To any freshmen reading this, let me impart to you my upperclassman wisdom. Now that we are banned from panini-pressing our cookies, and popcorn chicken is a rarity, you must become more creative to get some decent food. So here is my advice as you embark on this journey of mediocre college food: eat as many meals away from the Great Hall as possible. You can do this by 1) joining multiple small groups that meet on different nights of the week, 2) making your own simple meals on campus, 3) going to the Kaufmann’s for Saturday morning pancakes, and 4) becoming good friends with the manager of the best bakery in the city – Niedlov’s.
Even if you have not been to Niedlov’s, you have probably experienced its glorious, glutenous breads at other Chattanooga classics such as The Terminal, Tremont Tavern, Clyde’s on Main, and Public House. If Niedlov’s were to stop baking for a day, the entire Chattanooga food scene would practically collapse. Beyond their breads and burger buns across the city, the restaurant/coffee shop combo has a lot to offer.
Located on Main Street alongside many other of my favorite restaurants, Niedlov’s is nearby and offers a bright, casual environment for a light lunch or for an afternoon of studying. Since I have been on a caffeine detox (yes, that is as horrific as it sounds), my go-to order for an afternoon of studying has been a cup of tea and a croissant. A croissant in any form is my kryptonite, but it is close to impossible for me to see an almond croissant and not buy it. When my favorite French bakery in D.C. closed over spring break, it was tear-inducing until my favorite Niedlov’s employee calmed my fears by assuring me Niedlov’s would provide for all my croissant needs. While the almond croissants are my favorite, the others are also excellent, and I often get a plain croissant and use it for a breakfast sandwich the following morning with some sausage, sautéed kale, and a poached egg.
If the assortment of breads and pastries are not convincing enough, their menu items are always solid. The one thing to keep in mind before going is that their kitchen closes at 3 p.m., so after that only the pastry items are available. They keep the food simple, fresh, and light with mainly soups, salads, and sandwiches, making it a perfect lunch or brunch spot. The soup of the day is always delicious and under four dollars, but the Creamy Potato and Kale is an especially beautiful experience. Rich, fresh, and silky smooth, it is my new favorite thing on the menu.
The Fall Harvest Salad is well-balanced with massaged kale, roasted sweet potato, balsamic-cured figs, goat cheese, and pecans, which makes for a light and satisfying salad. I am a non-salad eating person, but this one is well-composed and delicious, though perhaps a bit sparse on the sweet potatoes. Next time I go, I plan on getting the Turkey and Goat Cheese Sandwich on sourdough with arugula and a cranberry chutney.
Niedlov’s is a carb-filled heaven and a Chattanooga staple. With free parking and a delicious selection of bright flavors, it has quickly become one of my hang-out places in the city. Niedlov’s is often my last stop before flying anywhere for any holiday so I can grab a loaf of artisan bread as a hostess gift. Now that I have my croissant fix in the city, my desperate search for good Chinese food must continue – please let me know your favorite places! Until then, you’ll see me at Niedlov’s, eating my body weight in baked goods.