• Where: Baked in Chattanooga, 149 River St., Coolidge Park.
• Phone: 305-7755.
• Hours: 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.
• Price range: $1.75-$9.25.
Less than 24 hours after eating at a new restaurant nestled in the lower back section of the Coolidge Park business area, I want to go back. I want the West African peanut soup.
I've been looking for a restaurant that regularly serves this soup since I first tried it at Greyfriar's on Broad Street many years ago. So you can imagine my joy when I walked into Baked in Chattanooga for the first time last week and saw it on the menu as the soup of the day.
Even if I don't find my favorite soup on the day I return, I still want to go back. The menu, though very limited, includes two things I particularly like for lunch: stuffed potatoes and salad.
The space is tiny, with only a few tables for seating, so during the cold months, customers may want to consider takeout. When the weather gets warmer, the adjoining park will make a perfect setting for picnicking.
The signature dish of Baked in Chattanooga is the stuffed baked potato.
The varieties include potatoes stuffed with either barbecued pork with cheddar cheese and sour cream; roasted vegetables with zucchini, yellow squash, red peppers, broccoli, cheddar cheese and sour cream; black beans with cheddar cheese, salsa and sour cream; and the sweet potato stuffed with candied pecans, brown sugar/cinnamon butter and topped with toasted marshmallows. Prices range from $5.75 to $6.25.
There's always a soup of the day, and I was most fortunate to find the West African peanut soup on my first visit. It's a creamy tomato-based soup with pureed peanuts and other ingredients. It is superb. You have a choice of cup, $1.75, or bowl, $3.
There's also a daily special, which was five-cheese lasagna with spinach on the day my colleague and I visited.
There's one salad on the menu. It's made with mixed greens and baby spinach topped with shredded carrots and homemade croutons with a choice of balsamic vinaigrette, ranch or ginger dressing. It costs $3.
Desserts are cupcakes, muffins and cinnamon rolls glazed with cream cheese. They're priced at $2.25 for standard size and $3.25 for jumbo.
Beverages offered are canned soft drinks, bottled water, juice, milk (all $1.25 each); coffee or hot tea, $1.50, and latte or cappuccino, $3.
Along with the West African peanut soup, I ordered a salad. The soup was incredibly flavorful and filling. The salad was perfect.
My colleague ordered the barbecue stuffed potato. He was disappointed by the small size of the potato and the limited toppings. It had only barbecue, cheese and sour cream. Most places serve butter, bacon and chopped green onions or chives on their stuffed potatoes.
We both ordered small chocolate cupcakes for dessert that were delicious.
You order and pay at the counter. The food was served to us in about five minutes.
The young woman working at the counter was extremely pleasant and super friendly. She also served our food and made sure we had everything we needed, including cloth napkins, a nice surprise.
The restaurant is small, and there are few tables for seating. It was a bit chilly inside, but not to the point of being miserable. Good music (Bob Marley) played softly in the background. If customers are at more than one table, be prepared to talk in a soft voice if you don't want to be overheard.
Though the menu is extremely limited, the food was well prepared and delicious. I will definitely go back, especially on the days they serve African peanut soup.
Contact staff writer Karen Nazor Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6396. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/karennazorhill. Subscribe to her posts on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/karennazorhill.
Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...