Cajun vibe at Park­way Pour­house

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - DINING - Con­tact Jim Tan­ner at JFTan­ner@gmail.com. Fol­low him at twit­ter.com/ JFTan­ner. BY JIM TAN­NER COR­RE­SPON­DENT

For a city with the ben­e­fit of hav­ing the Ten­nessee River flow­ing through the mid­dle of down­town, fig­ur­ing out how to in­crease the growth of the river­front has proven stub­bornly elu­sive.

But the Ten­nessee River­walk ex­ten­sion down­stream from Ross’s Land­ing has opened up new hous­ing op­tions, spawned new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and an ex­panded foot­print for res­tau­rants in Chat­tanooga.

Among res­tau­rants to open in this new and grow­ing area is Park­way Pour­house, a Cre­ole food res­tau­rant lo­cated on River­front Park­way near Chat­tanooga Whiskey’s new dis­tillery and ware­house. This new eatery — es­tab­lished by the same own­er­ship that brought Feed Co. Ta­ble & Tavern to the South­side — is try­ing to bring a lit­tle bit of the Big Easy to the Scenic City.

THE SPACE

The res­tau­rant is lo­cated in a new build­ing with plen­ti­ful seat­ing in­side and out. The lo­ca­tion is sur­rounded by lots of new con­do­mini­ums that have been built in the area in re­cent years. These new res­i­dents should give Park­way Pour­house the po­ten­tial to be­come the neigh­bor­hood hang­out for this grow­ing neigh­bor­hood.

The cov­ered out­door seat­ing area in­cludes a putting green to keep vis­i­tors en­ter­tained as they drink and en­joy snacks or a meal.

In­side, a large rec­tan­gu­lar bar dom­i­nates the main din­ing space. Ta­bles and booths pro­vide a va­ri­ety of seat­ing op­tions, and the ur­ban decor is wel­com­ing with­out be­ing stuffy.

THE MENU

The menu at Park­way Pour­house is driven by a New Or­leans vibe. Cajun dishes can be found through­out the menu, but the res­tau­rant’s fare re­mains flex­i­ble enough to meet the tastes of a wide va­ri­ety of din­ers.

While etouf­fee and gumbo are fea­tured as sig­na­ture dishes, there are plenty of burg­ers, sand­wiches and flat­breads as well. The wide va­ri­ety of starters in­cludes such tra­di­tional pub fare as wings or spinach dip, plus re­gional of­fer­ings such as corn frit­ters and a pi­mento cheese flat­bread called Diener Bread. They are priced from $4 to $16.

The sand­wich menu, $9-$14, of­fers New Or­leans-style Po’ Boys (here called “Pour Boys”), while also adding burg­ers, fish ta­cos, chicken and fish sand­wiches.

All told, Park­way Pour­house does a good job of be­ing true to its Cajun theme while pro­vid­ing other op­tions for those who may want more tra­di­tional fare.

THE OR­DER

On an early Novem­ber evening, when Chat­tanooga was fi­nally be­gin­ning to feel some fall weather, I chose to go full New Or­leans with my meal. That’s what Park­way Pour­house bases its menu on, so it seemed the way to go.

The meal be­gan with an or­der of boudin. The tra­di­tional Cajun pork and rice sausage, served with crack­ers and Cajun mus­tard, was ten­der and sub­tly fla­vored. Sur­pris- in­gly, it was not a firm sausage, but ten­der and flaky when sliced, mak­ing it a much lighter starter than one would ex­pect. It was a pleas­ant way to start the meal.

For the en­tree, a bowl of chicken, duck and an­douille gumbo with rice was a nice way to ward off the fall chill. The gumbo was fla­vor­ful, but not too spicy, and was fill­ing with­out be­ing too heavy.

Etouf­fee is on the list for an­other visit, but gumbo proved to be a good meal for a chilly week­end evening.

THE SER­VICE

The staff at Park­way Pour­house was help­ful and friendly for a solo meal eaten at the bar. The res­tau­rant was busy, but not too crowded, with cou­ples and groups of friends en­joy­ing drinks and food through­out the visit.

With River­front Park­way par­tially closed for Head of the Hooch, the res­tau­rant was still filled with a good group of vis­i­tors, and its staff was wel­com­ing and help­ful through­out the en­tire din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

THE VER­DICT

There are other op­tions for Cajun food in Chat­tanooga, but it still is a fairly unique cui­sine for this area. Park­way Pour­house of­fers a new and wel­come din­ing op­tion to a grow­ing part of Chat­tanooga while not al­low­ing it­self to be lim­ited to a nar­row style of food.

Park­way Pour­house is a nice ad­di­tion to the River­front Park­way area, and seems primed to serve as the neigh­bor­hood bar for those who live there as well as a great new place for any­one look­ing to try some­thing new.

It’s a taste of the Big Easy with the com­fort of a cor­ner bar.

PHOTO BY JIM TAN­NER

A bowl of chicken, duck and an­douille gumbo with rice is $13 at Park­way Pour­house.

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