Where is your food coming from? This is an important question, but it’s often difficult to answer. Luckily, Chattanooga is full of incredible restaurants that can answer that question with ease due to their relationships with local farmers, who supply them with delicious, high-quality ingredients that their guests can feel good about.
Although it may seem like a modern concept, we have evidence of historical farm-to-table movements, with even the post office getting in on the action! From 1914 to the early 1920s, the United States Postal Service sponsored a farm-to-table movement shipping fresh goods to consumers, both in order to help city-dwellers avoid concerns of spoiled milk and to help put farmers on equal footing with the corner grocery store. It died down due to improvements in the food production and distribution chain – namely the emergence of canned and packaged food, as well as an increased desire for the convenience of seasonal favorites being available year-round. However, as people began to realize that sourcing your food non-locally had a variety of harmful effects, not to mention a decrease in quality, the movement began to reemerge. In 1971, years after Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring,” which warned about the dangers of pesticides, Alice Waters opened the renowned Chez Panisse in California, a locally and ethically sourced gourmet restaurant. This opened the floodgates for farm-to-table ventures to appear around the country, ranging from restaurants to farmers’ markets to school cafeterias.
Below, we’ve collected some of the very best farm-to-table restaurants Chattanooga has to offer.
The Feed Co. Table & Tavern
The Feed Co. Table & Tavern, located on West Main Street, is a locally owned neighborhood restaurant that offers a seasonal menu of farm fresh favorites with a twist. They serve lunch and dinner along with weekend brunch – just a few menu highlights include the Springer Mountain Farms chicken breast, Wagyu country fried steak featuring Mountain Breeze Farm Wagyu, and brussels sprouts with maple and bacon. The space pays tribute to the historic Chattanooga’s Seed-Feed Supply Co. and boasts a tavern, dining room, and a heated, covered patio. Guests can also enjoy a full bar, live music, trivia, bingo, and a game room for children of all ages.
Main Street Meats
Main Street Meats is an old-world charcuterie, butcher shop, and restaurant located on the historic Southside of Chattanooga, focusing on products and ingredients sourced from the Tennessee River Valley. Originally opened by Jim Johnson and Tom Montague in November 2013, Erik and Amanda Niel (co-owners of Easy Bistro) assumed operations and ownership in 2014. Main Street Meats aims to create the best experience for the animal, the farmer, and the community. They open every day for lunch and dinner, offering a wide selection of products such as dry cured salami, sausages, French-style pate, hams, bacon, and a bourbon bar.
Niedlov’s Bakery & Café
A few doors down from Main Street Meats sits Niedlov’s, a family owned and operated retail bakery café and wholesale bakery. Founded in 2002, their mission is to use the finest natural ingredients to create delicious breads and meals that nourish and delight the community. Niedlov’s specializes in handmade, organic breads made using natural leavening and with no added sugars or preservatives. In addition, any pastries not sold are donated to the Community Kitchen at the end of each day, and outdated breads are donated weekly to local farmers for pig feed to reduce food waste. Their composting program diverts over 15,600 pounds of waste from the landfill each year. Their breads are available at multiple grocers across East Tennessee, visible on their website.
Big River Grille & Brewing Works
Located in the heart of downtown Chattanooga is Big River Grille & Brewing Works – only a short walk from classic Chattanooga attractions such as the Tennessee Aquarium, IMAX Theater, and Creative Discovery Museum. This restaurant offers an impressive variety of menu items, including fresh seafood, chicken, pizza, burgers and pasta, made using only the freshest ingredients. If their seasonal menus and award-winning ales and lagers aren’t enough of a draw, their spacious patio should be. Enjoy championship billiards, see live entertainment at Big River’s music venue, check out their working brewery and bar, or take advantage of one of their private dining areas.
For the past 10 years, Public House has offered customers a comfortable gathering place to enjoy dishes made from trusted ingredients and cocktails that are as vibrant as Chattanooga itself. Located on Market Street, Public House takes the best seafood, premium steaks, and locally sourced produce and prepares classic Southern fare with a fresh, refined approach. The restaurant provides a comfortable and elegantly casual dining room, offering a lovely patio and lounge area and multiple private dining spaces.
Named after Chattanooga’s founder Chief John Ross, whose Cherokee name was “Mysterious Little Whitebird,” Whitebird is a modern American restaurant at the foot of Chattanooga’s historic Walnut Street Bridge. Paying homage to the indigenous regional cuisine of the Tennessee River Valley and surrounding Appalachian region, they offer an elegant yet approachable dining experience with ingredients sourced straight from the Tennessee River Valley. Take in the scenic views from their elegant setting and enjoy a truly elevated dining experience.
Urban Stack, located on 13th Street, is one of the best burger spots in Chattanooga thanks in no small part to the care they take in selecting their ingredients. They work with local farmers and vendors for the absolute best quality of meats and ingredients available. They have specifically chosen a wide variety of meats that are either all-natural, organic, grass fed, free-range, or from sustainable and humane farms. With a tasty variety of burgers and plenty of drinks on tap, Urban Stack takes an American classic to the next level.
Milk & Honey
Milk & Honey is proof that sometimes the best pleasures are the simplest. Located on North Market Street, they serve authentic homemade gelato, Stumptown espresso and coffee, homemade sweets and treats, pastries, and breakfast and lunch items, as well as many other specials. Although they only serve food through lunch, their gelato and coffee service continues well into the evening. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat made from ingredients you can feel good about, this is the place to frequent.
Conveniently located on Hamilton Place Boulevard adjacent to the mall, Acropolis Grill is the perfect restaurant to visit when you’re shopping, running errands, or just craving tasty food. They offer authentic Greek and Mediterranean cuisine made from the freshest ingredients, with dishes ranging from gyros and spanakopita to Greek spaghetti. After your meal, you can indulge in a delicious, made-from-scratch dessert of your choice, such as traditional baklava or the Chattanooga-famous Strawberry Patch cake.
Easy Bistro, located in a new space on Chestnut Street complete with an open kitchen and full bar, is the perfect place to go when you can’t decide on just one dish. Since first opening in 2005, Easy Bistro has evolved to embrace a diverse spread of shareable meals, with house-made pasta, oysters, and a fresh raw bar. They offer a unique culinary experience with dishes rooted in the French classics and prepared with Southern flair.
Julie Darling Donuts
Located on the Northshore, Julie Darling Donuts offers a scrumptious array of freshly made donuts crafted from local ingredients. Founded in 2009 by Kent Davis after his quest for the perfect donut led him to make his own, the shop makes all their donuts fresh every day and are always experimenting with new flavors and products. Since donuts have no better companion than coffee, they currently partner with Mad Priest Coffee to offer delicious drip coffees, lattes, and cappuccinos.
Situated in Chattanooga’s Southside neighborhood, Alleia resides in the old Harrington building and is the fulfillment of Chef Daniel Lindley’s dream of offering simple, Italian-inspired cuisine. If you crave rustic Italian food made from fresh local ingredients, this is the place to go. All of their pasta – from the decadent pappardelle to the fan-favorite gnocchi – is made in-house, and you’ll also find fresh Neopolitan pizza and a variety of antipasti, insalate, and secondi. With an array of delicious food served in a lovingly and beautifully designed space, Alleia is a standout when it comes to locally sourced Italian food.