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Zarzour's

1627 Rossville Ave., Chattanooga, TN - (423) 266-0424
Posted By Michael Stern on November 28, 2004 4:17 AM
"There is a real gastronomic jewel in Chattanooga, Tennessee," wrote tipster John Reed. "To my knowledge, it has never received the national recognition it deserves." Mr. Reed went on to describe what he called the "proverbial hole-in-the-wall" that in his opinion, offered "the finest home cooking and hospitality in the Southeast."

We were soon on our way; and once we found it, we were blowing kisses back to John Reed, wherever he may be. This is the type of place you'd never, ever find just driving along. It is in the wrong part of town, across from a junkyard and surrounded by buildings that were vacated long ago. When you get lost trying to find it – and chances are good you will – don't bother looking in the phone book to call and ask driving directions. There is no evidence of it in the Yellow Pages; its number is in residential listings, under the name of the manager's mother-in-law. And if you do finally locate the no-man's-land café, you will not be able to eat a meal unless you arrive during the fifteen hours a week that it's open for business: Monday through Friday from 11am to 2pm.

The front eating area and the kitchen are all one space, separated by a short counter with four stools. Behind the counter, manager Shannon Fuller hand-patties and grills huge, gnarled-crust, juice-dripping burgers and Mary Smith prepares meat-and-three lunches on sturdy partitioned plates. "Are you having a cheeseburger or dining off the menu today?" Shannon calls out as new customers walk in the door. The menu is small: a 5-by-7-inch piece of paper with three entrees hand-written every day above a printed list of vegetables. Entrees are such démodé items as baked spaghetti, salmon croquettes, and chicken and dumplings. Sides include turnip greens, creamed potatoes, pinto beans, butter beans, fresh corn, and black-eyed peas. The murky dark greens are especially delicious: pork-sweet, as tender as long-steamed cabbage, and heavy with tonic pot likker.

For dessert, we love millionaire pie, made by the granddaughter of the man who opened the place in 1918 and mother of the current owner. It is pineapple chunks, walnut pieces, green grapes, and mandarin orange slices suspended in a mix of frozen Cool Whip and sweetened condensed milk.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Cornbread
Millionaire Pie
Baked Spaghetti
Hamburger
Fried Chicken Livers
Lemon Ice Box Pie

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Posted By Rene Usher on December 23, 2012 6:28 PM
Fantastic burger, and the lemon icebox pie is wonderful!
5 star rating
Overall Rating

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Posted By Shelda Rees on October 19, 2012 5:02 PM
Love this downtown Chattanooga star. This local favorite has the best of everything, from Shannon greeting you as you enter, to paying your bill and being full to the brim. You will love your meat and two or three. The cornbread is fantastic as is the meatloaf, hamburgers, or banana pudding, yes, served cold.

Now that the Southside and Main Street is up and coming, you can't go wrong with a lunch stop here. Remember: Monday through Friday, 11-3pm and cash only!
3 star rating
Overall Rating
Banana Pudding

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Posted By Carol Bayer on May 5, 2011 5:27 PM
Though not far from the interstate, it is unlikely that many travelers find this little jewel. There is a STOP sign outside that should be obeyed, because stopping here is a must. They have expanded their hours from 11 AM to 3:30 PM, adding an additional 7 1/2 hours to their weekly schedule.

We were greeted warmly and treated like family while there. The staff was attentive and friendly, and recognized immediately that we were not from around there. Other locals also noted this fact and some came by to say hello and chat about their own travels. There are six small tables and a counter in the front, and there's a back part we didn't visit.

The specials today were meatloaf with a Creole sauce (chopped fresh tomatoes) and chicken fingers. We ordered one of each and a cheeseburger. The regular sides were all available and black-eyed peas were the side du jour. We tried the salad, turnip greens, black-eyed peas, and creamed potatoes.

The meatloaf and cheeseburger were both just about perfect. The turnip greens (in some delicious pot liquor) and black-eyed peas were so good we ordered extra servings to take home. The chicken fingers make McNuggets seem like dog food: moist, perfectly breaded and cooked, and served with an incomparable honey mustard sauce. It may not sound like much, but we all agreed this was a perfect meal. The dessert of the day was lemon ice box cake with the kind of graham cracker crust you might only remember from your childhood.

We signed the Roadfood.com special guest book and left with big smiles and full tummies. Visiting Rock Gardens after this was the perfect ending and highly recommended.

We would like to add one last thing here. The area around Chattanooga has been utterly devastated by the recent tornadoes. The tragedy is indescribable, but the people have the kind of love and spirit that not only creates great food, but will aid them in getting through this. My hearts and prayers go out to all of them and we thank them for giving us such a warm welcome to their beautiful part of the country and wish them a full and speedy recovery from their horrible losses.
4 star rating
Overall Rating
Lemon Ice Box Pie
Collard Greens
Cheeseburger
Meatloaf with creole sauce
Turnip Greens
Chicken Fingers
Cornbread

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Posted By Ed Levine on October 25, 2010 12:27 PM
This place is wonderful. From the classic comfort food delivery to the friendly service and patrons. Shannon hosts the front and everyone gets greeted, most she knows by name, some she serves, and she operates the grill. The baked spaghetti, with melted white cheese on top, is delicious. The cheeseburger was terrific with its yellow cheese and white bread roll. The sides were all great, including lightly peppered collard greens, spicy steamed cabbage, and creamed corn that was homemade and not overly-rich.
5 star rating
Overall Rating
Baked Spaghetti
Peanut Butter PIe
Collard Greens
Cheeseburger

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Posted By Jim Palm on October 1, 2007 4:17 PM
I decided to try Zarzour's on our last day in the Chattanooga area, arriving about 45 minutes before they closed. It was still very crowded, loud and smoky.

I tried the hamburger steak, which was fine, and Cathy ordered the salmon patty. This was dry and overcooked. Both of us agree that the veggies and cornbread was very good.

If you go, be sure to tell them that you saw them on Roadfood - they have a big logbook, and they get everybody who found them through Roadfood to sign their book. There were a lot of signatures in that book.
0 star rating
Overall Rating

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