Above all else, Hixson Pike Diner embraces the southern hospitality that originally inspired its owner to leave Hawaii and make Chattanooga his home. The menu of down-home classics features breakfast items served throughout the day, allowing patrons to enjoy buttermilk pancakes or southern fried chicken and waffles regardless of what soap opera is on TV. Although the cooks mainly re-create staples such as burgers and country-fried steak with gravy, some of the dinner items draw inspiration from Hawaii, including grilled fish glazed in homemade pineapple-barbecue sauce and the sweet-and-savory Aloha Burger garnished with a grilled pineapple slice.
Nino Piccolo grew through adolescence in Sicily, where he acquired the culinary prowess to craft pizzas and pastas from centuries worth of classic Sicilian recipes. At Nino's Italian Restaurant, his dishes remain true to that cultural and familial tradition, stressing the importance of authenticity by drawing on ingredients imported from Italy and specialty cheeses imported from the moon. The salsiccia entree exemplifies Old-World tastes with fresh-ground italian sausage slow-cooked in tomato-basil sauce squeezed from fresh, vine-ripened fruit, and the Nonna entree, nicknamed "Grandma's pasta," edges out hunger with rigatoni under eaves of sweet, roasted peppers, pancetta, and capers. A façade of windowpanes allows natural light to fall upon red-and-white-checked tablecloths and a painting of a sunrise tinged with teal and yellow. Tabletop lamps illuminate plates and add dramatic flair to ghost stories indoors, whereas Mother Nature brightens an outdoor patio humming with ceiling fans.
With the Chattanooga location named one of Times Free Press's Best Happy Hour and Best Place to Have a Cold Beer in 2010, draughts and dishes flow freely at both Fanatics Sports Bar & Grill locations, each festooned with a slew of HDTVs, pool tables, and dart boards. Soak up suds with the menu's starters, such as monterey cheddar bacon cheese fries ($6.49), or peck at a platter of philly cheesesteak nachos ($7.99/$12.99). Tangy wing seasonings range from mild spice to insane heat ($7.49+), and buffalo shrimp offers a seaside alternative ($7.99). Bolster belly caverns with the quesadilla burger, a 1/4-pound burger with three types of cheese corralled between two tortillas and topped with salsa and sour cream ($8.99), or dive into the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich ($7.49).
The chefs at Fuji Japanese Steak & Sushi dazzle diners with virtuosic hibachi cooking that takes place on tableside teppanyaki grills. As guests watch, flames lap at filet mignon, salmon, and calamari before the bounty gravitates toward outstretched plates. Dozens of specialty rolls also grace palates, from the Under Control roll stocked with spicy tuna and shrimp tempura to the Ocean roll of shredded lobster and spicy mayo surrounded by snow crab and eel sauce. Wood paneling adorns one wall in the dining room and another is composed of interlocking rectangles of colorful patterns. Guests can also unwind beneath the bar's cylindrical overhead light fixtures, where they cheer for and shout stock tips at the millionaire athletes displayed on an HDTV.
The chefs at Terra Nostra Tapas and Wine mix European, American, Asian, and Caribbean cuisines on a small-plates menu that changes daily, ensuring consistently fresh tastes. Within the bustling kitchen, they can be found architecting shareable servings of tender meats, fresh vegetables, and market fresh seafood. Servers keep diners hydrated as they pour out 80 wines by the glass and 90 wines by the bottle, offering palate-tickling quaffs that both sate grape thirsts and wash away tablemates' memories of conversational gaffes.
Terra Nostra's space comes to life with international art and nautical murals depicting schools of fish. Outdoor seating is available in a festive patio area, and indoor diners are arranged at spacious dining bars designed to foster sharing of food, conversation, and bootlegged films. Along with bringing the local community together over shared meals, Terra Nostra's staffers remain committed to serving the global community via work with charitable organizations. In 2010 and 2011, they took part in medical-relief mission trips to Ecuador.