Mean Mug Coffeehouse

It’s Spring break! It’s Spring break! I am excited to have a week off and I’m very excited that the weather this weekend has been perfect, especially since it’s going to be a little chillier than I like this week (51 degrees is the predicted high temperature on Tuesday). While you might read a comment on here about the Tennessee summer heat, you will never read a complaint. Since it was a wonderful 80 degree day, we were in the mood for something a little on the not-so-heavy-side and since we were headed down to main to pick up eggs and coffee at Enzo’s, we decided to stop in next door at Mean Mug Coffeehouse.

Mean Mug has been around for a few years but somehow we haven’t made it there yet (which is surprising since they are owned by the same guys that owns The Terminal and Honest Pint, two of our favorite places). We hit it at a good time, around 1:30. There was no one else in line when we walked in and were greeted by a friendly guy who showed us the menu and the special (an Italian breakfast casserole) and talked to us about the pastries and desserts in the case, including a mascarpone brunch parfait with strawberries, layered in a Mason jar, Key lime pie, hummingbird cake, and oatmeal cookie sandwiches (basically oatmeal cream pies). They serve your standard coffee drinks, mostly made with Velo coffee but they are featuring a special “guest” coffee right now by Argo Sons. They have their own Velo blend and you know I had to pick up a bag of that. The atmosphere was nice, with dark wood, varied seating (couches, tables, a counter), and a nice outdoor seating area.

The menu includes breakfast (biscuits, steel-cut oats, house made (!) yogurt), starters (hummus, salads, soup du jour), and sandwiches. Breakfast is served all day and I’d like to try out their biscuits at some point (you know, to see if they measure up to mine) but as soon as I saw the BAT sandwich-bacon, avocado, and tomato-I knew that was what I would order. The sandwiches are served panini-style on white or wheat bread or you can order a wrap. I decided to get it with Brie. Each sandwich comes with a choice of side-chips, cheese grits, fruit, or pasta salad-and I decided on the grits. The sandwich was large but not ridiculously so, nicely grilled, with a perfect balance of bacon, mashed avocado, tomato, and melty Brie. I have never ordered a sandwich with Brie and it’s definitely an unusual cheese offering but it was delicious on this sandwich, which held together much more nicely than many grilled sandwiches that include non-cheese foods. The grits were maybe a little thinner than I’m used to but delicious, very peppery, not super-cheesy.
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Philip decided to order the Dijon Frise with turkey, Brie, sliced green apples, sautéed onions, and Dijon mustard. He also opted for wheat bread and cheese grits. The sandwich was great with a great sweet-tart-salty thing going on with the green apples, the turkey, and the Brie. Philip doesn’t like Brie usually, much to my chagrin (I keep trying to fix this, but it isn’t working, you guys. I think it’s the rind….I think they make rindless Brie but I haven’t found it in a store yet.) but he thought that it worked well here. His only suggestion was that it needed more sautéed onions.
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When I saw the hummingbird cake in the case I knew that I was going to have to order it. This is a recipe that I’m going to be making here soon…in case you don’t know, hummingbird cake is a traditional Southern cake with mashed bananas, pineapple, pecans, and cinnamon iced with cream cheese frosting. Theirs was amazing, with a perfect banana flavor and just the right amount of icing. Philip also ordered a Chai latte (I forgot to take a picture). It was very good, not overly sweet with a decent amount of spice.

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I liked the food here a lot. I’ll admit that I felt about fifteen years too old to be in there, though, since almost every other patron had a laptop and one or more textbooks…but I won’t hold that against them. The food was excellent and I need to go back to try some more of the menu or items from the case and the coffee drinks.

Mean Mug Coffeehouse is located at 114 W. Main Street, Chattanooga, TN 37408. They are open Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m., and Friday-Saturday 7 a.m.-11 p.m. You can call them at 423-825-4206. You can check out their menu at http://meanmugcoffee.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Menu-1-2014.pdf. You can like Mean Mug on Facebook and follow @MeanMugCoffee on Twitter.

Other restaurants in the area: Enzo’s Market Café, Blue Orleans, Bluegrass Grill, Main Street Meats, and Taqueria Jalisco.

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