Two Ten Jack, Chattanooga’s First Izakaya, Now Open

Friday, April 3, 2015

Two Ten Jack, Chattanooga’s first izakaya, opened its Warehouse Row bar and restaurant on Friday for dinner service. Specializing in small-plate dishes of Japanese comfort food and artisanal ramen, Two Ten Jack serves up a new kind of Japanese eating experience for the region. 

The izakaya—an eating and drinking house ubiquitous to Japanese culture – is akin to a neighborhood pub, with an emphasis on communal and social dining. Honoring this tradition, Two Ten Jack offers comfortable dishes like house-made ramen, sushi, sashimi and grilled yakitori skewers that incorporate locally sourced ingredients and flavors. 

“Our menu reflects an old Japanese tradition that has only recently landed on our shores," said Patrick Burke, CEO of Seed Hospitality, which owns Two Ten Jack.  "The izakaya concept is based on simple Japanese comfort foods prepared with care, friendliness and a relaxed and informal experience, which is also a pretty good description of why people love Chattanooga.  Our menu staples are Japanese comfort foods in their own right, but the relaxed, informal vibe of an izakaya allows us to also create more adventurous dishes in an approachable, fun way.” 

Mr. Burke believes the concept plays well with Chattanooga culture, which touts a distinct blend of unhurried charm, urban prosperity and a thirst for new experiences, said officials. 

“Chattanooga is growing in size and reputation, both as a city and a culinary destination,” Mr. Burke added. “It’s becoming known throughout Tennessee and the South as a place that attracts interesting, involved people who are energized by new concepts but value deep-rooted tradition. The essence of an izakaya and the spirit of Chattanooga are very much aligned, so it made absolute sense to bring Two Ten Jack to this city.” 

In addition to the food itself, the rhythm of the drinking and dining experience found at Two Ten Jack is a first for Chattanooga.  

“At a typical restaurant, guests order and receive a drink, an appetizer and their main course – in that order," said Mr. Burke.  "At an izakaya, the process isn’t as formal or sequential.  Traditionally, guests start with drinks, and then order several rounds of small plates that accompany a progressive drinking and eating journey. At Two Ten Jack, that journey typically ends with a bowl of kodawari—artisanal—ramen. This style of dining isn’t one that forces you out of your booth after 45 minutes, so you’re able to fully enjoy the company you’re with and the opportunity to try new things.”

Led by Chef de Cuisine George MacEwan, the kitchen hand-prepares most ingredients, with others carefully sourced locally and from around the world.  

“Every aspect of Two Ten Jack’s menu is thoughtfully chosen and prepared,” said Mr. MacEwan. “Instead of doing a lot of things pretty well, we’re focused on doing a few things extremely well. I’m excited about being part of this unique addition to the Chattanooga food scene.” 

The new restaurant, located in a revitalized rathskeller space at Warehouse Row, will expand upon the framework of the original Nashville location of Two Ten Jack, which was named “Best New Restaurant” by readers of Nashville Lifestyles and No. 2 “Best New Restaurant in Nashville” by readers of the Nashville Scene. 

“The bar program is an essential component of an izakaya, so we've elevated that in our Chattanooga restaurant," said Mr. Burke.  "We’ve built two bars in the space and added to what we offer on tap in Nashville.  We’ve used what we learned at the original location to create an even better experience in Chattanooga.” 

The drink menu at Two Ten Jack will include 20 beers, four wines and six cocktails on tap, in addition to a sake and shochu menu. Shochu is a popular Japanese distilled spirit made of many different ingredients such as barley, sweet potatoes, rice and buckwheat. 

“Chattanooga is an exciting place to be right now, and we’re thrilled to plant roots and get involved here,” said Mr. Burke. “After all, the izakaya – at its core – is about community.” 

Two Ten Jack plans to open its Warehouse Row location for lunch in May.

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