I'm surprised I could not find the Mt. Vernon Restaurant listed with Tripadvisor. It has been a tradition with families in Chattanooga for years. My partner and I started going to the Mt. Vernon Restaurant about 9 or 10 years ago when we would visit Chattanooga. It was always such a delight to dine there in the evenings. It featured a wonderful and expansive menu with several seafood dishes, variety of steaks, chicken dishes and wonderful side items. Their signature pie is an almond cream pie. Out of this world!!! Thank goodness it still remains on the "new menu".
It had been a few years since I had been in Chattanooga, but I knew exactly where I would head for dinner while there; Mt. Vernon Restaurant. Arriving there I could almost immediately note a difference in the appearance of the lobby. The period sofa looked tired and worn out and no longer were there the fake restaurant featured deserts sitting on the buffet. We were seated in a room where we almost always dined in. Gone were the pretty blue and white oriental vases and accents, the pretty Chippendale brass chandeliers and the carpet. In their place was a concrete floor painted a grayish color, never mind taking time to do a faux finish or anything, stark walls with mediocre accents and lighting fixtures that don't even merit describing. It was just so bland. Once seated I was given a menu, which when I opened it, had a very limited dinner choice. Gone was the wonderful variety to pick from and one of my favorites, crab cakes.
Our waitress, Blakelee, was such a delight. She told us she normally was the manager, but because they were short staffed that evening, she was filling in. I commented on the drastic change of the décor and she stated the couple who owned it were retiring and handing the business over to their daughter. The daughter appears to be the reason for the changes. I ask Blakelee if the locals were upset with the changes and especially the menu. She told me exactly what I knew she would; yes, like me they were not pleased. I ordered the fried shrimp, still longing for those delicious crab cakes, and my partner order one of the few seafood dishes, sautéed fish. Both our dinners were very good, which I would have been most upset had they not been. Thankfully their chef is still around and does a good job in preparing the dishes.
There are other dining room areas about the restaurant and most appeared much as they were. I have no doubt they will soon fall prey to the terrible décor of which our room reeked of. I truly wish the family would give more consideration to the changes they are doing. For me, other than the food, the place just lacks the quaintness and charm it held before. We could not have ask for a better server than Blakelee. without her and the delicious food we par took of, the entire evening for me would have been bad. Who says one's surrounding do not affect their appetite? In my book, when you are dining out and pay a nice price for dinner and wine, it should be in comfortable, conducive and pleasing surroundings. To think otherwise one may as well dine at McDonald's.
We left the restaurant that evening feeling sad. We both could see where all the wonderful things and memories this place has held for its patrons these many years is headed. We wish the daughter luck with her new vision, but for us we won't be so eager to dine at the Mt. Vernon Restaurant as we have so many visits before to Chattanooga. We did however did have a slice of their famous almond cream pie before we left, and yes, it was fabulous as always!
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