Tremont Tavern is a wildly popular bar and neighborhood hangout in North Chattanooga that many say has the best burgers in town.
When I wrote my Friday list about my Top Five Burgers in Chattanooga a couple of weeks ago, a few very strong opinions were expressed. Every. Single. One. of those opinions was in favor of Tremont Tavern.
Philip and I went to Tremont last spring. We really liked it, and I made them second on my list. The caveat, though, was the fact that since our most recent visit was before Tremont started grinding and patting their own beef, we hadn’t really had a burger from their, at least not the burgers that they are serving now. So, I resolved that I would return to Tremont and my mind was changed, I would update my list to reflect that. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have noticed that I did, in fact, update my list this past Friday to show that Tremont now has what I consider the best burger in Chattanooga. It’s that extra step of cutting and grinding their own meat that really sets them apart from everyone else. They take a whole shoulder clod (sounds like a lovely piece of meat, right?), cut away all the unsavory stuff (the stuff that just gets ground up really fine at the factory), grind the meat and the fat separately, then weigh them into an 80/20 mix.
So anyway, I knew I had to get back. We waited until after lunch-rush time…the space at Tremont is pretty small and I’ll tell you, I have to be pretty patient in my professional life. I try to avoid situations that require a lot of patience (e.g. waiting at restaurants) outside of my classroom whenever possible. One o’clock on Thursday turned out to be a pretty good time. Our friend Brian, who also accompanied us to Merv’s, went with us.
It was difficult for me to decide what to order. Last time that we went, I had the pimento burger, with pimento cheese, onion straws, and bread & butter pickles. While it was amazing, I wanted to try something different. The Coltrane, with a fried egg on top, was tempting, but I was also interested in the Gouda, with smoked gouda, onion straws, and barbecue sauce. My friend Matt had recommended it, and anything with smoked cheese is pretty much perfect in my book. Our server (there were actually two girls serving us, and I regret that I didn’t get either of their names) told me that the Coltrane was a good “hangover burger” but that the Gouda was probably the most popular burger on the menu….so I went for it. It was pretty much perfect. Messy, drippy, sticky, and delicious. I had to wash my hands after eating it. It was gigantic, and I ate all of it. Luckily I don’t eat like this every day! The barbecue sauce was perfect with the onion straws and a great match for the smoked cheese. Not overdone but just righ, with the Niedlov’s bun soft enough to absorb some of the juice from the burger and structured enough to not fall apart. Last time we came I had the housemade chips, so this time I tried the beer-battered fries. They were pretty good, but I liked the chips better, and I ate so much burger that I didn’t have too much room for fries!
Philip contemplated getting the jalapeno Jack burger (which he had last time) again, but ultimately decided that the Dirty Gomez (don’t think I didn’t look at that name twenty times to make sure I typed the write thing!) sounded too awesome to pass up. 50/50 beef and housemade chorizo, with avocado and queso fresco. This started out as a special (Tremont has a “burger of the day” every day) and ended up being so popular that they put it on the menu. When he bit into it, the first words out of Philip’s mouth were, “Oh dear sweet Baby Jesus!” That good. I tried it…I don’t normally care too much for sausage, but it was quite good, just a little bit spicy but not too much so, with the taste of peppers in the background. He had the tots….he loves tots.
Brian had the jalapeno Jack, with fresh jalapeno, bacon, ancho cilantro dressing, pepperjack cheese, green leaf lettuce, sliced tomato, and red onion, and chose corn chowder (the soup of the day) as his side. He was extremely happy with his burger, which I described in more detail in my last Tremont post, and liked the corn chowder a lot as well (though he did douse it with hot sauce). I don’t like to spend a lot of time harassing my friends for details about their food, but he was definitely happy and did remark that he liked the Tremont burger more than he liked the Merv’s burger (which he still really liked).
We spent several minutes chatting with Dustin, the owner of Tremont Tavern, about their new(ish) practice of grinding their own meat. Apparently lots of other restaurants were starting to use the same preformed Black Angus patties that they were using and they decided that they needed to step it up a notch to set themselves apart from the other guys. They have certainly done just that, and I’d say that there aren’t too many other restaurants-especially not restaurants quite this tiny-that have such a fiercely loyal customer base.
If you love burgers and you’ve never been to Tremont Tavern, try them out….you just may become their next loyal customer.