Meet the Chef: Marcus Willis of Parkway Pourhouse talks roast beef, wings and Mee-Maw's chicken and dumplings

Marcus Willis is executive chef at Parkway Pourhouse, 801 Riverfront Parkway.
photo Marcus Willis is executive chef at Parkway Pourhouse, 801 Riverfront Parkway.

Riverfront Parkway, once a major avenue for industry in Chattanooga, has recently undergone a transformation that extends the downtown dining corridor to include several new restaurants, one of which is Parkway Pourhouse.

The restaurant, at 801 Riverfront Parkway, offers an upscale tavern-like experience that has a strong Creole/Cajun influence. Executive chef Marcus Willis attributes that to both his and restaurant owner George Lewallen's love of foods from New Orleans. Willis met Lewallen at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where both were students. Twenty years later, they're still good friends and now work together.

"We've both been to New Orleans many times and have a deep love for the food culture down there," says Willis, a native of Austin, Texas.