published Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Fork & Pie gets essentials right

One of Chattanooga's newest restaurants is an answer to the childhood fantasy of asking Mom, "What's for dinner?", and getting the answer "pie." At Fork & Pie Bar, which recently opened on Market Street, you get several choices of savory and sweet pies.

The Menu

From chicken potpie and Tuscan chicken, the choices range from traditional to borderline outrageous. Whoever heard of pulled pork barbecue in a pie or Shepherd's pie that comes in a crust? Fork & Pie does things a little differently, and they seem to work.

All main-dish pies come with a choice of side dishes, and there's always a quiche of the day. A large blackboard on one wall lists the day's specials.

Whole pies, both savory and sweet, can be ordered to take home. They're packed in Tiffany-blue boxes, which makes it feel all the more special.

The Order

IF YOU GO

Where: Fork & Pie Bar, 811 Market St.

Phone: 485-3257.

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday (brunch).

Price range: $3-$9.

Alcohol: Full bar.

My spinach, orzo and goat cheese pie is a prime example of how Fork & Pie changes up its menu.

It arrived in the same little aluminum dish in which it was baked. The presentation was reminiscent of the frozen potpies of the 1960s, only oh so much better.

The combination of spinach with orzo pasta was seasoned just right and complemented by the tangy taste of goat cheese dolloped on top of the crust. Altogether, it was an extremely flavorful dish and a very good pick.

The crust was good but a little tough to cut in the small dish. I took it off, sliced it apart, then mixed it back in with the spinach, pasta and cheese, making it much easier to eat.

For my side dish, I chose fruit salad. The fruit was fresh, not frozen, and made a tasty, colorful pairing with the pie.

The blueberry pie I shared with my lunch partner was made even better knowing that local berries were used in its creation. A heart-shaped crust on top of the small, cupcake-size cake was a clever touch.

You won't want to leave without tasting the chocolate pie. It's a brownie-like pie with a center of warm, gooey chocolate that oozes out with your first forkful. Unbelievably good.

The Service

At lunch, orders are placed and paid for at the counter. Then you're given a little pie tin with a number on it to put on your table so your server will know who gets what. Drinks are brought by the server as well.

At dinner, the restaurant becomes a full-service eatery.

We arrived early, so the line to order was not long. If you dine at the height of the lunch hour, be prepared for a wait, as the line was backed up to the door at one point.

The Space

A large counter/bar where orders are placed and some seating at barstools take up the center of the shotgun-style restaurant. Tables fill the remaining space. The lunch line makes maneuvering a little tough, but how often do you need to get up and move around? The only reason I did was to get a couple of extra forks for our dessert pies that our server forgot to bring.

The Verdict

It's exciting to see more restaurants opening along Market Street, and one that offers this intriguing concept has really caught on. People are loving having a choice of something different, as witnessed by the crowds. Keep those pies coming.

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