We had visited this chain’s Atlanta location some years ago and left pleasantly surprised. We were downtown on Easter Sunday and wanted to visit one of the places that were within walking distance and gave it a try.
We had a very, very busy Easter. One of the city’s churches takes over Coolidge Park for a mammoth event that includes live music and 100,000 plastic eggs. All of them contain candy, except for a rare handful of specials that have even better treats. I think the volunteers begin stuffing these eggs 364 days in advance to get it done. I dropped Marie and our son at the corner of Market and Frazier, so they could get in position promptly, and parked on the other side of the river. By the time I hiked back across the Walnut Street Bridge, hundreds and hundreds of kids were mobbing those eggs below me.
We reconnected and walked back over the river and let our son play at Creative Discovery Museum for an hour and a half. We arrived just as they opened, and it was still nice and cool so we could enjoy the outdoor exhibits on the roof without getting uncomfortable.
When it was time to get some lunch, I decided we’d try Moe’s if they were open, and they were. The chain is headquartered in Colorado but got its start in the Tuscaloosa area. In 2013, we were invited to visit their first Atlanta store. You can read that story here and get some backstory about how the business developed, but the important takeaway is that we went into Moe’s skeptical and cynical and left very surprised at how pleasant the experience was.
Downtown Chattanooga already has a successful Sticky Fingers and Puckett’s Grocery within walking distance of each other, and this Moe’s, which is run by the same people who have the local Mellow Mushroom Pizza franchise, is plopped between them on Market Street. Does downtown really need three barbecue franchises so close together? Is three too many? I don’t know, but I do think that Moe’s has a pretty decent product. We enjoyed our lunch here; it wasn’t earthshattering, but it was quite tasty.
Interestingly – some may say “sacreligiously” – they do a rib sandwich here that is quite unlike any rib sandwich you can get in the Tuscaloosa area. You go someplace there or Northport and ask for a rib sandwich, you get three bones between two slices of bread. This sandwich has the meat removed from the bones so you can actually eat it as a sandwich.
The meat is pretty good. It isn’t great. It has a decent flavor, better than some other places in town, and I enjoyed having a house sauce that is not the same dark brown sticky-sweet stuff that every other independent place in town uses. This is a lighter brown with a little more vinegar tang to it.
The sides were all pretty good and the people were welcoming and happy to answer questions. Sure, it’s an out-of-town franchise, but the meal’s pretty good, and if you’re sticking around the tourist core doing parks or museums or climbing walls and don’t feel like exploring, it’s not bad. I’m not in a big hurry to return, but I also wouldn’t object if we’re going to be hanging out there for a few hours again and are in the mood for barbecue.
Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que
221 Market St
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Are you planning a barbecue road trip? You can see all the barbecue restaurants that we have visited for our blog (more than 430 !) on this map, with links back to the original blog posts!