Background: Kenny’s was founded by Chef Kenny Burnap and Josh Carter. Kenny, the eatery's namesake, was the long time sous chef at the upscale St. John’s just down and across Market Street. Josh, who worked himself up from waiter to owner at St. John's and the Meeting Place, had long wanted to find a spot for Kenny to display his sandwich making skills. Then the Porkers site opened up.
First Impressions: Even before you walk in it is clear that Kenny’s is a hip welcoming restaurant.
The outdoor patio draws people in from the street and, once inside, the bright yellows and simple food art put the guest at ease. The staff was cheerful and the specials menu was full of fresh lunch options. However, the highlight was the owner taking time to come visit with us. Josh Carter took time to catch up with Pa, having known him for years, and to get to know me - someone he had never met. He was happy to tell us all about the restaurant, his family, and keep the conversation flowing with a sincere interest in what we had been up to. The food can be good but that one on one attention from staff really sets a restaurant like Kenny’s apart.
Food: It can be confirmed that I have found the best grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup in downtown Chattanooga. The tomato soup was creamy and flavorful and complemented the tasty sandwich. Pa had a squash sandwich off the specials menu and was thoroughly impressed. Pa, who is from the country, had not known you could put squash between two slices of bread. When it first came out it was so pleasingly presented I thought a shot of it should definitely be on some girl’s Instagram feed.
Overall: Someone once said, “Be somebody that makes everyone feel like somebody.” At Kenny’s I felt like I stepped into a little piece of what the Chattanooga community is. The way people were not only enjoying delicious food but also visiting and getting to know each other. Most of that is due to the environment that the staff and owner have created.