Cake fest at Chattanooga's City Cafe
Chattanooga is one of my most favorite places to visit. You can see seven states above Lookout Mountain's "See Rock City" with its trails through fun rock formations, stand in awe at the majesty of Ruby Falls in an underground cave, admire art in the Bluff District and tour the impressive Tennessee Aquarium — and so much more! So when my friend Pam Wattenbarger, a cookbook author and travel writer who pens the Simply Southern Mom website, offered to introduce me to a lunch spot that served up giant slices of cake in an old-fashioned-looking diner, I was so there.
City Cafe is practically attached to the Days Inn Hotel in downtown Chattanooga and a bit out of the way. There's another location on Lee Highway in Chattanooga and in the neighboring town of Cleveland, but we were visiting the downtown location that, I found out later, has a funky bar off to the side called The Office. The downtown spot (along with the others) offers 450 menu items that range from Mediterranean dishes to American favorites such as burgers, fries and shakes. There are lunch specials, chimichangas, chicken pot pie, broiled scallops, salmon Monte Carlo and great breakfast items. To say the menu runs the gamut is an understatement.
Naturally, since it's a diner, I chose the tuna melt with fries, a huge helping of tuna salad on toasted wheat bread with a layer of sliced American cheese, the kind you peel off the plastic wrap but which combined with the tuna tasted delish. Halfway through this mammoth sandwich, I had to pause because there was no way I was not saving room for a slice of City Cafe's cakes.
These cakes are enormous! Did I mention they were big? So large that you pause on the way to your table and your chin falls open and your eyes bug out.
Here are but a few of the many offerings:
Coca Cola Cake
Death by Chocolate
Milky Way Cake
Italian Cream Cake
Mint Chocolate Chip Cake
I could go on and on.
I chose the cannoli cake with the little cannolis on top and Pam went for the peanut butter. We asked for take-out boxes because the slices were so huge but we delved right in and had a hard time stopping. We did bring home parts of our desserts, but we managed to enjoy much of our slices first, stumbling out of this diner like drunks at 2 a.m., our full bellies and blood sugar off the charts.
The diner's been rated Best of the Best by the Chattanooga Times Free Press and won the Certificate of Excellence and Hall of Fame nods from Trip Advisor. It's easy to see why.