Restauraunt Review: Clyde's on Main

After a hectic week of new syllabi and mandatory meetings, few things are better than a trip to one of your go-to restaurants. Every Friday night, Cris Gant and I go out to a different restaurant in Chattanooga. We spend on average an hour agonizing over where to go and cross checking lists of best Chattanooga restaurants. But every once in awhile, we just have to go to an old favorite. This week, we were at Clyde’s on Main, and what a delicious experience it was. Every form of chicken, Korean spices, and barbecue was a good night.

Nowhere feels quite like Clyde’s. Only this place can successfully pair regal red velvet curtains with animal heads, disco balls, leather couches, and Christmas lights suspended from a box-spring mattress. It’s restaurant meets bar meets lounge that’s part indoor, part outdoor, with a menu as diverse as the decorating. Keep in mind that they do not take reservations and the wait can be a long one. But kill some time by taking artsy Instagram pictures at the surrounding murals, and then be prepared to eat.

I am rarely as happy as I am when with a basket of appetizer bread, but I cannot complain about Clyde’s appetizer popcorn. This unique spiced popcorn balances sweet and spicy with a bit of tang that makes it highly addictive. We unashamedly demolished three baskets between two people. The appetizers are slow smoked, generously seasoned, and take on new life when paired with any of their six barbeque sauces.

To be honest, the Torta Mamacita Sandwich left something to be desired. There was good immediate crunch, but the smoked chicken made the whole thing dry, even with the salsa verde, and the avocado crema was lost. I would also avoid the Gouda mashed potatoes because while the flavor was good, it was chewy, sticky, and made my soul sad. With the sad part over, let’s talk about their glorious fried chicken sandwiches.

The Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich is perfectly composed with tender chicken, homemade pickles, and a toasted Challah bun. As delicious as it is, the best is easily the KFC – Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich. Guy Fieri and I would agree that this is a party in your mouth. For an interesting twist on their classic buttermilk fried chicken, they livened it up with daikon slaw, Korean barbeque sauce, cilantro, and fresh cucumber and carrot to add freshness and crunch. It was perfectly balanced and left me feeling shalom.

Funky atmosphere, solid flavor, and hysterical service. Perhaps our waiter was just awestruck by the sheer amount of food that two small women were consuming, but he was a riot that night. I have never had poor service at Clyde’s, but Alex was hysterical. He rolled with a random request for toast, rounds of popcorn, pickles, and then handed me a massive surprise bag of spiced popcorn to go, which admittedly did not last more than three hours in my possession (small person, big heart, big stomach). It is that quirky, good service, unique take on familiar flavors, and distinctive ambience that makes Clyde’s on Main a Chattanooga classic. Go soon, ask for Alex (and extra popcorn), get the KFC, and leave with a mural Instagram picture and a happy heart.