Mike’s Hole in the Wall, Chattanooga TN

Every so often, we have to schedule a restaurant visit around the reality that the owners probably don’t want us to bring along our five year-old. I waited until he was out of town before going to this no-frills dive bar for a burger and a beer.

Well, how many times do you get to visit a hole in the wall with an actual hole in the wall? I read Chattavore’s review of this place and she made the burger and the fries sound delicious, so I came here after work the evening before Thanksgiving. Marie had taken our son to the island to spend the holiday with her family while I planned to work an extra shift. This bar isn’t even ten minutes from my job, so I came by hungry and thirsty and took a seat at the bar. On the wall facing me, there’s a big logo painted. And the O in “Hole” is indeed a hole, a hatch, through which the employees can discard empty bottles. How cute is that?

Speaking of empties, I totally failed in my duty to start reporting on local craft beers. This place may have a local beer list, but, judging from the posters and ads and the bottles held by all the regulars, it’s really a national-brand bar. So I ordered a Newcastle Brown Ale. It’s probably been about a decade since I had one, but I remember it being smooth and tasty and going really well with a good hamburger.

Well, perhaps one day I’ll actually start paying attention to east Tennessee’s local brews, but for now, I’m looking for burgers and Mike’s has a pretty good and juicy one. But hold the phone, these fries are just amazing. They’re hand-cut, flash-fried twice, and seasoned perfectly. Earlier in the day, I had been served some lousy delivery truck fries that somebody left in the vat while they went shopping or took a nap or something. The fries at Mike’s made me even angrier about those. I’d go so far as to say that I can’t think of any fries in Chattanooga quite as good as the ones at Mike’s.

I never saw a menu, but my meal came to around eleven bucks and change. I tipped well and left after the one beer, because many years of very light drinking, to make up for many years of very stupid drinking, have left me a lightweight and a second Newcastle Brown would make me an unsafe driver. It’s not likely that I’d ever be a regular at Mike’s, but it is an upbeat and happy place with a good crowd, great bartenders, and fries so good that they must be tried. I’m very glad that I stopped for dinner, and then I learned that Mike had another restaurant – two, in fact – where I’d be more comfortable taking the five year-old to try these fries.

Mike’s Pizza and Burgers is in a strip mall just a little south of here, in Fort Oglethorpe. (For our purposes, the Georgia towns of Rossville, Ringold, and Fort Oglethorpe are all as much a part of the Chattanooga metro area as Hixson and Soddy-Daisy. The sales tax is lower in Georgia, but gasoline’s a good bit cheaper in Tennessee.) A few Saturdays later, we drove down to Battlefield Parkway and didn’t have quite the runaway hit that the bar was for me. Marie didn’t think much of the chili, and our son only ate about half his food, but we all agreed that the fries were amazing and the service was really great. I noted here that they do have a small selection of craft beers, including a couple from the good people at Red Hare back in Marietta GA.

Mike’s third restaurant is a barbecue place called Mike’s Smokehouse, and I checked it out for the first time in early December. More about that in a couple of weeks…

Mike’s Hole in the Wall
538 Cherokee Blvd
Chattanooga, TN 37405

Mike’s Pizza and Burgers
2535 Battlefield Pkwy
Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742

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!