Jumbo-sized cookies, baked goods — even a small humidor full of cigars — were some of the goods on the marblefront counter as lunchtime customers lined up in the Frothy Monkey last Monday.
That marked the Nashville-based eatery's opening day in a 4,500-square-foot space next to the Chattanooga Choo Choo's main lobby.
"I think it's a great addition to Chattanooga," said Tim Piersant, the co-founder of the Tennessee Stillhouse microdistillery across the street, who stopped in for lunch. "I believe experiences like this are going to bring more people to downtown Chattanooga."
The Choo Choo's Frothy Monkey is open seven days a week. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 6:30 a.m. to midnight on Friday-Saturday — which will allow for dining before and after shows at the Choo Choo's entertainment venues, said Frothy Monkey spokeswoman and partner Jennifer Sheets.
"What's unique to this location is we're going to try a late-night menu," Sheets said.
Breakfast, which is served until 5 p.m., includes biscuits and gravy for $6.50 and omelets for $8.50. Sandwiches, soup and salads are served all day, and include the Royale, a smoked turkey-based sandwich for $8.50. Dinner, which starts at 5 p.m., has a dozen entrees, such as shrimp and grits for $14.
Starting Saturday, April 22, the Chattanooga Frothy Monkey will offer five-course wine dinners, with each course paired with a different wine, for $60, plus tax and tip. The wine dinners will give a chance for Frothy Monkey's executive chef and partner, Chase Ingalls, a chance to "show off," Sheets said.
"He's an incredibly talented chef," she said.
The 170-seat restaurant has soaring ceilings, an upstairs mezzanine that holds about 40 people, and will have an outdoor patio that holds another 40, Sheets said.
Frothy Monkey has three full-service restaurants in the Greater Nashville area, as well as a record store cafe, a bakery and its own coffee-roasting facility in downtown Nashville's trendy SoBro neighborhood.
This is Frothy Monkey's first location outside of the Nashville area.
The owners of the Choo Choo hotel approached Frothy Monkey, Sheets said, and sought to have it expand to Chattanooga.
"I felt they would be a great fit, not just for the hotel, but the entire city," said Adam Kinsey, president of the Chattanooga Choo Choo. "They had customers, even at 6:30 [Monday]. Their first day looked like a great success to me."