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