The Innside restaurant in downtown Chattanooga is the best restaurant in Chattanooga you may have never heard of!
All right, guys…I am very close to being ready to write a follow-up of my post from a few years back, Chattanooga’s Top Five Burgers (According to Chattavore). I’m shakin’ things up, y’all, I can tell you that much. I’m not quite ready, though, so give me a couple of weeks. Part of the holdup is getting to a few places that I can’t easily visit during the school year when I’m working full-time. I knew that I needed to visit Zarzour’s and I’d had several people tell me that I needed to have a burger at the Innside Restaurant.
My reaction to that was, “What in the world is this Innside Restaurant of which you speak?” I’d never seen it or even heard of it. Except that I probably had and just didn’t realize what I was looking at. Turns out that the Innside Restaurant has been on Chestnut Street (in the Pioneer Building) for over 20 years. Apparently I don’t get to Chestnut Street much? It’s pretty much right across the street from Figgy’s Sandwich Shop, another spot that I need to visit.
We had been told to try to get there before the lunch crowd, so we arrived a few minutes before 11:00. There were still quite a few tables open, some people starting the lunch crowd and others finishing up breakfast. They stop serving breakfast at 10:30, which our server, Holly, made sure to let us know when she came to take our drink order. No matter…we were there for the burgers. Anyway, Holly was a very friendly and energetic girl who told us that the Innside opened before she was born. Shut your mouth, Holly. I was probably in high school (feeling old….I turn 37 in 3 weeks, y’all!). She brought us our waters then took our orders.
The menus are on the tables and the prices of each menu item include tax. We perused very briefly but honestly I didn’t notice much other than the burgers. I will have to make a trip back to try other items on the menu! I decided on a regular cheeseburger with no onions ($5.25), while Philip got a bacon cheeseburger all the way ($6.25). All the way means mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion. The burgers were gigantic, made with pretty standard meat on an also pretty standard sesame seed bun. The lettuce was iceberg. They were topped with American cheese. However, if you think that I am saying that the “pretty standard” part of this burger description means that I was unimpressed with the burger…that is not the case. It was delicious! The meat was well-seasoned and well cooked, and there was not an inordinate amount of mayonnaise or mustard. My only complaint was that there might have been a little too much lettuce; however, it didn’t interfere with the structural integrity of the burger too much, as it held together all the way to the last bite (and yes, I ate the whole thing!). So score: meat, 3; bread, 3; cheese, 4; toppings, 3; size, 4; structural integrity, 4.5. Overall burger rating: 3.58. That seems like a pretty low score considering how good this burger was. We really enjoyed it!
On the side, we got fries and tater tots. Again, pretty standard frozen fries and tots. However, the tater tots tasted like they were either fried in some interesting oil or had some sort of unusual seasoning on them, but Holly told us that they were just fried in peanut oil. They don’t have any special seasoning on them either. Maybe it’s the brand? Who knows? Anyway, you know I love skin-on fries, but I pretty much love all fried potato products as long as they are crisp rather than limp and soggy, so even a frozen fry or tot gets a “still pretty good” rating from me.
I am fairly certain this place has a lot of regulars. They seemed to know quite a few of the people that were dining with them. It’s not hard to understand why, because everyone that we encountered (which was several employees) was extremely nice. We were concerned prior to going about whether such a small spot would take credit cards, but they do (with the understanding that there is a $0.25 cent additional charge to pay with a card on orders under $5.00). The prices are pretty reasonable considering the amount of food you get…our order (2 waters, fries, tots, cheeseburger, and bacon cheeseburger) was $14.00 pre-tip. We really enjoyed the Innside Restaurant, and while their location/hours will prevent us from going back often, we will definitely go again, this time to try non-burger menu items or perhaps a special (they change their specials daily, and you can see each day’s specials on their Facebook page). I can’t speak to the other menu items, but the Innside Restaurant is definitely a great place to go for a tasty burger!
The Innside Restaurant is located at 800 Chestnut Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 (in the Pioneer Building). You can call them at 266-7687. They are open 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Friday, serving breakfast until 10:30 daily. They do not have a website page, but you can like Innside Restaurant on Facebook.