Friday, January 17, 2014

(Re)Discover Chattanooga - 1885 Grill

The best part of moving back to Chattanooga has been the food.  I know I keep saying this, but the selection, the diversity, and the quality of the food in Chattanooga is light years ahead of what 18 year old me remembers.

One of the newer restaurants in Chattanooga is 1885 Grill in St. Elmo.  The sign out front says 'Southern Coastal', and after spending 10 years in South Carolina, this made me happy.  I didn't learn to eat seafood until I left Chattanooga, and the idea of Shrimp & Grits made me feel warm & fuzzy inside.

I went to 1885 last weekend for a girls night/reunion, and it turned out to be a perfect choice.  Our waiter set a casual tone, and we were comfortable taking our time and catching up.  We started with drinks, and I tried the Catalina Wine Mixer (Prichards Rye Whiskey, fresh ginger, lemon and Cabernet). It was a really intriguing combination, and when our server said the bartender has never been known to make a bad drink, I went for it.

Catalina Wine Mixer

It comes out all layered and pretty (which I appreciate) but is a little tart to drink out of a straw without mixing first.  Once it's mixed, it was really good.  I don't use ginger a lot, but I feel like I should.  The drink wasn't overly wine-y or too heavy on the whiskey; the ginger and the lemon really balanced it out. 

The executive chef at 1885 is Charlie Loomis, and I absolutely love it that our waiter named him when he was explaining the daily specials.  It means a lot when a chef puts his name on something, and when the people around him are excited and proud of the work he puts out.  Which brings me to dinner, which was surprisingly not Shrimp and Grits.

Dinner was one of the Chef's Specials for the night: lamb over mashed potatoes, green beans, roasted tomatoes and a hearty sauce that I am at a loss for words to describe. When I asked the waiter to help me choose between the special and the shrimp & grits, he recommended the special, since I can always come back for shrimp & grits.  (And come back I shall)  I won't tease you by describing all of the goodness on my plate bite by bite, but I will tell you that the waiter offered to get me a knife for the lamb, but promised I wouldn't need it.  He was right, I barely needed a butter knife.  I rarely eat lamb, and this special was a treat.

The rest of the table seemed to enjoy their meals as well.  The Chef's Special Kale Salad went over really well, as did the macaroni & cheese.  The steaks were well recieved as well.  The one note on the steaks was that the initial reaction is that the portion is small, but with the sides included, the portions were right.  No one left our table hungry, I can say that for sure.

What I think I like best about 1885 is its location and atmosphere.  I really like that it is in St. Elmo and not downtown.  I enjoy going somewhere different, and I imagine people who work downtown don't always want to go back downtown after work or on the weekend.  Its a low key kind of place that seems to focus on quality, and the staff - from the chefs to the waiters - are proud of the food they put out.  It's a relaxing atmosphere that serves good food.  And the kind of place I can see myself going back to.

1885 Grill:
3914 St. Elmo Avenue
Chattanooga Tn  37409 

  • Monday–Friday: 4pm – 10pm
  • Saturday: 11am – 10pm
  • Sunday: 11am – 3pm
website  |  Facebook  |  @1885Grill  |  instagram
1885 Grill on Urbanspoon


  1. I almost never eat lamb, but the photo of your plate looks very appealing!
    Have a great week-end!

  2. Lamb is something that I never cook for myself, but I enjoyed it at 1885 :)
    Have a great day :)

  3. Ate here for my birthday and it was fantastic. I need to go back and try brunch and more cocktails!


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