Ever since the bright royal blue beacon appeared along my travels down Ringgold Road, I have been waiting to see the glowing invitation of an “open” sign gracing its windows. It was through some Facebook chatter earlier this week that I learned the sign was lit: Fernando’s was open for business.
Located at 5308 Ringgold Rd., Fernando’s brings life back to a building that once held an East Ridge icon; Eidson’s Restuarant. The exterior has been cleaned and washed. The interior looks fresh and new. Smartly decorated with multiple accent pieces pulling the Royal Blue sign inside the restaurant and turning it into somewhat of a theme.
The freshly painted walls features a bright coat Royal Blue on the wainscoting and a nice soft butter color up above. The pail yellow added to the feeling of freshness and cleanliness of the place.
Beyond the walls there is a small area up front with a cash register and beside it a cooler that contained a fresh, beautiful, and inviting selection of various deserts. In the back of the restaurant is a flat top pizza warmer, sitting next to a soup container. Toward the middle of the room is a longer bar that features cold and hot items.
Taking my waitress’ suggestion to have the bar I ventured forth to see what was on display. The salad bar where I started has a nice selection of all things required to build a healthy salad. It also has a fine selection of add-ins that will make that salad completely unhealthy but packed with deliciousness. Beyond the traditional items there is a nice selection of fresh fruit including among other things grapes and strawberries.
I found everything on the cold bar to be fresh and tasty. While I wished there was a bigger selection of dressing, the ones offered are definitely the most commonly asked for. The fruit was great, and I found fresh seasonal fruit to be refreshing addition.
The hot bar sitting beside the cold bar features your traditional southern comfort foods. Fried chicken, fried okra, mashed potatoes, gravy. Right there dead center sat the prettiest strawberry cobbler you ever saw. Yes, hot desert is included in the price.
The hot bar items were all good. Cooked fresh. I was actually surprised that despite my decision to have a late lunch the bar was not only still available and being offered but that the items on it were being tended to and replaced.
At the pizza bar I found three pizzas. All appeared to have a medium crust of handmade consistency. At the hour I was present the offerings were a sausage and pepperoni, pineapple and ham, and a supreme. The crust was cooked well, and the pizzas were quite flavorful. I thought the sauce was fantastic.
In the soup kettle was homemade potato soup; Wednesday’s soup of the day. The soup was hardy and silky. The potatoes were cooked perfectly. They were not mashed, and were far from raw. If I had to find a complaint it would be that I felt the soup needed a touch more salt and pepper.
To end my visit I made my way back to the hot bar and dug into the strawberry cobbler. It was everything a strawberry cobbler should be. Sweet and delicious, with a nice buttery crust that adds a complementary texture to the rest of the dish. The only thing that could have made this better would have been a small scoop of ice cream on the side.
Overall, Fernando’s is defiantly a welcome addition to East Ridge. From the delectable food to the warm and inviting staff, this restaurant and its friendly family atmosphere are definitely worth visiting, then revisiting.