EDITOR'S NOTE: Where do you cheer on your favorite football team during fall weekends? This is the first in a series of suggestions by staff writers for local sports bars, pubs and neighborhood dives where the atmosphere and food score with fans.
Located on Riverfront Parkway perched above the sprawling Cameron Harbor development is Parkway Pourhouse, serving traditional New Orleans cuisine with a local flair.
Directly across the street from the Chattanooga Whiskey riverfront headquarters, Parkway Pourhouse boasts an impressive 4,200-square-foot interior space that opens up to an additional 1,000 square feet of covered patio. Ample space allows for plenty of high-top and regular tables along with a large square bar.
A Nola-themed menu extends to the decor with a scattering of Jazz Fest posters and fleurs-de-lis throughout the space. While it definitely has the feel of a slightly more upscale sports bar (there are TVs galore for all your sports-viewing pleasure), it maintains a relatively kid-friendly atmosphere and even features an area of turf beside the patio for putt-putt, which is sure to keep your kiddos occupied while you enjoy a cold beer.
Parkway Pourhouse features a well-rounded menu of starters, salads, po-boys, pub grub and large plates, along with a respectable selection of draft and bottled beers, wine and signature cocktails with a twist. It also offers daily specials, a solid Monday-Friday happy hour and a Pour Boy of the Month.
If you go
› Where: Parkway Pourhouse, 801 Riverfront Parkway
› Hours: 4 p.m.- midnight daily
› Price range: $5-$23
› Alcohol: Full bar
› Phone: 423-498-5300
From fries smothered in etouffee, gumbo or debris gravy (a Big Easy take on poutine named Pimp My Fries), to a beet salad featuring red and golden beets, dill vinaigrette, goat cheese and shallots, to a Bistro Tenderloin with herb compound butter and your choice of two sides, the menu offers something for everyone whether you're simply looking for an afternoon snack or registering a 10 on the hangry scale.
Sitting at around an 8 on the aforementioned scale upon our arrival, I threw caution to the wind and ordered the Fahrvernoogan Pour Boy of the Month, an Oktoberfest-themed, richly flavored beast of a sandwich featuring juicy kielbasa sausage topped with melted Swiss cheese, sauteed onions, garlic potato cakes and creamy Dijon mustard on soft, crusty Leidenheimer bread.
It was aggressive and messy, one of those sandwiches you think you'll surely never be able to finish, but is so good you just can't let it go to waste. For my side (which was not included and totally unnecessary considering the size of the sandwich), I ordered a cup of gumbo. It was fresh and tasty but a little light on the spice and required a healthy flood of Crystal hot sauce to bring it to the level I prefer.
Taking a different, more tame avenue, my boyfriend ordered the smoked gator sausage and chicken pasta featuring penne tossed in a Cajun alfredo with green peppers and cherry tomatoes. As a first-time gator eater, I was pleasantly surprised by the tender, flavorful chunks of sausage, yet was underwhelmed by the dish as a whole. The ingredients were fresh and quality but, similar to the gumbo, I felt it was too light-handed on the Cajun spice. Had it not been for the gator sausage, I'd have a hard time distinguishing it from just another chicken alfredo pasta dish on any other restaurant's menu.
Patrons seat themselves and are not assigned to one particular person on the wait staff. Sometimes this setup can be a little awkward, especially for first-time visitors who don't know what to do upon entering. However, it ultimately provides for a more laid-back, fluid experience and cuts down on the wait time as you can place your food or drink orders with any one of the friendly, well-staffed team who happens to pass by your table.
While I wasn't blown away by everything we ordered, I look forward to going back and trying more of what Parkway Pourhouse has to offer. Let's just put it this way: If the Fahrvernoogan is representative of what else they have up their sleeves, count me in.
Contact Kate Brennan at email@example.com.