Ankar’s Hoagies, Chattanooga TN

In his book Southern Belly, John T. Edge wrote about the Jacksonville-area “camel rider” pita sandwiches. This served as background for a longer 2012 story in The New York Times, in which he mentioned that the riders have been spotted in a few other cities around the southeast. Edge mentioned Birmingham and Columbus (where, our friend Matt pointed out, camel riders have been a staple at a restaurant called Speakeasy for decades), but it turns out that camel riders have also made it as far as Chattanooga. Continue reading “Ankar’s Hoagies, Chattanooga TN”

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Stationside, Atlanta GA

In May of last year (as mentioned in passing in this story), Marie and I went to see Katie Herzig at a terrific venue called Terminal West, and enjoyed a couple of bottles of Fentiman’s soda before and during the show. We did not really pay attention to where we obtained the drinks. It turns out that the space adjacent to Terminal West is a small restaurant called Stationside. It’s open for lunch, and also for dinner during shows. Continue reading “Stationside, Atlanta GA”

Moon Pie General Store, Chattanooga TN

I heard the most remarkably unkind and unfair assessment of the Moon Pie General Store from one of its neighbors in downtown Chattanooga after we visited here. She growled about them and – no joke – admonished us for taking our three year-old boy there, saying something slanderous. “Well, there’s supporting local business,” I said, not intending to get into an across-the-street skirmish, and concluded that I didn’t need to visit her establishment again. The Moon Pie General Store, after all, made us, and dozens of other people, feel welcome and nobody there badmouthed their fellow merchants. Continue reading “Moon Pie General Store, Chattanooga TN”

Jane St Vodka Soda

One minor frustration in blogging – this really, really is a first-world problem if ever there was one – is that sometimes, people mistake our enthusiasm as though we’re shooting for authority. I’ve actually been asked for suggestions quite a few times with this sort of lead-in: “Say, you’re the barbecue expert, where should I…” or “You know everything about Chattanooga, right?” No, and no! Marie and I, we’re no experts, we’re just enthusiastic learners. And sometimes, we make mistakes. Ridiculous mistakes. Like the time last month when we accepted an invitation to sample a new bottled vodka soda on the eve of its launch in Atlanta and Los Angeles, having no idea whatsoever what vodka soda actually is. Continue reading “Jane St Vodka Soda”

Lupi’s Pizza Pies, Chattanooga TN

To make up for my daughter being away for a week, and, as it turned out, not having quite as perfect a vacation as she had hoped, I asked her what sort of food she’d like when we got to Chattanooga. She picked pizza, and I looked for something promising on the I-75 side of town. Having already tried everybody’s patience by turning the ninety-minute drive from Knoxville into three and change, I didn’t want to press my luck going around and north to Soddy-Daisy or someplace and suggesting that this was still technically the Chattanooga area. No, best just to find something close to the interstate and move on. Continue reading “Lupi’s Pizza Pies, Chattanooga TN”

The Sheik, Jacksonville FL

In the 1960s, as fast food really began to take off, every business owner was looking for an angle. In Jacksonville, a fellow named Tarzan Akel came up with a winking little way to get attention. Several of the area’s delis had been building sandwiches in pita bread for a few years, looking to win the attention of the city’s large Arabic population, and he decided to go full-bore into middle eastern imagery. In 1965, he opened the first of what would be a six-store chain called The Sheik, specializing in a pita sandwich filled with ham, salami, bologna, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion, along with a special sauce. It’s called a camel rider. Continue reading “The Sheik, Jacksonville FL”

Timone’s Local Pizza Joint, Atlanta GA (CLOSED)

Last month, Marie and I enjoyed that rarest of treats: a date night. The kids were being watched and we had time to stretch our legs and enjoy each other’s company without worrying about our respective Baby Alarms going off. The weather outside was pretty awful, blustery and cold with just enough rain to make driving a small aggravation, but by the time we made it to Timone’s Local Pizza Joint in the Morningside neighborhood, it dried up a bit. Continue reading “Timone’s Local Pizza Joint, Atlanta GA (CLOSED)”