Here’s a little milestone for our blog. Firebox was the first restaurant that our five year-old son spotted and asked to visit.
Around the beginning of the year, when our son was still four, he began “reading” the signs of restaurants and businesses. We realize that in many cases this was really more “recognizing trademarks” than it was “assembling letters into sounds,” but it was still incredibly cute when he started. We’d be out of town somewhere, and Marie and I would call each other’s attention to interesting signs or businesses (“Say, they still have Pizza Inns here,” for example), and, trying to be included, our son would gasp and say “Mommy, Daddy, they have McDonald’s here!”
So, around the time of our first week in Chattanooga, he and I were out running errands and he spotted a place we’d never seen before and he read the sign. “Firebox Grill? What’s that?” I was so pleased that he read it that we came back the following day for lunch.
This restaurant is in a very surprising location for something locally-owned and independent. It’s right off I-75 exit 5 with all the interstate fast food options, between a Shoney’s and a gas station. It was originally one of the locations of a small local chain called Glen-Gene Deli, which we visited a little later on, and will tell you about some other time.
Bassam Issa purchased the Glen-Gene Deli back in 1978, and, two years ago, decided to revamp this location into a new concept. Firebox Grill opened in June 2014, with Bassam’s nephew Akram managing the restaurant. It’s principally a burger place, but they also do Phillys, chicken, and tacos, among other things. The burgers are pretty close to average. They’re certainly not ground fresh, but, for frozen patties, they’re passable.
We came back the following week with Marie to try a few other things on the menu. The Philly that I had this time was okay, nowhere near as good as Dave’s or Roy’s in Atlanta, but I’ve had worse. Marie, however, was pleased with her grilled chicken sandwich and the fresh tomatoes on the toppings bar.
I’m glad that a local business seems to be doing well in a corridor dominated by national chains, but it left me more curious to go to Hixson and try Glen-Gene than make a third visit here. Nevertheless, I’ll always remember it for my son’s first great job reading.
7025 Shallowford Rd
Chattanooga, TN 37421
You can see all the restaurants that we have visited for our blog on this map, with links back to the original blog posts. It’s a terrific resource for anybody planning a road trip through the southeast!