You know what my favorite type of meal in a restaurant is? The kind I don’t have to pay for. Okay, technically we paid $3.01 in tax + the tip….but that’s all. Philip’s sister gave us a gift certificate to Market Street Tavern for Christmas. I’m not sure why we just now got around to using it, but the coldest day so far this year seemed like a perfect time to park a mile away and walk in the wind tunnels between the buildings in downtown Chattanooga. I mean, doesn’t it make sense to you? Anyway….
We got there at 12:15; they open at noon on Saturdays and we were the first customers. I think that happened to us the last time we went there a couple of years ago. I guess a “tavern” is probably more crowded in the evenings. Obviously, we were seated immediately. The first thing that I noticed (as with the last time that we went there) was the one problem I have with Market Street Tavern-the decor. The space used to be an Italian restaurant (Cibo, I think) and they just kept the decor. The walls don’t bother me, and part of the restaurant has nice-looking hardwood floors, but the carpet, tables, and chairs could use an update. Still, I don’t go to restaurants for the decor, so it’s definitely not going to affect my decision to go back or not.
We ordered our waters and some fried pickles. I puffy-heart love fried pickles so I was very happy to see them on the appetizer menu. Link 41 sausage was also available but we had already ordered the fried pickles when we realized that. They took about 10 minutes and they were hooooootttttt. The fried pickles here are pickle spears, not chips….I think I’ve decided I like spears better, although they hold the heat in more so they are definitely more risky to eat. I definitely burned my mouth! Oh well-my fault! They were battered, not breaded, which I loved, and served with ranch dressing for dipping. There were 6 spears….and we ate them all. Mmmmm.
I couldn’t decide between the Tavern pizza (herbed flatbread with artichokes and sundried tomatoes) or the Sequatchie Cove burger, so I asked our server, Kate, which she would recommend. She recommended the burger, so I ordered it, medium, with sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese. For my side, I chose chips; they are housemade. If they had been packaged chips, I would have opted for fries. In case you don’t know, Sequatchie Cove is a local farm that sells grass-fed beef; yea for local! The burger is served on a Niedlov’s bun. I definitely was not disappointed by this burger. It was so juicy that the bottom of the bun was drenched, but the bread was sturdy enough that it still held together. As you see in the photo, the burgers are served with lettuce, tomato, and onion. I left the onion on for the pic, but removed it immediately after, of course. The burger was perfectly cooked, and since it was local, grassfed beef from a source that I know and trust, I was fine with eating it pink. Delicious! The handcut chips were great too, and if I hadn’t eaten 3 fried pickle spears, I would have cleaned my plate.
Philip decided to order shrimp and grits. Ever since the first time we ate at Food Works, he has been on a mission to find a restaurant that serves shrimp and grits as good as theirs. Up to this point, he has been unsuccessful….but he actually liked Market Street Tavern’s shrimp and grits better. I was beside myself. The shrimp and grits here consisted of three fried grit cakes (he felt they could have served two and it would have been plenty of food), country ham, sauteed shrimp, brown butter sauce, and scallions. The country ham and the brown butter sauce give a deep, smoky, rich flavor, and the grit cake (as opposed to just a big bowl of grits) lends structure and texture. Amazing. We considered dessert, but we were way too stuffed for one of their gigantic cupcakes made by Belle’s Cupcakes, and since I was planning to bake a cake to blog, it seemed like overkill to get one to go. Next time!
I didn’t know this, but I guess Market Street Tavern and Tremont Tavern are owned by the same person or people. I guess that makes sense…..especially since the burger was so good. I haven’t tried Tremont yet, but I actually have a Living Social deal for there, so it will be coming soon. I have heard that their burgers are among the best in town….but that’s another post.
This was definitely a great dining experience for us. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend Market Street Tavern. They are located at 850 Market Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402. You can call them at 423-634-0260. Their website is http://marketstreettavern.com; you can follow them on Twitter or “like” them on Facebook. I am including photos of their menu; not great photos but they’ll give you an idea of the offerings.