Anytime I go anywhere, I am always on the lookout for neat places to eat off the beaten path. I’m no Guy Fieri, but I try. I found one of those spots in Chattanooga, Tn. this summer. Welcome to Uncle Larry’s Soul Food Restaurant, where the sign out front said “Fish so good, it will smack you!”
The menu was intriguing. There was a catfish and shrimp plate, but also ocean perch and whiting with a choice of about 10 sides you don’t normally get. We were fortunate enough to get waited on by Larry himself, and he explained all the choices. Their family was originally from North Carolina and whiting and perch were plentiful and cheap. They used to cook hundreds of pounds at family reunions and when the moved and opened a restaurant, it was their natural choice to continue. Their whiting comes from the Atlantic Coast and is prepared simply by adding salt and pepper and rolling it in corn meal.
I chose the fried whiting plate with white beans and bacon, mustard greens, fried green tomatoes and white bread. A slice of white bread is the original working man’s hushpuppy, you know. Cost: $8.25.
The place, with it’s blue and white checkered tablecloths, is like walking into a family fish fry. Larry and his brother Kevin do the cooking and anything else needed. The only other one allowed in the kitchen is friend Martha “Mama” Adams, who makes the deserts from scratch. Here’s a neat twist. She cooks the desserts on a volunteer basis as a ministry for her church! Chocolate pie, lemon pie, banana pudding, pound cake, peach cobbler, blackberry cobbler.
Yes, I’ll have one of each…