Chattz at the Block Coffee & Wine Bar brings breakfast and after-meal pastries to the center of tourism in Chattanooga.
At 225 Broad St., the shop is located less than a mile from the Tennessee Aquarium. It's also less than a mile from the first Chattz Coffee Shop, which opened on Market Street in 2002. Chattz at the Block is larger than the Market Street location and offers wine.
Chattz at the Block is not a lunch destination, but if you're looking for something sweet, this is the spot.
Chattz at the Block's menu changes daily. Chattz prepares some food in-house, other offerings come from local bakeries such as Whole Foods and Hot Chocolatier
› Where: Chattz at the Block Coffee & Wine Bar, 225 Broad St.
› Hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
› Prices: $2.55 cup of house-blend coffee to $45 bottle of wine
› Alcohol: Yes
› Phone: 423-310-8888
Pastries include banana nut bread ($2.65), sticky buns ($2.95), blueberry scones ($3.55), apple cinnamon bread ($2.65), vanilla pecan baked oatmeal ($3.55) and ham and cheddar frittata ($4.75).
The cafe contains a glass-covered case full of chocolates including spicy Belgian cookies covered in dark or milk chocolate, White Chocolate Cashew Squirrels, chocolate-covered pretzels and chocolate-covered crackers.
And then there are the coffees and teas.
TVA employee Linda Panter doesn't even drink coffee, but she visits Chattz regularly for a sugar-free chai latte. A 12-ounce cup is $4.65. She was one of several customers visiting while I was there.
"We stop in here most days of the week," she said of herself and co-workers. "It's like a family-friendly operation and we like that."
Semiretired broadcaster Ben Cagle and his friend, Earl Freudenberg, drove from Hixson to the coffee shop. Freudenberg, a recent inductee into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame, calls himself a "frequent flyer" at the shop.
"They make a great Cafe Mocha ($4.75 for a 12-ounce) and chai latte," said Cagle. "They know what they're doing."
Cagle also said he visits to support owners Evelyn Wheeler and Eileen Mason.
"They're outstandingly good people. I'm looking to do business with locals, not a Starbucks," Cagle explains.
Coffee, teas and espressos range from $2.55 for a 12-ounce cup of Chattz house-blend coffee to a $6.95 cup of French Press coffee.
Chattz at the Block offers a wine bar with nine white and rose wines and eight red wines, including two award-winning reds. Wine prices range from $7 a glass for red wine Belle Ambiance to $11 for a glass of white wine Anne Arnie. Bottles of wine range from $28 to $45.
I ordered three pastries.
The blueberry scone is like biting into a super-juicy giant blueberry surrounded in thick, sweet bread drizzled with icing. No way I could eat a whole one.
I shared it with a friend who said the blueberries tasted like she had died and gone to heaven. The bread is really dense, but the juicy blueberries break up the chewiness of the dough.
The banana nut bread tasted nutty sweet with a hint of banana. It was a little dry alone, but perfect with coffee. And the slice was also big enough to split with a friend.
The cinnamon-baked oatmeal bar is my treat of choice even when I'm not doing a review. I've often read that oatmeal is a great source of whole grains, which can lower the risk of high blood pressure. So I feel better about eating it. The oatmeal bar is good, especially warmed. It's sweet, a little nutty and cinnamon-flavored. It also came in a big portion.
Customers sit in a two-story building with chandeliers hanging from the upper level. There's lots of room for a group of friends, couples or a person alone with his computer. Tables and chairs are scattered throughout the building.
Music plays softly and the cafe's smell is warm and rich.
Barista Jared Roberts patiently answered all my questions and then offered me a sample of a cold brew, which I'd never heard of. He explained that a cold brew is coffee that takes 12 hours to brew because it's brewed with cold instead of hot brew, which takes about 3 minutes to brew.
The advantages of cold brew versus iced coffee are that it isn't watered down since no ice is used, and it is less acidic. It tasted so rich, I drank it without cream or sugar.
Roberts was a one-man show. He single-handedly waited on several customers, many of whom knew him well enough to discuss previous orders, and prepared beverages. Well done.
I'm too concerned about calories to revisit the blueberry scone. But every once in a while I splurge on food. And sometimes, even when I don't want to splurge, I'm running late and need a quick cup of coffee.
When I do, Chattz is my go-to because it's close to my downtown office and I can get an Americano, the only decaf coffee offered, for the price of a regular cup of coffee. I'll also be back for the oatmeal bar. It's a little pricey, but I think it's healthy and I like it.
Contact Yolanda Putman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6431.