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If you go

› Where: Flying Squirrel, 55 Johnson St.

› Hours: 5 p.m.-midnight Tuesday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday; 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday though bar closes at 4 p.m.

› Prices: $7 for house-cut fries, spring greens, biscuit and gravy, spicy chicken biscuit; $23 for Pickett's Ranch Trout

› Alcohol: Full bar

› Phone: 423-602-5980

Mother's Day Brunch
A special Mother's Day Brunch with music by The Close is set for Sunday from 1:30-3:30 p.m. All ages are welcome.Since that time, the Flying Squirrel has become the go-to spot for Sunday brunch when our daughter and son-in-law come up from South Georgia. We love the food, the mimosas and the Bloody Mary's. We also appreciate the live music there during the afternoon brunch hours and we always comment on the architecture.

EDITOR'S NOTE: It's patio weather. So Times Free Press staff writers are sharing their favorite local spots for al fresco dining in a series that will appear each week of May in Chattanooga Now.

Quick, funny story about one of my visits to the patio at the Flying Squirrel: My friend and former co-worker, Carol, was visiting with some friends from Atlanta a couple of years ago, and we were seated at the first table near the entrance on the patio.

Now Carol has always been very funny and very quick-witted, but this might have been her finest moment. It makes me laugh out loud every time I tell this story.

We were seated at a round-top with Carol closest to the door into the restaurant. As she turned to look at my wife, she immediately noticed a Great Dane the size of a pony looking her straight in the eye.

"Oh, a dog!" she exclaimed.

some text Pickett's Ranch Trout, which features a thick, perfectly prepared piece of fish, is served with fingerling potato salad, house bacon lardons and fennel creme.

The dog took about one step and stuck its tongue into Carol's mouth. She squealed with laughter as the dog's owner immediately tugged on the leash and steered the dog to a table behind us. Still laughing, but without missing a beat, Carol rolled her head around and over her shoulder called to the dog, "Call me."

 

It has received several local, state and national awards for its design since opening in 2013. Its massive, exposed, wood beams, bar top and open concept that includes huge glass doors that can be opened in milder weather, make the bar area feel like you are outdoors.

 

THE MENU

It always starts with a cocktail of some sort. As I mentioned, the mimosas and Sriracha Bloody Marys are good, and the beer selections are as well. In fact, the adult beverage menu is quite extensive with locally crafted beers, specialty cocktails, familiar classics and some things you've never thought of.

One of the reasons we like going to the Flying Squirrel is because we like to try things we don't have at home. The staff is constantly creating and tweaking, so there is always something new to try. Some work better than others, of course, and sometimes that falls to personal preference.

The house cocktail menu features drinks called the Ms. Beauregarde (cucumber-infused gin, creme de violette, lemon and lavendar syrup, $8), for example. You can also order The Traveling Mule (choice of Pinnacle Vodka, Gosling's Black Seal Rum, El Jimador Tequila Blanco or Chattanooga Whiskey with habanero ginger syrup and lime, $7).

On the draft beers menu, they've added a couple of nods to Game of Thrones fans with Ommegan Mother of Dragons, which is: "Inspired by Daenerys Targaryen, this blend of a smoked porter and Belgian krick represents the smoke and fire that Daenerys has unleashed on her opponents during her ascent to conquer and rule the seven kingdoms."

The Ommegan Hand of the Queen is "a beer brewed for Tyrion. As one who knows and loves wine above all, and as his court brewer, we would brew him one. Hand of the Queen is a big, bold barleywine fit for those who seek knowledge and truth, both great and small."

On my latest visit, which was actually a night stop instead of the usual Sunday brunch, I chose the Pickett's Ranch Trout, which featured a thick, perfectly prepared piece of fish served with fingerling potato salad, house bacon lardons and fennel creme ($23). It was pretty terrific.

My wife got the Chicken Flautus with poblano crema, spring pico de gallo, locally grown lettuce and lime ($15) and was very happy with it. My daughter got the Hickory Grilled Royal Red Shrimp Curry with coconut milk, spring vegetables, ginger, basil and fried shallots ($19).

As I said, not everything is a home run, and this dish seemed to be trying too hard with a lot of flavors that seemed to be working against each other.

I've enjoyed the falafel and Reuben sandwiches in the past, and their duck and pork belly dishes are always delicious. I'm also glad to see they've added several vegetarian and vegan dishes to the menu, as these were not there a couple of years ago.

 

THE VERDICT

It's hard to beat Flying Squirrel for Sunday brunch on the patio. A good meal and a Bloody Mary is a great way to start the day.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

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