The Blue Plate, Chattanooga TN

Last month, after a kid-friendly concert at the Creative Discovery Museum, we walked a couple of blocks north for a very nice dinner at a great local restaurant.

I’d been seeing that billboard on US-27 for months, promising great fried chicken for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and had been intrigued. It advertised a place called the Blue Plate, and I thought that would make a nice Friday evening dinner when we were downtown for some event or other.

That event came in March, when the Creative Discovery Museum hosted one of their occasional child-friendly evening events called Jam & Bread, and a local duo called the Party Truck played some goofy songs while a mob of under-tens danced and bopped balloons around. He had a blast, and even though the Museum was kind enough to provide pizza for our low-priced admission, we just treated that as a single-slice appetizer. After our son had played until his nominal bedtime, we walked to the restaurant, battling a bizarrely cold wind. February and March were so weird in east Tennessee. 70 one day and 45 the next, week after week.

In Atlanta in 2015, Ron Eyester had briefly run a restaurant called Diner in Atlantic Station. I think I must have enjoyed that place more than anybody else in the city; so many people had it in for the once angry chef, and for Atlantic Station, that people snickered when it failed. The Blue Plate reminds me of what Diner could have been. It’s a very nice take on standard diner fare. The presentation is modern and attractive to younger guests, and the kitchen uses regionally-sourced food where possible, but the menu emphasizes classic comfort food with a contemporary flair.

Our son had a burger and Marie ordered a salad with steak and a light balsamic dressing. I had a fried chicken breast with homemade chips. We were all pleased with our meals and the really good service. The chicken was juicy and really flavorful. We shared a few bites of each other’s selections, and nobody was too envious.

The diner seems to skew a little younger than us; it’s favored by the young professionals in tech jobs who’ve made homes in the Scenic City’s awesome downtown over the last decade. It shares a space with a bar called Local 191 that offers that “we call our bartenders ‘mixologists’ ” feel that Instagrammers seem to enjoy. And as is often the case in trendier restaurants like this, deliberately poor acoustics mean the music seems a little louder than it actually is. So it might not be a quiet place to go, but it’s a popular one with good food and good service.

The Blue Plate
191 Chestnut Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402

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