The Patio, Please

Trip Start Mar 07, 1997
Trip End Dec 25, 1998

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Friday, September 11, 1998

Go with me? Outdoor dining has just gotten pleasant again, as the humidity eases its grip and the skies remain blue. "Which way to the patio?" I asked, at some interesting downtown restaurants. Try these three.

New Orleans is famed for its courtyards, and Chattanooga's Cajun claim offers outdoor respite too. Tucked away behind the Boiled Frog is a tiny patio, replete with wrought-iron gate. Shaded from street noises, this little haven seats a few for red beans and rice with andouille sausage, or shrimp served Creole, grilled, or piled on a po-boy. Flowers bloom in brick-edged beds, and soon the Saturday night crawfish boils begin. Live blues and jazz on weekends; frog legs anytime.

Changing from old and brick to new and slick, at the other end of Market Street we find tables in Jack's Alley, a newly paved pink-and-concrete passage that leads through the block to Broad Street.

The Panera Bread Café claims a corner of the Alley, its big brown umbrellas hovering over bowl-sized latte royales and sugar-drizzled Bavarian pretzels, or sourdough bread bowls filled with soup to schedule - from Sunday's cheddar to Friday's chowder. Line up at the counter inside to purchase your daily baked-fresh breads from baskets of baguettes, rounds, and rolls. So European!

On the Broad Street side of the Alley, a railing cordons off outdoor dining for Sticky Fingers, keeping sidewalk bustle a step away. The smoky-sweet smell of barbecue overlays the good-time picnic atmosphere and you can eat pork till the cows come home. Ribs are the main attraction, toothpicks optional.

I counted nine more restaurants on Market and Broad with outdoor tables. Can you find them all before it's time for earmuffs? See you there.

The Boiled Frog, Panera Bread Café, Sticky Fingers, Chattanooga
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