Word on the street is…delicious. The burgeoning food truck movement has pulled into Chattanooga, making several tasty stops around town. Unlike trucks in other cities that play high-tech hide and seek by tweeting their location day-of, Chattanooga trucks keep a more regular route. Just call it Southern hospitality. Speaking of mannerliness, let us first introduce you to our roving restaurateurs:
Paving the way for Chattanooga’s food truck movement, Southern Burger was the city’s first truck, delivering hand-patted goodness since April 2011. Ingredients hail from local and regional farmers and bakers, meaning your burger could’ve been mooing just days ago, your bun was baked on Signal Mountain that morning and the French fries are hand-cut.
Famous Nater’s World Famous
The terms “slow food” and “truck” don’t seem synonymous, but Chef Nathan Flynt is full of surprises. Cranking up the city’s second food truck, he drives home the point that high quality food can also be fast. Famous Nater’s serves seasonal food with a side of wit, with sandwich names like “Jimmy Carter” – 12-hour braised pork, peach jalapeno relish and cream cheese on a Niedlov’s Bakery bun.
Serving as your guide to Korean flavors, owner Whit Altizer recently pulled into town from a four-year stint in Gwangju, South Korea. After buying his truck in New York he immediately began supplying unsuspecting Chattanoogans with delicious Korean-Mexican fusion – tasty little tacos with ingredients that are a mouthful to say, such as dakgalbi (spicy chicken), galbi pork and bulgolgi tofu. Delicious sides include traditional Korean delicacies such as cucumber kimchi and marinated soybean sprouts.
A Taste of Argentina
The country that gave us the tango also has some mighty scrumptious cuisine. Truck owner’s John and Darci Cena waltzed onto the food truck scene this April, offering a simple yet mouth-watering menu that includes empanadas (handheld pastries filled with meat), choripan (Argentine sausage sandwich with chimichurri sauce), and milanesa (thinly sliced chicken that’s breaded and fried served on fresh bread).
Monkey Town Donuts
The irresistible smell of these mini donuts cooking draws street food devotees like moths to a flame. Sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, what these donuts lack in diameter they more than make up for in flavor. Technically Monkey Town is a food trailer that owners Kris and Jennifer Spengler tow behind their pickup. But when it comes to fresh donuts, we don’t get hung up on particulars.
Owners Tiffany, Matt and Shawn are the city’s most popular jerks – er, soda jerks. That’s because they’re slinging soda they make from scratch using only the finest organic fruit and herbs they can find plus cane sugar. This bubbly operation is small (a cart with a soda tap and a few handmade syrups) but their flavors are big, such as strawberry jalapeno, apple pie, hibiscus lemon and orange basil.
So where can you sample this street corner smorgasbord? Glad you asked. Here’s the handy-dandy schedule. You can also check vendor’s websites to catch them on the fly.
Thursday – Street Food Thursday at Warehouse Row
1110 Market Street, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Conveniently located amid one of Chattanooga’s hottest shopping spots, trucks and carts crowd the covered driveway of Warehouse Row every Thursday, including Famous Nater’s World Famous, Taco Sherpa, Taste of Argentina, Monkey Town Donuts, Pure Sodaworks and more. (Insider’s tip: if you’re craving a burger, Southern Burger recently opened a stationery location in Warehouse Row’s downstairs food court.)
Friday – Fresh on Fridays
Miller Plaza, 850 Market Street, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Not only can you grab a hot lunch at Fresh on Fridays, you can also pick up a bouquet of flowers, handmade soap from a local artisan or produce from a local farmer. Local restaurants also come out for the miniature mid-day bazaar such as Lupi’s and Good Dog. Food trucks include Famous Nater’s World Famous, Southern Burger Co., Taco Sherpa, A Taste of Argentina, Pure Sodaworks, Monkey Town Donuts and more.
Saturday – Northshore
Corner of Manufacturers Road and Cherokee Boulevard, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
A rotating roster of trucks park in front of Renaissance Park each Saturday, the newest location in the street food schedule.
Sunday – The Chattanooga Market
First Tennessee Pavilion
All the street foodies cruise to the Sunday Market, dishing out tasty vittles to enormous crowds each week. In addition to all the food trucks mentioned above, local restaurants set up carts and trucks in the back including Lupi’s Pizza, The Yellow Deli, Good Dog hot dogs, Velo Coffee and many more.