More Chattanooga restaurants turning their attention to brunch

Why this midmorning meal is replacing work lunches, after-hours drinks

French Toast Bites at Miller's Ale House are a sweet start to brunch. / Photo by Anne Braly
French Toast Bites at Miller's Ale House are a sweet start to brunch. / Photo by Anne Braly

Fluffy ricotta short stacks, chicken and waffles, egg sandwiches and spicy Bloody Marys: There's no better meal than brunch for the perpetually late, the always hungry and those who may have partied a little too heartily that night before.

What is driving our obsession with this breakfast/lunch hybrid? One factor could certainly be the anything-goes nature of brunch menus. Feeling like something sweet and dessert-y? Pancakes or waffles it is. Would you rather have eggs and bacon but mixed together with some seafood? Sold.

Brunch menus by nature offer a broad choice, so there's usually something for everyone. It's a win-win for both the restaurant and its patrons.

"I've heard the term that brunch is the new Friday night," says veteran restaurateur Rob Gentry, co-owner of Hello Monty.

Square, a company that provides point-of-sale solutions for restaurants nationwide, did a study on dining trends and found the rising popularity of brunch is an after-effect of the pandemic.

As people continue to work from home, there has been a drop in workers dining out for lunch during the weekday. But that's not stopped them from wanting to eat out. It's changed the dining dynamic with a shift to a growing number of restaurants serving brunch.

The study shows that people aren't grabbing lunch by their offices or going for post-work drinks as often as they used to. Instead, they're going out for mimosas and eggs Benedict on the weekends.

On any given weekend, you'll find people out enjoying Chattanooga's dynamic outdoor scene. From biking along the Tennessee Riverwalk to hopscotching the rocky faces of our mountains, residents and visitors know how to enjoy time away from the office.

But we also have a grand appreciation for weekend brunch, spending some leisurely hours over a pitcher of mimosas and a stack of pancakes or some savory creation prepared by an area chef. Fortunately, we don't have to look far to find a good brunch spot in town.

For many pubs and restaurants, incorporating a brunch menu isn't all that tough as many menus reinvent dishes they have on their lunch and dinner menus. And if demand is high enough for people to come a little earlier than the typical lunch hour and enjoy a meal without hurry, why not give the people what they want?

Brunch was once a Sunday-only luxury. Now it's a meal that goes beyond the weekend to include every day of the week. So, if you're on the hunt for brunch, the Scenic City has more than a few notable spots to explore. Here's a trail of some from Hamilton Place to downtown and north of the river.


BONEFISH GRILL

2115 Gunbarrel Road

— Brunchtime: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays.

— Reservations suggested: 423-892-3175.

— Menu: bonefishgrill.com

This place, known for its seafood, has a new brunch menu that goes beyond fruits de mer. Brunch was an offering before the pandemic hit, but then it went on hiatus. Now it's back, and the brunch crowd can enjoy favorites that are standards on the menu, like the Bang Bang Shrimp, good for brunch or any time of day. But Bonefish has also added some new brunch offerings like the frittatas and French toast. Others are seasonal, such as the Strawberry Upside Down Pan Cake.

"They're all going over well," says managing partner Coby McIntyre.

(READ MORE: Yes, yes, to Bang Bang Shrimp at Bonefish Grill)


HELLO MONTY

306 W. Main St.

—Brunchtime: 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Brunch happy hour runs 11 a.m.-2 p.m. with discounted drinks.

—Reservations suggested: 423-206-9242 or resy.com

—Menu: hellomontyonmain.com

  photo  Hello Monty's Egg Wrap features house-made flatbread filled with eggs, tomato jam and cheese. / Photo by Anne Braly
 
 

The patio is open and warmed on cool mornings, making an ideal spot for a relaxing weekend brunch in one of Main Street's hottest restaurants. Since opening in 2021, Hello Monty has become the go-to place for brunch in the neighborhood for several reasons. For starters, it's served not only on Saturday and Sunday, but Friday, too. Secondly, need some of that hair of the dog to set things straight? The craft cocktails and brews have what it takes. And for a final round of applause, the food attacks that midmorning hunger with gusto, whether it's a sweet thing your tastebuds yearn for or something savory to satisfy the pangs within.

"Brunch is a big deal for us," Gentry says. "Our food is fresh and thought out."

As a result, he, his brother/partner Clay Gentry and chef Antonio Lugo have put a lot of thought into a menu that showcases the wood-fired ovens, with offerings such as the Brunch Burrito with scrambled eggs, grilled steak, Anson Mills rice and Sea Island peas or the HM Grit Bowl with Anson Mills grits, Sea Island red peas, grilled Gulf shrimp and tomato jam.

(READ MORE: Review: Hello Monty, new restaurant on Chattanooga's Southside, will have you calling out for more)


MILLER'S ALE HOUSE

2119 Gunbarrel Road and 574 Northgate Mall Drive

— Brunchtime: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

— Reservations: No.

