The Big Chill and Grill is a popular bar on Chattanooga’s North Shore that offers great food in an atmosphere that is family-friendly during the day.
The Big Chill & Grill has been around in Chattanooga for quite a few years, recently moving from Market Street (next door to Taco Mac) to the North Shore at the corner of Cherokee and Manufacturers. In the process of the move, The Big Chill became a non-smoking establishment (though they do have a terrace for smokers), making it a more diner-friendly environment. During daytime hours, The Big Chill is no longer a 21 and over establishment.
The Big Chill and Grill is a seat-yourself environment with lots of seating options: low tables in an open-air indoor seating area in the front, high-top tables or the bar, or low tables in the the back as well as the terrace where smoking is allowed. We were there around 5:30 on Sunday afternoon so it was not terribly crowded. We took a seat and our server was with us quickly, bringing menus and water.
The Big Chill and Grill is known for their strong drinks. Frozen drink mixers are constantly running behind the bar and they have a huge list of “concoctions”-frozen specialty drinks. I’ve had one of these drinks exactly one time and that was the time that I discovered exactly what my limit was (don’t have one of those drinks on an empty stomach-you’ve been warned!)….so I stuck with water. They also have an extensive selection of draught and bottled beers.
We decided to have the fried green tomatoes appetizer. It came with honey dijon mustard and a slightly sweet-spicy Asian chili sauce for dipping. The cornmeal coating was light and the tomatoes were cooked well. They could have been drained a little better-they were slightly greasy-but they were well-seasoned and tasty. Other appetizers included the standard mozzarella sticks and fried mushrooms, chips and salsa, chips and queso, and nachos (which I had on the night of the aforementioned drink when I realized that I was making a huge mistake drinking that strong drink on an empty stomach. They were quite good.).
The meal selections included salads, sandwiches, burgers, and entrees (they also have brunch from 11-3 on Saturday and Sunday and serve a lunch menu from 11-3 Monday through Friday). Tina, our server, recommended the chicken salad melter, which she described as “kind of like a grilled cheese sandwich with chicken salad”. Pretty good description. The melter is chicken salad, made with hard-boiled eggs and pickle relish, and cheddar, grilled on sourdough bread. I decided to take her recommendation and ordered the melter with house-made chips. I liked the sandwich a lot and remembered that Philip had eaten it once before, which was actually when I discovered that I like chicken salad made with eggs and relish (why haven’t I made that for you guys yet?). It was not greasy and it was a very large sandwich (I wasn’t able to finish it). The chips were not quite as crispy as I would have liked but still tasted pretty good. They were dusted with seasoned salt and were a little tiny bit sweet-I could swear that they were also dusted with a little sugar. By the way, fries and fried okra were also offered with sandwiches (and I’m sure that, perhaps with a bit of an upcharge, you could sub in one of the other sides like the homestyle green beans, which I’ve heard are amazing).
Philip decided on the chicken fried chicken, which is two large pieces of boneless fried chicken topped with white peppered gravy, skin-on mashed potatoes, fried okra, two deviled eggs, and a Sister Schubert’s roll (really! It’s on the menu!). He thought that the chicken was really juicy and flavorful, though he was pretty sure that the gravy was from a mix. The mashed potatoes are made from scratch and were well seasoned and had a great texture. I didn’t try the deviled eggs, but they had pickle relish in them and were sprinkled with paprika (I just like the fact that they include them on their menu….deviled eggs are quite an unusual menu item!). I am fairly certain that the okra was from frozen, though it still tasted pretty good and didn’t have the super-heavy jacket coating that so many fried varieties have. I just want to find a restaurant that makes fried okra from scratch!
All in all, though there are a few menu items that are frozen or from a package, I think that the menu and The Big Chill and Grill is pretty good for a “bar” menu and I know that there are quite a few items that are made fresh in-house. The prices are reasonable, with our total for fried green tomatoes, a chicken salad sandwich, and chicken fried chicken coming to $28 and some change. By the way, those frozen drinks are $6.50. The new location is really nice and well-decorated. I read some complaints about loud music on Urbanspoon and we definitely did not think that the music (which was early nineties hits like Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison”-score!) was too loud, though I’m sure that they turn it up at night when it’s more of a bar crowd.
Check out The Big Chill and Grill for great homestyle food and delicious drinks!
The Big Chill and Grill is located at 103 Cherokee Boulevard, Chattanooga, TN 37405. You can call them at (423) 267-2445. They are open 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sundays. Their website is http://www.bigchillandgrill.com. You can also like the Big Chill & Grill on Facebook. By the way, The Big Chill was recently cited for overserving with a consequence of having their license to serve alcohol suspended for six days. According to their website, as of 8/9/14 they are appealing this decision and are still serving alcohol until the appeal is considered.