Thoughts on Chattanooga: it seems like a really fun city, because much of what’s determining the size of the town, is the valley in which it sits. I later learned that this is the Lookout Valley, named after the mountain, which is also one of the largest geographical attractions in the area. It’s this very valley which makes you forget it’s there until you are right on top of it.
Rolling through the Appalachians on our way back from Tybee Island, GA on spring break our sophomore year, our car was getting hungry right around the time we hit Chattanooga, Tennessee, a town most of us had heard of, but very few had seen. Getting to anywhere that served food seemed to require us driving into the heart of the city, picking out a place, and then trying to park somewhere free. As I recall, there was a Three Doors Down concert at a theatre down there, and so there seemed to be both less parking and fewer people about than you might expect for a Saturday with less going on.
The place we spotted was called Sticky Fingers, a barbeque joint which despite belonging to a small chain, seemed to be genuine, down-home fare. We hit the head pre-meal, and as I was walking back towards the front of the store, I said mostly to myself, “Where are our friends”. The hostess quipped right at that moment “You don’t have any friends”, and I immediately understood what kind of place I was in.
We had no trouble getting a table quickly, which was fortunate for our stomachs. The meal didn’t disappoint either. The ribs were fantastic, and we tried just about every variety with every sauce provided as well. We proved their name correct (me probably more than anyone). And we looked forward to stopping in next year on the same trip.
Unfortunately it didn’t happen like that for everyone involved in the first adventure. Being in a car full of people more impatient as well as ignorant of the joys of Sticky Fingers, I was outvoted when we and another carful showed up the next year’s ride back and found that there may be a 30 minute wait. So our car ate Qdoba instead, waiting about as long to sit down as it sounds like the other car did at Sticky Fingers. But I’m not bitter or anything. Especially not because I was then 21 and could have had an adult beverage there. We did make it back to the area for the same restaurant at a slightly different location the next year, but all my dreams were fulfilled once more.
And this was the emotion dug back up when the Twins announced they are moving their AA affiliate to Chattanooga to take over the Lookouts (also a great name). I was aware of the team of course, and I now have a connection reasonably close in Atlanta, that we could base camp from if we were to fly in and take a day trip. And bring him to the restaurant of my dreams which he momentarily kept me from.