John Shearer: One Last Peek Inside Mt. Vernon Restaurant

Friday, January 26, 2018 - by John Shearer

With the online auction of the items at Mt. Vernon Restaurant on South Broad Street beginning Thursday and lasting through Saturday, Chattanoogans and others have had a last chance to walk inside the landmark eatery.

The door to the restaurant at the foot of Lookout Mountain was open Friday and will be as well on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon for people to glance inside and maybe also reminisce one last time about eating there and enjoying fellowship.

Friday morning, only a small number of people were walking through the 63-year-old former eatery, though, in part because the items being auctioned are also in photographs at the website of Gravitt Auctions and Appraisals.

But those who dropped by in person could not only reminisce about different places they sat and ate over the years, but also look for probably the first time into the kitchen, which featured several well-worn pieces of equipment from years of being used to make hot and fresh food.

Most of the tables and chairs and booths were as they were when the restaurant closed right before Christmas due to health issues of owner Jeff Messenger, but they now featured stacks of cups, saucers, plates and other dining utensils and other items on top of them.

The lobby and waiting area looked like it was missing a couch or two, and the familiar hostess stand -- which could also double as a lecture hall podium -- was sitting in that part of the restaurant a few feet from its normal location. A few of the nice chests and other pieces of furniture were still at their usual locations.

Besides the numerous pieces of cooking equipment, in the kitchen was a door leading out with specific instructions to the staff about using that door only for deliveries and to take out the trash. The staff was to exit and enter through the front door like the customers, the sign said.

Another, more familiar sign was a framed miniature chalkboard listing the entrees from the last meal, or last supper if you will. They included "turkey and dressing, ribeye steak, potato crusted haddock and fried pork chops."

It was obvious from a walk through that a lot of familiar items and furniture remained inside, but the sounds and scenes of workers busily taking care of customers, and customers enjoying meals and conversation, were nowhere to be found. 

The end of an era for this chapter in Chattanooga restaurant history had already passed, and that was what was most noticeable.

jcshearer2@comcast.net



Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q Opening At Former Site Of Fox And Hound; Lupi's Doubles Downtown Space

A new barbeque restaurant is opening in Chattanooga. Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q is located at 2040 Hamilton Place Blvd., Suite #150. The old Fox and Hound restaurant in front of the Shoppes of Hamilton Place was razed for the new building that the Birmingham-based restaurant chain has built.   This will be the 41 st  restaurant that Jim ‘N Nick's management has opened, ... (click for more)

Fulin’s Asian Cuisine To Open At Cambridge Square

Fulin’s Asian Cuisine, a family owned upscale Asian concept, will open a 3,000 square foot restaurant at Cambridge Square in 2019. Evan Chen and Ashlee Anderson of  Fulin’s in Cleveland will oversee operations at Cambridge Square. Cambridge Square is a mixed-use development located in Ooltewah, just off I-75’s exit 11. Family-owned and operated, Fulin’s has been serving ... (click for more)

City Council Considering Possible Curbs On Steep Slope, Flood Plain Development

The City Council, which is considering possible curbs on steep slope and flood plain development, heard a presentation on the topic from the Regional Planning Agency staff on Tuesday. Councilman Darrin Ledford said a public hearing will come next. He said the council hears frequent criticism of development on steep hillsides and lowlands, "and I expect a great turnout for the ... (click for more)

Judge Denies New Trial For Unjolee Moore In 2010 Murder

Criminal Court Judge Don Poole has denied a new trial for a man convicted of a 2010 murder. Unjolee Moore, at a recent hearing, claimed that he made a confession after being beaten by a detective and held for over 13 hours while handcuffed behind his back. He a lso said he had ineffective assistance of counsel. His current lawyer, Daniel Murphy, said he was able to obtain ... (click for more)

Why I'm Voting Republican And So Should You

For much of my life, the commitment to the Democratic Party has puzzled me. I was raised to analyze both sides of issues and to make an intelligent decision based upon that information. The values of self-reliance, hard work, and individual liberty that I grew up with were the same American values that have made this country exceptional. As I have grown older, I have witnessed ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: UT’s Genius Stroke

If all goes as (very carefully) planned, the most dynamic president to be hired at the University of Tennessee since the legendary Andy Holt retired in 1970, will be ushered into office today by the university’s board of trustees. The selection of Randy Boyd to take over his ala mater is a genius stroke and certainly seems to solidify two of life’s greatest truths. The first ... (click for more)