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The Bluegrass Grill's Pesto Omelet with sliced tomatoes and home fries

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Bluegrass Grill

The best breakfast in Chattanooga, in my opinion, is served Tuesday through Saturday at 55 E. Main St.

There you'll find locally roasted coffee, homemade baked goods and a plethora of egg, hash and potato dishes that promise Southern comfort with a serious Mediterranean influence. After four or five years frequenting Bluegrass Grill, I'm convinced you can't go wrong with anything on the menu.

If you go

› Where: The Bluegrass Grill, 55 E. Main St.

› Hours: 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 6:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday

› Price range: $1-$9.50

› Phone: 423-752-4020

› Website: bluegrassgrillchattanooga.com

Owners Jonas and Joan Marie Worsham bought into the burgeoning Southside food scene more than a decade ago, gradually establishing Bluegrass Grill as a must-try. Get here early because the crowds will. If you can't manage 6:30 a.m. when the doors open, fear not; you'll likely have to wait awhile, but the tables turn over fairly quickly and it's worth the wait.

 

THE SPACE

This place is not that big. Tucked amid Main Street's abundance of shops and eateries that have taken hold as the Southside continues to lure both residents and tourists alike, it's in an area that was mostly derelict less than 20 years ago when the remnants of furniture companies and warehouses still held court along the street.

Today, though, is a much different story, and Bluegrass Grill shares in East Main Street's revival. The front wall of windows lets in plenty of natural light, which cascades into a dining room filled with varnished blond wooden tables and chairs and framed by rustic brick walls. A mural on the wall behind the counter depicts the Appalachian Mountains, as mandolin, banjo and fiddle music plays subtly in the background.

 

THE MENU

Bluegrass Grill's offerings lean heavily Southern- style but Worsham specializes in Greek food, so there is often a confluence of both. To that end, you can't go wrong with the Mediterranean Frittata ($7.95) or Spanakopita Omelet ($8.50).

Other menu standouts include the Alderwood Smoked Salmon Frittata ($8.75) and Joan Marie's Special omelet ($8.25), or you can create your own omelet with a variety of ingredients starting at $6.95.

Additionally, there are several vegetarian dishes and gluten-free baked goods available. Two quiche options and Cinnamon Bread French Toast with a choice of fresh fruit or caramel and whipped cream topping were the specials of the day on this visit.

 

THE FOOD

A small line was trailing outside the door when we arrived about 8:30 on a Saturday. After a brief wait, we were seated and ordered coffee and sweet tea. After much deliberation, we settled on the Pesto Omelet ($8.50) and Portobello Mushroom Eggs Benedict ($9.25).

Both dishes were good, but the eggs Benedict was the clear winner. It consisted of two poached eggs on five-grain toast, topped with savory portobello mushroom chunks, an herbed garlic cream cheese, fresh spinach, diced tomatoes and a creamy hollandaise sauce. The net result was a scrumptious mix of flavors — easily one of the best dishes I've had at Bluegrass.

The light, fluffy omelet filled with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto was an interesting detour from traditional breakfast fare, but it worked really well. I also chose sides of thick-sliced tomatoes and home fries, both delicious.

 

THE SERVICE

Our server was attentive, and we didn't have to wait that long for our order to arrive good and hot despite a typically full dining room. Portions were just right.

 

THE VERDICT

The only real drawback to dining at Bluegrass Grill is that when the place is full it can get loud. But occasional noise and a wait to be seated are small prices to pay for food this good. And it's an equally fantastic place for lunch.

Contact Chris Zelk at czelk@timesfreepress.com.

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