— Menu: millersalehouse.com

  photo  Start your day with the Sunrise Scrambler at Miller's Ale House. / Photo by Anne Braly
 
 

Miller's isn't taking any chances on serving brunch weekends only. The chain, with two locations in Chattanooga, is now serving brunch seven days of the week, so it's brunchtime anytime you're in the mood. Choose from the Brunch Burger topped with cheese, candied bacon and a fried egg; the Sunrise Scrambler with skillet-baked eggs, bacon, sautéed onions, tomatoes, potatoes, scallions and cheeses; the Tex-Mex Burrito with scrambled eggs, tomatoes and mozzarella with a side of black beans; or steak and eggs served with floured tortillas. Or go sweet with the shareable French toast bites. The regular menu will be available for those who chowed down on breakfast beforehand.

"With the launch of our new brunch menu, we have an opportunity to serve our guests in a whole new daypart for Miller's," says CEO Nikhil Khanna.

(READ MORE: Restaurant review: Miller's Ale House aims to be 'your neighborhood bar and restaurant')


WHITEBIRD AT THE EDWIN

102 Walnut St.

— Brunchtime: 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

— Reservations recommended: opentable.com

— Menu: whitebirdchattanooga.com

Whitebird, named for the nickname of Cherokee Chief John Ross, is located on the first floor of the Edwin Hotel. Its menu takes a nod from our Appalachian roots, and dishes reflect classic Southern fare. The chefs, says food and beverage director Chris Collins, create dishes that celebrate local farmers as much as possible, with brunch dishes such as the Nooga Bennie with local smoked pork belly and house-made biscuits with sausage gravy and local eggs — sunny side up. Favorites also include a fun take on a classic, PB&J French toast, and a meal that falls on the lunch side of brunch, a smashburger with fries.

(READ MORE: Meet the Chef: Edwin hotel's executive chef bypassed civil engineering to create in the kitchen)

Brunchtime Around Town

Finding brunch in the Scenic City is getting easier as more restaurants opt to serve the popular midmorning meal. Here are some of the places where crowds gather.

Old Man Rivers, 118 Cross St. Brunchtime: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. The menu changes daily, but it's always something with a creative edge, such as hand-crafted cocktails served with chicken and waffle tacos or a smashburger with cheddar and two eggs cooked any way you like.

(READ MORE: How to make the 'Boots With the Fur' cocktail from Old Man Rivers Table & Tavern)

Big Bad Breakfast, 313 Manufacturers Road. Brunchtime: 7 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. daily. There's no fooling around when it comes to brunch at BBB. Go bold with the Mother-of-All Biscuit, stacked with crisp chicken, cheese, bacon and local honey. Or the Jack Benny, a fried hash cake topped with sliced ham, spinach, hollandaise, ham powder and poached eggs. You won't need to eat again till dinnertime, if then.

(READ MORE: Restaurant Scene: Yes! Fried oysters for breakfast at Chattanooga's Big Bad Breakfast)

Ruby Sunshine, 405 Market St. Brunchtime: 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. This little cafe will put a smile on your face with its Pig Candy Bacon Bites, fried green tomatoes and the Trifecta, its signature dish of three Benedicts: Eggs Cochon, Chicken St. Charles and Bayou Shrimp.

(READ MORE: Restaurant review: Ruby Sunshine spotlights NOLA-based brunch options)

Tupelo Honey Cafe, 1110 Market St. Brunchtime: all day, every day: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday. It's all about the South at this popular Warehouse Row staple. Favorites include steak and eggs, honey fried chicken biscuits and a fall-apart New Orleans roast beef Bennie with poached eggs and green tomato salsa.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga chef Ross Feinman shares the joys of collards, grits, cathead biscuits at Tupelo Honey)

Frothy Monkey, 1400 Market St. at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. Brunchtime: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Start brunch with a freshly made blueberry muffin, then go onto one of the savory offerings, such as a country ham and pimiento cheese biscuit, along with an eye-opening latte or espresso.

(READ MORE: Frothy Monkey, a hip cafe and eatery, opens in Choo Choo Hotel)

Aretha Frankensteins, 518 Tremont St. Brunchtime: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. The pancakes here are scary good, but so are the made-from-scratch biscuits and, oh my, the Jabber omelet with beef and refried beans wrapped inside a blanket of eggs and topped with sour cream, tomatoes and lettuce and salsa. Word to the wise: Come hungry, and wear your stretchy pants.

(READ MORE: Restaurant Review: Great breakfasts are the payoff for those who wait at Aretha Frankensteins)

Neighbor, 9431 Bradmore Lane, Ooltewah. Brunchtime: 8 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. Neighbor is Ooltewah's answer to brunch with amazing skillet meals, like the Notorious Pig with two eggs, sausage, honey ham, gravy and green onions over hand-cut fries or creamy grits, or the popular buttermilk fried chicken over waffles dripping with syrup and a crown of powdered sugar.

(READ MORE: Executive chef at Ooltewah's Neighbor restaurant shares his culinary memories, recipe for brisket)

SideTrack, 3514 Hixson Pike. Brunchtime: 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Experience a different take on brunch with beignets, chicken liver pate, shrimp and grits in tomato-pepper broth, red curry half chicken, avocado-tomato toast or SideTrack's wonderful eggs Benedict with flavorful country ham and a poached egg drizzled with house-made hollandaise.

(READ MORE: SideTrack restaurant opens in Hixson)

Contact Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com or annebraly.com.


Upcoming Events