Gollywhoppers was a popular sandwich shop on East Brainerd Road that has closed since this review and been replaced by Greg’s Sandwich Works.
Recently I have been trying so hard to find my own photography “style”. I have a pretty good understanding of how my camera works, lighting, etc….but propping and styling is a weakness. When I look at the photos of food bloggers and food photographers that I really admire, I notice that they seem to have a “signature”…for example, Deb of Smitten Kitchen usually photographs against her charcoalish countertop, Melissa of The Faux Martha against an all-white background (which I’ve been experimenting with), and Heidi of 101 Cookbooks has an unreal white and gray marble countertop that provides an amazing backdrop for the majority of her photo. Well, I have an unattractive laminate countertop that was installed in 1977 and my, um, “backsplash” is a painted wall. I refuse to spend a billion dollars on props and we eat everything that I cook so a lot of my photos are taken in the Corelle stoneware we bought several years back. Keepin’ it real. I want a signature of my own…something that people recognize as Chattavore just like I can immediately spot a Smitten Kitchen photo on Pinterest or wherever else. I think if I can find my own propping/styling….style I can then focus on increasing the quality of my photography.
Anyway, the hunt for a signature style led us to Southeastern Salvage on Saturday in search of tile, wood, textiles, etc. We walked away with a market basket to replace the one that I bought at Target last year that is on its last leg and one of these days one of those milk jars is just going to come bursting out. But anyway….Lee Highway is not really a road where you want to make a left turn not at a light, so we ended up turning back toward Hamilton Place as we left. If you haven’t noticed, there are not an awful lot of local restaurants around HP (I suspect that the rent is too high for most mom & pop operations) so we knew we were going to end up somewhere on Brainerd or East Brainerd Road and finally decided on Gollywhoppers.
Gollywhoppers has been around for a long time (since 1997) but because we don’t spend an awful lot of time in that part of town we’ve never eaten there. They are located in a fairly large strip mall sort of building on East Brainerd Road as it nears Brainerd. When you walk in, there are menus on the table as well as menus by the entrance so you can decide what you want to order before you walk up to the counter if you’re like me and you can’t stand to feel like the cashiers are staring at you while you try to decide what you want to order off the menu over the counter. We sat down at a table to decide what to order.
The menu includes sandwiches, of course-half sandwiches or the Gollywhopper whole sandwiches, each available on French, cracked wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread, each baked from scratch (they also serve hamburgers and a hot dog that they claim is the best in town). They have baked potatoes, including the super-stuffed potato topped with all sorts of things, including chili and cheese as well as a barbecue stuffed potato. Their salad menu includes a taco salad, a southwest grilled chicken salad, a stuffed tomato, and their salad bar. They serve several soups including soup specials on certain days and chili, of course, which can be made into chili pie, a ubiquitous Southern dish (known in some parts of the country as Frito pie and in other parts “walking tacos”) of corn chips topped with chili, cheese, and onions-theirs also has slaw, sour cream, and jalapeños. They also have a handful of homemade sides: baked beans, slaw, pasta salad, and potato salad. Finally, their dessert menu includes a laundry list of made-from-scratch bars which are showcased in a case by the registers, including red velvet bars, lemon bars, peanut butter swirl bars, Special K bars…..the list goes on. You can purchase a whole (very large) bar for $3.99 or a bite-sized (more manageable for one person) bar for $0.99.
I love a good, messy, overstuffed baked potato so I seriously considered ordering the super-stuffed potato, but I really wanted to try a sandwich so I finally settled on a half pimento cheese sandwich on cracked wheat bread (I thought about French bread but wasn’t sure how “crusty” the French bread would be and pimento cheese doesn’t really pair all that well with crusty bread) with taco soup (served with crackers or cornbread….I decided on cornbread). This is served as a combo that comes with a drink, so I got sweet tea (as did Philip). By the way, when they say “sweet tea”, they mean it. We ended up cutting it with unsweetened and I added a lot of lemon (as I always do). Here’s a fun Chattavore fact…..I used to drink “sweet tea” (as everyone likes to make fun of us Southerners for saying) constantly; it was pretty much the only thing I drank. In 2006 when Philip had a surgery and had to water up to prep for anesthesia I joined him in the water deluge and we’ve never looked back. I haven’t made iced tea in years except for a party….but it’s still an occasional dining out treat if real brewed tea (not nasty Nestea) is available.
The bread is not sliced bread but rather individual rolls. Since the half sandwich is actually served on a full roll the same size that I’d serve if I was making sandwiches on rolls at home, I’m dying to see what the whole sandwich is served on and should have asked but didn’t even think about that till just now. The cracked wheat bread was fresh and soft, obviously not 100% whole wheat but the perfect texture for pimento cheese. Their pimento cheese was not a spread like I made but more drippy with whole shreds of cheese. It was clearly homemade with large chunks of pimento. Quite delicious, and I could have eaten the whole sandwich if I hadn’t forced myself to stop. The taco soup was not like any I’ve had before (the taco soup I make has beans and corn in it, this did not) but quite tasty with lots of tomatoes, ground beef, and shredded pork, shredded cheese, and crushed tortilla chips at the bottom with perfect seasoning. The cornbread was sweet and was pretty good as sweet cornbread goes, but you know I’m a savory cornbread girl. They did get points for serving it with real butter as opposed to “buttery spread”.
Philip decided on the Reuben, which isn’t actually listed on the menu. He was going to order corned beef with whatever on it….as he started ordering he asked the cashier what came on the corned beef sandwich and the guy told him that it was up to him unless he ordered the Reuben…so if you want a Reuben, know it’s available to you. Philip decided on that with rye bread (he was given a choice of rye or pumpernickel) with chips and a drink. They have a wide variety of chips available and Philip decided on jalapeño flavored. He liked the Reuben, saying it was good, not the best he’d had, but good. I tasted it….I’m not really a judge of Reubens because I don’t care much for rye bread (it’s the caraway) but I liked it. The corned beef was tasty, the bread fresh (of course), the cheese a little melty, and the dressing and the sauerkraut brought everything together just like they should on a Reuben. I need to learn to love caraway.
After we ate we were a bit too full to sample any of the bars but I did look at the case just a little wistfully as we walked out. A red velvet bar with cream cheese icing would have ended my day perfectly yesterday but instead I ended up eating Ghirardelli chocolate chips out of the jar from my pantry at 9:30 last night. Oh well. Live and learn. The total for our two combos was about $19. The food was fresh and quick but not too quick, and the service was friendly. There were plenty of people in the store even at almost 2:00 on a Saturday afternoon, so Gollywhoppers has definitely made its mark on the area.
Gollywhoppers closed in late 2014 and has since been replaced by Greg’s Sandwich Works.
Gollywhoppers is located at 6337 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421. You can reach them at 423-855-2001. You can also “like” them on Facebook and check out their website at http://www.gollywhopperstn.com. They are open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They also provide catering with at least 24 hours advanced notice.