Vine Street Market serves delicious homemade sandwiches, soups, and desserts as well as take and bake entrees. And it’s NOT located on Vine Street!
Quiz: Where is Vine Street Market?
If you said Vine Street, then you are WRONG. Vine Street Market is located on Hanover Street in the Riverview area of Chattanooga (right down the street from the former Greenlife building). I really didn’t have my heart set on any place in particular this weekend and my interest was piqued when a Facebook follower suggested Vine Street Market, adding that they make their own breads, salad dressings, and baked goods. Sounded like my kind of place!
I visited Vine Street Market once when I was a freshman in college (um, that was seventeen years ago. Whoa.), when they actually did have a location on Vine Street (next to the infamous David’s…any UTC alums remember that? I was pretty square in college-some things never change-so I never went, but boy did that place have a reputation!). I laughed when I thought about it because my roommate and her boyfriend were trying to set me up with one of his friends so we all met there for lunch. Pretty sure dude and I did not even make eye contact. The only thing that I remember about the food is that I ordered a sandwich-no idea what kind-and Ruffles. Boy, I was an adventurous eater back then….
Anyway, this location is in a cute little house with a little gravel parking lot. The staff was very friendly and the girl who took our order showed us the specials and got our drinks while we decided. I did something out of character and ordered the “Vine Street Market Famous Mint Tea”, which she told Philip lots of people like to cut with unsweetened tea because it is pretty sweet. It was indeed sweet but I didn’t find it cloying. It had a great flavor but I wouldn’t say it was extremely minty. They also serve their own special cranberry tea that I’d like to try (back before my water-guzzling days I was a big-time sweet tea drinker).
Ordering was a little bit difficult, only because there were so many things that I wanted to try. Since they make their own salad dressings, I kind of wanted to try a salad (they offer a basic tossed salad, a Greek salad, and a chef’s salad with your choice of turkey, ham, or both as well as a chicken or tuna salad plate). They serve daily soup specials, today’s being Brunswick stew, cheesy squash soup, tomato-basil, and chili, and you can build your own sandwich or choose from their specialty sandwiches. You can also do pretty much any combination you want of soups, salads, and sandwiches. They also have daily casserole specials (chicken enchilada and chicken, broccoli, and cheese). The counter was covered with lots of dessert options, including Texas sheet cake, fudgy brownies, lemon squares, and apricot bars.
I was intrigued by the cheesy squash soup…I can honestly say that I’ve never had a soup made from yellow and zucchini squash (and I’m a little mad that I didn’t think of it before visiting here, but you can bet I’ll be making it now!). I decided to get a special they were featuring with a cup of soup and a whole pimento cheese sandwich, which I ordered on honey wheat bread (remember that all of their breads are homemade) with lettuce and tomato. The pimento cheese was thick with cheddar cheese, not drippy with mayonnaise as some pimento cheeses are, and well-seasoned with pepper. The honey wheat bread was sturdy but soft enough that I could bite through the sandwich without squishing the pimento cheese out the sides, and the vegetables were fresh. And the soup? Delicious. It reminded me of a cheesy summer squash casserole made into a soup, with onions, squash, chicken broth, cheddar, and lots of pepper. It was perfectly salted as well, which is a problem I have with a lot of restaurant soups-they are either over- or under salted.
Philip decided to try Brunswick stew-something he’d never had-and a Reuben. I’ve mentioned before that Philip loves Reubens but he’s had a hard time finding a restaurant that serves one he really, really likes these days…but he has to look no further. He took one bite and proclaimed this one the best he’s ever had. Let’s review: the bread and salad dressing are homemade. Pair that with Boar’s Head corned beef and melted Swiss and just the right amount of sauerkraut and grill it up…and you have a perfect Reuben. The Brunswick stew was thick with carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms with shredded beef and chunks of chicken in a smoky broth. Like my soup, it was well-seasoned and very peppery.
We decided to pass up the desserts this time, but I can guarantee you that next time I’ll be trying something…or getting it to take home (by the way, they do catering and take & bake meals). I regret that it took us this long to make it to Vine Street Market. This was definitely one of the best meals we’ve had in a laid-back and friendly atmosphere. A handful of people came in while we were there who were clearly regulars, as the employees called them by name and seemed to know what was going on in their lives.
This is definitely the kind of place you want to come back to…and I can’t wait to go back to Vine Street Market.
Vine Street Market is located at 1313 Hanover Street, Chattanooga, TN 37405. They are open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can call them at 423-266-8463. You can also visit their website, vinestreetmarket.com or like Vine Street Market on Facebook. For their regular menu, click here; you can find the catering menu here.
Got any restaurant suggestions for me in the greater Chattanooga area (includes Dayton, Cleveland, and North Georgia)? Leave a comment!