Chattanooga’s restaurant scene continues to grow.
Greg Adkins, CEO of the Tennessee Hospitality Association, said restaurant owners across the area are reporting business gains in 2011.
“They’re seeing a lot of visitors come back, and [they] have noticed that many people will choose to go out to a nice dinner and spend $100 instead of going on vacation,” he said.
Adkins said that the Chattanooga restaurant market is strong.
“I think we had a moderate growth pattern even when the economy was down, and now that it’s going up, [restaurant business] is getting better,” he said.
Below is a selection of some of the restaurants that have opened or expanded in the Chattanooga area in the last year.
* The Rice Boxx, 3600 Hixson Pike. Visitors experience Oriental flavors in a dynamic atmosphere at this new restaurant located in a Bi-Lo shopping center in the heart of Rivermont. The Rice Boxx features Chinese fare, sushi and a taste of Thai. The hibachi combo with mustard sauce is featured. 423-305-0855.
* Buffalo Wild Wings, 120 Market St. This restaurant has become a magnet in the tourist district. It’s a popular place to watch sports. Like spice? Try your luck with one of the hot wings. Or, for a more delicate palate, there are milder dishes available. 423-634-0468.
* Griswold’s BBQ, 7711 Hixson Pike. Just when you think Chattanooga has enough barbecue to keep the Scenic City smokin’, another restaurant opens. Griswold’s specializes in an array of Southern barbecue fare. 423-842-2212.
* Crepe-a-delic, 137 River Street. Crepe-a-delic is charming in its tiny-ness, with bright and friendly service. The crepes are less traditional than they are creative, with sweet, savory and design-your own available. Try the Peckish, with chicken breast with shitake mushrooms, emanthaler cheese and white wine sauce, then follow it with a Red Angel, angel food cake on a bed of whipped cream and strawberries. 423-752-5227.
* Petunia’s Silver Jalapeno, in Warehouse Row at 1110 Market St. Chef Virginia Cofer has opened a second Petunias in Warehouse Row (the original is on Signal Mountain Boulevard). Petunia’s specializes in barbecue, hamburgers and daily specials. 423-756-6010.
* The Honest Pint, 35 Patten Parkway. Matt Lewis, co-owner of this new Irish Pub, said he hopes his third restaurant will follow in the tradition of his other two downtown ventures, Hair of the Dog Pub and Terminal Brewhouse. The Honest Pint features music, Irish-inspired food and beer. The menu includes Herdie’s Pie, a take on Shepherd’s Pie. 423-468-4192
* Hill City Pizza, 12 Frazier Ave. This restaurant features an interesting combination of pizza and Cuban fare. Visitors can also enjoy a (non-smoking) billiards area upstairs. 423-702-5451
* Sugar’s Ribs, 507 Broad St. Owners Lawton and Karen Haygood also operate the Boathouse Grill on Amnicola Highway. Sugar’s Ribs’ first location opened on the side or Missionary Ridge several years ago and introduced locals to an abundance of new barbecue flavors. The downtown location offers a South of Seoul salad, which combines southern barbecue with a taste of Thai. 423-508-8956.
* Pizza Cha Cha, 863 McCallie Ave. Pizza pies with a hole in the middle are this restaurant’s trademark. Pick your choice of toppings and your order will be delivered on a hand-tossed crust with salad in the middle. 423-468-3227.
* Mojo Burrito, 1414 Jenkins Road. Owner Eve Williams opened a third Mojo Burrito location this year in a new East Brainerd shopping center. Still, the ambiance is the same as in the two historic buildings in which the other two Mojos are located (St. Elmo and Red Bank). The menu features make-as-you-go burritos, made-from-scratch guacamole, chili and other Tex-Mex favorites. 423-296-6656.
* McHale’s Brewhouse and Pub, 724 Ashland Terrace. Hand-crafted beers are served alongside Scotch eggs and a bowl of Irish stew. Other favorites are burgers, salads and chicken-fried steaks. More than 60 beers, including site-brewed and imports, are available. 423-877-2124.
* Urban Stacks, 12 W. 13th St. This hip new Southside eatery bills itself as the home of “killer burgers and manly drinks.” The menu features 20 burger choices and interesting house specialties such as “fried bologna sliders.” 423-475-5350.