published Friday, January 28th, 2011

Barbecue, burgers and fish tacos at Silver Jalapeno in Warehouse Row

I didn't really want to order the Petunia's Southwest Burger at the new Petunia's Silver Jalapeno inside Warehouse Row.

What I wanted to order was the Petunia's Smoked Butt, but since I had that last week, it seemed prudent to order something different. The upshot is I will now have to make a decision the next time I visit.

The Silver Jalapeno is Virginia Cofer's newest creation. There is a sister restaurant in a silver Airstream trailer on Signal Mountain Road.

THE MENU

There are 11 main dishes on the menu and nine side orders, with daily specials also offered. There is a good amount of variety among those items. The fish tacos, which feature grilled fish with roasted pepper sauce, black bean and corn relish, pico de gallo and seasoned cabbage, are a popular item.

Meat lovers can choose from two burgers, chicken wings, the pork sandwich, a chicken sandwich, a chicken quesadilla, a beef hot dog and a turkey dog.

For nonmeat eaters, there is the Quesadilla Salad and a vegetarian burger.

Sides include chips and salsa or queso, chili, coleslaw, vegetarian baked beans, homemade cookies and milkshakes.

The order (for one): Like I said, I've sampled the pork sandwich before, and it is delicious. The baked beans are also very good.

On this visit, I went with the Southwest Burger made with grilled Black Angus beef and covered with guacamole, hot pepper cheese, jalapenos, pico de gallo, lettuce and mayonnaise.

You might think all those extras would overpower the burger, but that was not the case. It was a very tasty and fairly delicate blend that worked well.

It is a good-size sandwich, and care should be taken when eating it. It's a two-fisted affair that will require plenty of napkins.

I got a side of chips and salsa as well. Two people could easily share these. The salsa was very fresh and tasty. It featured chunks of diced tomatoes and had a somewhat sweet flavor, rather than an overly salty one that some salsas can have.

You can also order Coca-Cola served in the smaller bottles and cooled in a vintage-looking cooler.

THE SERVICE

IF YOU GO

* Where: Warehouse Row, 1110 Market St.

* Phone: 785-7578.

* Website: www.petuniassilver jalapeno.com.

* Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday.

* Price range: $2.95 (turkey dog)-$8.95 (fish tacos).

* Alcohol: No.

Orders are taken at the counter by a friendly and smiling staff. Cofer usually can be seen back in the kitchen preparing the dishes. When your order is ready, your name is called, and you pick up your foil-wrapped sandwich or Styrofoam-encased dish at the counter.

Plastic cutlery, napkins and a handy wipe are provided then as well, and you will need them.

On this visit, I got mine to go, and everything took just a few minutes.

THE SPACE

The Silver Jalapeno is the only restaurant in the food court right now, and that is good and bad. It means there is plenty of seating. It does make the space feel a little empty, though.

The food court has been remodeled, and you have several choices when it comes to dining in. In the upper area, there are now two long maple tables with cafeteria-style seating. Along the outer edge is a long countertop with oak log seating.

Above the area is a very large tree limb suspended from the ceiling.

There are two- and four-top tables in the lower area.

THE VERDICT

Buying barbecue inside a shopping center would normally be a risky venture, but Cofer knows what she is doing. It's about the food, and the food at Petunia's Silver Jalapeno is good.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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