Our first evening in Chattanooga we chose to dine at The Choo Choo hotel. We'd chased the kids around The Creative Discovery Center all afternoon and we're interested in going far after we checked in. Our trip package included two meals at The Garden Restaurant inside the main building. Also, kids twelve and under eat free--cha ching--deals like that do not exist anymore.We strolled from our train car to the main building while attempting to keep the kids away from the train. The Garden restaurant is bright and airy with wrought iron tables and chairs. The hostess was friendly and we were seated quickly. There were about a dozen other tables full about five thirty on Thursday evening. The menu didn't have a large selection. The waitress left a lot to be desired. We ordered- Jay and I each ordered a sandwich and WC a cheeseburger and I don't recall what CJ requested. But after we ordered the waitress returned with rolls and told us that it would be a while since they had a bunch of orders. We looked around and with the place about empty were worried about the ability of the kitchen staff, if they couldn't handle this at dinnertime. The food arrived shortly after. Turned out the kitchen wasn't ill equipped to deal-it was the waitress. Jay's buffalo chicken sandwich didn't arrive with the blue cheese that it was supposed to; she said she would bring him some. He sat and waited, unable to begin eating with the rest of us. Nearly ten minutes passed before we saw her again. In the meantime CJ's cough that he'd developed that morning on the drive and now progressively worse the more tired he became. He'd also began this annoying habit of forcing himself to cough harder than necessary and sounding like he was trying to throw up; no amount of scolding would change this. And CJ's mood deteriorated throughout the meal until WC was hiding his face while at the table. I ended up taking him back to train room before WC and Jay finished eating. I needed to make sure WC enjoyed his food and was able to eat dessert on his birthday without his brother vomiting on the table. Also, I worried CJ's constant hack might ruin dinner for the dozen or so strangers surrounding us. And fittingly, after CJ and I left the restaurant, he didn't cough. We returned to the room and I ran him a bath. I've discussed the bathroom in my previous post. Our first night there was comfortable; we all slept well.
Now I've spent a little time in Eastern time zone and I've never noticed this before. The sun really comes up late...maybe it's the time of year? I'm laying there and the clock says seven a.m. and it is pitch black outside. It looks like the middle of the night. I had to remember that it was my six o'clock. It was odd, for me. And the kids were already bouncing off the walls. Can't quite comprehend why but every morning that we don't have school/work they are awake and up well before sunrise. On school/work day we can't blast them out of bed with a high pressure hose.This is the pattern without fail.
For breakfast we head back to The Garden restaurant (yes, even with the horrible service) but again we have free breakfast voucher and their breakfast is in buffet form. Oh yes, four free all-you-can-eat buffets for breakfast. Can it get much better? The same hostess from the night before sat us and she was really sweet. The buffet contained a good assortment of your standard breakfast foods and we all ate well, even the kids. My goal was to stuff them well because that day we were headed to the TN Aquarium and IMAX; so lunch would be late.
The Choo Choo hotel also has other dining options on site that we did not try:
The pizza place- we didn't want pizza.
A fine dining train car- I can't think of the name but the description in the book used the words elegant and romantic. Yep, not words used to describe places my kids belong.
And a restaurant where the staff also sings. The sign on the door stated that a 15% entertainment fee is added onto the meal and that didn't include gratuity. Personally, not my thing and I really didn't want to spend the money on that.
Would I recommend The Garden Restaurant in the Choo Choo? For the breakfast buffet, yes. For another meal? Maybe. With one experience, it is really hard to say. Maybe she was having an off night? Maybe you'd get another server. There is also a dinner buffet on Friday and Saturday nights. We didn't try it. But I think it would be worth a try.
Next entry: Aquarium, IMAX, Zoo and where else we ate.