I’ve been using the time that Philip has been gone to try and catch up on seeing people that I don’t get to see as often as I would like….so Monday night I met a friend for dinner. We usually try to have lunch during the summer or during my school breaks, but it had been a while. I met her at her place of work in downtown Chattanooga after she got off. When I asked where she wanted to go, she said “Anywhere but The Terminal-that’s what I had for lunch.” Now, The Terminal is on my top 10 list and it is one of my places to review, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for that night, so I was not disappointed. No, I wanted to go to Southern Star-otherwise known as “The Star”-and my friend agreed.
Southern Star, like Blue Ribbon Cafe, is one of those restaurants with chalkboard specials. The specials that night were grilled pork chops and fried chicken. My friend ordered the grilled pork chop, and to be honest with you, I don’t remember what she got on the side! I know there was some cucumber salad, but other than that I don’t remember. I need to start taking notes!
While I love restaurants with chalkbard specials, I rarely order them, and tonight was no different. Instead, I ordered the “Star Combo.” That’s any combination of two of the following items: a Star salad, bowl of soup, half chicken salad sandwich, whole BLT, or whole pimento cheese sandwich. Trying to choose something that could carry over to lunch the next day, I decided on the pimento cheese and the Star salad. I ordered, and the server informed me that I could choose a third side-fries, sweet potato fries, chips, or a veggie from the chalkboard. I decided on fries. I love fries. I really love their fries.
Now, let me say that I am somewhat of a pimento cheese snob. I didn’t touch the stuff until a few years ago when the kitchen at the small school where I worked started serving it for lunch on occasional Fridays (Friday was sandwich day). The kitchen ladies made it from scratch, and I decided to try it, despite the fact that I, for some reason, had convinced myself as a child that I wouldn’t like it. It was great! So now, I will eat pimento cheese from good restaurants or if it is made from scratch, but I still don’t eat the kind that comes in a little plastic tub from the grocery store. The Star has FANTASTIC pimento cheese. It is very obviously homemade, with the individual shreds of cheese still visible and flecks of black pepper mixed in, and the bits of pimento are visible without being too large. The sandwich was huge, so I knew that I would be able to take half of it for lunch on Tuesday.
The salad, well, the salad was wonderful. It was made with mixed greens and was topped with red onion (which I promptly removed-I don’t eat raw onion!) and candied pecans (one of my favorite salad toppings) with a balsamic vinaigrette. I ate every bite of it (except the onions, but you knew that already). And the fries were wonderful. They are hand-cut and very fresh. So good, with a little honey mustard to dip them in. I was a happy camper.
Now, the server asked if we wanted dessert, and we declined, but some of their “Nana pudding” would have been a hit, for sure. They always have great-sounding desserts. I think I’ve only actually eaten dessert there once-some kind of super-yummy either lemon or lime tart. Tonight, though, I would have been in trouble if I’d tried to stuff a dessert on top of all the salad, pimento cheese, and fries.
The service was great, and I can honestly say I have never had bad service at the Star. I have also never had bad food there. I highly recommend the chicken fingers and fries and the BLT pasta salad. They also have a fantastic burger, but it is a rare chalkboard special, so you have to go on just the right day to get it. You can check their daily specials at southernstarrestaurant.com.
Southern Star has two locations. Their downtown Chattanooga location is at 1300 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 (423)267-8899. This location is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday. The Signal Mountain location is at 1210 Taft Highway, Signal Mountain, TN 37377 (423)886-7004. This location offers some menu items from the first location but also offers casseroles and other reheatable items for take-away. The hours for this location are 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for dine-in and take-away. After 1:30, they are open for take-away only until 7 p.m. I haven’t tried this location yet but look forward to reviewing it in the future!