The economy may be down, but restaurants in the Chattanooga area are on the rise with the opening of several new eateries over the past year.
Chattanooga has a strong base of customer support, said Mike Connor, chairman of the restaurant division of the Tennessee Hospitality Association.
Mr. Connor owns 12 Chop Houses, including the Chattanooga location, as well as Regas in Knoxville and three Connor's Steak and Cheese restaurants around the Southeastern United States.
"New restaurants bring more people to the area; and as long as they are doing a good job, they're going to do all right, even in this economy," he said.
Here's a sample of some of the new eateries that have opened in the greater Chattanooga area in recent months.
Planet of the Grapes, 208 Pentz St., Dalton. Specialties: American cuisine with a twist of international flavors. Suggestion: Curried shrimp or beef tournados.
Pure Bliss Cafe, 7677 Nashville St., Ringgold. Specialties: Made-from-scratch soups, sandwiches and daily specials. Suggestion: Shrimp and grits.
Blue Orchid Bistro, 185 Cherry St. A fresh take on gourmet fare in a casual atmosphere with items ranging from soups and salads to chicken, steak, pasta and seafood. Suggestions: Bistro chicken, peppercorn encrusted steak, citrus salmon.
Mama's Italian Bistro, 3375 Waterlevel Highway. Specialties: Pasta, one-of-a-kind stuffed meat pizzas salads, subs, Sicilian and New York-style pizza, calzones and stromboli. Suggestions: Homemade lasagna or supreme (five-topping) New York-style pizza.
Slice of Roma, 2382 N. Ocoee St. Specialties: Specialty and build-your-own pizzas; also stromboli, calzones, sandwiches and pasta. Suggestion: The Diavoli, a spicy pizza with mozzarella, crushed red pepper and Genoa salami.
Terminal BrewHouse, 6 E. 14th St. (next to Chattanooga Choo-Choo). Specialties: House-brewed beer, sandwiches, salads, pizza and specialty entrees using many local food vendors. Suggestion: Bison burger, pepper-smashed steak.
Eleven, 407 Chestnut St. (inside the Doubletree Hotel). Specialties: Variety of American favorites served at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Suggestions: Daily lunch buffet, Friday night prime rib, Cajun Rattlesnake Pasta.
Deep Bistro, 2 Union Square (in the basement of the Tallan Building). Specialties: Interesting offerings with nontraditional flavors. Suggestions: Sea bass, quail breast with maple-sugar glaze over pear-pecan risotto, ostrich satay.
Blacksmith's Bistro and Bar, 3914 St. Elmo Ave. - Classic American cuisine with regional and international flavors. Suggestions: Salmon Romesco, Kobe beef burger.
Good Dog, 34 Frazier Ave. - Almost any hot dog you can imagine, plus homemade cupcakes. Suggestions: Southern slaw dog, French fries with horseradish ketchup.
Beef O'Brady's, 5958 Snow Hill Road, Ooltewah. A twist on "sports bar" fare with wings, chili, burgers, hot dogs and more. Suggestions: Cheeseburger wrap, Buffalo shrimp.
Taco Mamacita, 109 N. Market St. - A full range of tacos, plus soup and salads in a sleek, upscale atmosphere. Suggestions: General Homeboy taco, made-to-order guacamole.
Rio Picante, 203 W. Second St. - A new twist on Tex-Mex fare, located in the heart of the Aquarium district. Suggestions: Taco salad, Yuca fries.
Red Rock Grill, 1743 Dayton Blvd. - A delicious upscale American menu along with homestyle meat-and-three fare. Suggestions: Kobe beef burger, Reuben, fried green tomatoes.
Coming in 2009
Allelia, an Italian restaurant, will occupy the ground floor of the Harrington Building at 25 E. Main St.
Float, a 167-foot floating restaurant on the Tennessee River near Renaissance Park, will serve sushi and have a covered eating area as well as a large roof bar.
BiBa's Italian Restaurant, 5918 Hixson Pike. Italian specialties will include veal picatta, lasagna and pizza, all made from scratch.