” Niel says.
Taste it: The menu features upscale specialties such as the most popular starter, blue cheese tartine ($11) made with Main Street Meat’s bacon, local honey and Gorgonzola cheese. Eggs Jonathon ($19), an English muffin topped with fried Chesapeake oysters, poached eggs, tomato and hollandaise sauce are an example of the focus Niel places on fresh seafood. And there’s always a seasonal Brunch Punch.
Food Works, 205 Manufacturers Road
Brunch hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
Experience it: The best brunch on the Northshore and selected by opentable.com as one of the top-100 in the nation, Food Works is a lively place come the weekend when people gather in the bar or on the front porch drinking mimosas and Bloody Mary’s waiting on a table. “It fills the restaurant with a lot of energy,” says operating partner Troy Sutton. “Brunch is busy from the time we open till the time it ends at 3.” Of the two days, Sunday is the liveliest and more diverse with a nice mix of “regulars” and those stopping in after church.
Taste it: The menu offers an excellent mix of breakfast and lunch items with several selections that blend both, such as chicken and waffles _ the most popular ($15) _ shrimp and grits ($16.50), and Steak Benedict _ an explosion of flavors you’ll get from toasted wheat bread topped with tender seared steak, creamed spinach, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce ($15) . And then there’s the Darling Donut Breakfast Sandwich few can resist: A donut from Julie Darling Donuts sliced and filled with peppered bacon, eggs and Swiss cheese ($12, or two for $15). You just have to taste it. Drink specials are offered with any entree, such as Chambull (champagne and Red Bull, $2), mimosas ($1), Bloody Mary’s ($3.50).