Where: Eat 1, 2109 McCallie Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday
Price range: $5 (wings)-$8 (dinner plate)
Soul food can come in slightly different forms and mean slightly different things to different people, but at its heart it means comfort food.
Several restaurants in Chattanooga offer different takes on soul food from moderately upscale variations to more modest (some might say honest) renditions of traditional Southern cooking.
While many new and shiny restaurants continue to pop up in the Chattanooga market, the Eat 1 restaurant on McCallie Avenue is churning out simple but well done cooking at a good price.
The basic menu at Eat 1 is simple, with wings, sandwiches and dinner plates served simply.
Prices are extremely reasonable, with a pork chop plate being $8 and a sandwich and fries costing slightly less.
A midafternoon trip to the Eat 1 for a late lunch called for something basic and simple.
After considering the bologna burger plate, I decided to go with the pork chop sandwich with fries and an order of chicken wings bathed in the "hogwash" sauce.
If you've never had a soul-food sandwich, you should be careful before biting into your meal. The generously sized, fried pork chop was served bone-in on white bread with tomato and mayonnaise. It was very good, but eating the sandwich open-faced made eating a bit easier.
The fries were a pleasant surprise. They weren't overseasoned but had a unique flavor that made them hard to resist. The cook said the seasoning was something he had come up with on his own at home, and the results were fantastic.
The "hogwash" sauce on the wings was a sweet, smoky, dark barbecue sauce that was very tasty -- even if it was a bit messy. But that's the point of wings, isn't it?
A midafternoon lunch at Eat 1 is certainly not crowded. In fact, I was the only customer.
The cook/server who waited on me was polite and helpful when I asked about the menu, and his suggestion of the restaurant's "hogwash" sauce was on the money.
All told, a nice experience for a quick lunch.
The Eat 1 is in a storefront across from the Rite Aid pharmacy on McCallie, next to a cigarette shop and just down from Parkridge Hospital.
The restaurant is small and simply furnished, but it's clean and the food is served in a basic fashion.
This isn't one of the new fancy restaurants downtown, but it gets the job done.
The Eat 1 may not be for everyone, but it's worth a try when you want to try something different for lunch.
My visit was early in the week, so I will definitely go back to try something else from the grill.
It's not fancy, but soul food isn't supposed to be fancy.
Contact staff writer Jim Tanner at jtanner@times freepress.com or 423-757-6478.