Remembering The Tick Tock Restaurant And The Wimberly Inn
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Tick Tock Restaurant in East Ridge
Another of my family’s favorite eating establishments was the The Tick Tock Restaurant in East Ridge. It was part of the Osborne Shopping Center and was managed by one the finest local chefs in Chattanooga, Knox McCardell.
Located in a single-story brick building, it had a large clock and sign above the building with a neon pendulum under the working clock. The moving pendulum was better visible at night. The building is still there at 3903 Ringgold Road but with modifications to the front.
For a while it was a hardware store.
As you entered, there were dining areas to left or to the right. The room on the left had cushioned booths as well as some tables and chairs. The right side dining area had tables. The back wall in this room was almost completely covered by a spectacular photograph on glass. It was framed to look like a window with lighting behind the glass. The scene was of a beautiful lake front
surrounded by greenery.
It was difficult for me as a kid not to stare at it instead of eating. The only other restaurant in the area at that time that could command such a view was the Pan-O-Ram on the side of Lookout Mountain before it became a private club and later burned.
Behind the wall with the beautiful window scene was a third and smaller dining room reserved for overflow or private gatherings. The lower lighting gave the room a more intimate feeling for diners.
Knox, or Mr Tick Tock as I called him, was a superb chef. His steaks and meat dishes were not only culinary delights, but artistically placed between two vegetables. Our favorite server was Bernice Earp and my favorite dish was Mr Tick Tock’s spaghetti with his large delicious rolls. The tossed salads were served in those wooden bowls that were trendy in the 1950s. I remember the French Dressing was my favorite.
Around the end of 1958, Osborne Enterprises expanded in the restaurant business into Brainerd opening an upscale dining location called the Wimberly Inn at 3975 Brainerd Road near Belvoir Drive. The decor was mid-century modern with chandeliers in several dining rooms, featuring tables with white table cloths. A large room for special occasions was in the basement.
The food was wonderful as would be expected in a fine dining establishment like the Wimberly Inn and, of course, Chef McCardle was the reason as he did double duty here and at the Tick Tock. One of my favorites was a dessert called a butter rum parfait. It was a tall parfait glass with ice cream covered in a warm, golden butter rum sauce.
Even the live entertainment was upscale featuring local musician Jon Robere. He sat on a small stage in the main dining room playing the organ, with a piano on one side and a vibraphone on the other. Robere’s virtuosity added just the right level of sophistication to the Inn and he would take requests.
I understand two other fine local musicians, guitarist Charlie Chambers and singer Barbara Molloy, also entertained diners, I believe, on weekends. Unfortunately, I never got to hear them perform at the restaurant as we only went on weeknights when Robere was at the organ.
Unfortunately, the Wimberly Inn did not stay in operation very long closing around 1964. This was shortly after Eastgate Mall opened just down Brainerd Road, featuring Morrison’s Cafeteria, another favorite with my family. The Tick Tock remained in operation into the 1970s. When it closed, I was told Chef McCardell became the executive chef at the Honors Golf Course.
The Quasi Gourmand