Kitchen at Union Square opens doors Nov. 4

Kitchen at Union Square opens doors Nov. 4

October 23rd, 2013 by Rachel Sauls-Wright in Local Regional News

Kitchen at Union Square executive chef Matt Marcus, left, and general manager Wendell Barnes show off the view from the 12th floor of the Tallan Building.

Photo by Rachel Sauls-Wright/Times Free Press.

Eat well and give students opportunities.

Simply put, that's the mission behind a new restaurant opening up in the basement of the Tallan Building, located at 200 W. M.L. King Blvd.

Called the Kitchen at Union Square, the full-service lunch and dinner restaurant is more than just an affordable place to eat. It's also a place for students at Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, to practice the skills they're learning in the classroom, said Wendell Barnes, the restaurant's general manager.

"This is the place where students of Culinard get real-world, hands-on experience in a learning lab environment," he said, adding that students will do both observations and externships in the restaurant.

But that doesn't mean the quality of food will be anything less than the best, he added. Local chef Matt Marcus who won the 2012 Cast Iron Cook-off, Five Star Food Fight and Taste of Chattanooga will be the restaurant's executive chef, heading up operations in the kitchen when it officially opens for business Nov. 4.

"We're going for an affordable, approachable and fresh menu," Marcus said. "We want you to be able to come back every day."

The menu will feature everything from salads and sandwiches at lunch to steaks and small plates for dinner alongside a full bar with an emphasis on local brews and affordable wines. Each day the restaurant will feature two house-made soups and everything from the salad dressings on up will be made from scratch.

In addition to supporting the up-and-coming chefs of the area, Marcus said the restaurant will also work with locally sourced food to bring fresh, healthy options to the table.

"This restaurant will be a benefit to the community because we're creating jobs in the market but it also helps sustain local farmers," he said. "Instead of us buying a tomato that'll get a CEO a new Ferrari, we're buying a tomato that will get a little girl some dance lessons."