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Monday, 02 October 2017 21:53

Savor the Fall Season

Growing up, fall meant soccer games and collecting acorns. Starting out in the restaurant business, fall smelled like the burning hickory of the oven at Bottega and working football weekends in Birmingham AL. Professionally, fall was the memorable season when my first restaurant opened. During the fall of 2000, a perfect mix of quality culinary training and joyful disorganization pushed local, seasonal fall vegetables into the market. Well ahead of the national curve, long before there were “locavores” or “foodies,” Chattanooga became a place where it was OK to serve asparagus in October, but savvy diners knew better. After all, it’s the distinct seasons and change in the weather that helps to make Chattanooga so nice, and part of how we celebrate that is with the food we eat.chattanooga restaurant fall menu

At Public House, we have always prided ourselves in following each season with the food we serve. While modern growing techniques and transportation make it possible to serve a trendy item like brussels sprouts all year, we think it’s important to slow down and savor each season and celebrate the produce that defines it. Each fall, for a brief time, we reintroduce fall squash, a fall bean and fried green tomatoes. Tomatoes, freshly plucked from the vine before they ripen so they do not rot, are breaded, fried and served with a classic, Mississippi “comeback” sauce. Butternut squash, which is abundant from our local farmers, is carefully roasted with rosemary and thyme and then mashed with a drizzle of sweet honey. This fall, we are introducing slow-cooked, cranberry beans paired with smoky bacon and a hint of spice. Until the first frost tells us it is time to move to the winter crop, we celebrate the cool in the air, football on Saturdays, and a menu that indicates it is fall.

Thursday, 09 January 2014 16:35

Fried Chicken: The Ultimate Southern Classic

fried-chicken-public-house-chattanoogaOf all traditional Southern dishes, fried chicken might be the most iconic. Although fried chicken can be found in other culinary traditions such as Korean and Chinese cooking, when you say “fried chicken” you can’t help but think of the South. Even so, fried chicken is a wonderful example of how many different culinary histories met and blended here to create a new style of cooking. The dish has roots in both Scottish and West African kitchens, and was transformed with new ingredients like bacon fat and lard as it became a true part of the South.

Like pimento cheese, fried chicken has enjoyed being both a special occasion treat and an every-day staple during its long history. Once made with young, tender spring chickens and pullets, fried chicken is no longer a seasonal dish, but one that can be enjoyed year round. It’s not only gone from a spring and summer treat made by hand for company or on holidays but become as much a part of fast food as hamburgers and hotdogs. Never the less, every Southern cook has their own way of approaching the classic, from Colonel Sanders’ famous 11 herbs and spice to tweaks to the brine or what kind of oil or lard is used for the frying.

At Public House, we wanted to give fried chicken the star treatment it deserves, the way your grandmother would have, rather than letting it stay at the truck stop or gas station. We wanted to show just how good it can be when you use quality meat and find the perfect balance of salty, savory, sweetm sour, and spicy. Our brine is sweet and salty, the breading crunchy, and everything perfectly fried without getting too greasy. Served up with that classic Southern “vegetable” macaroni and cheese, and topped with our house-made hot sauce, we’ve paid attention to each detail.

Maya Angelou declared “The best comfort food will always be greens, cornbread, and fried chicken.” Whether you are seeking comfort or celebrating, grabbing a quick lunch or wowing guests there are few dishes as versatile as fried chicken. There is a reason that fried chicken remains the reigning dish in Southern cooking. For centuries it has been well-loved and its recipes fiercely guarded, and we’re sure that will continue for centuries more.

Public House | 1110 Market St. Chattanooga, TN 37402 | 423.266.3366
Public House, a downtown Chattanooga restaurant

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