Fantastic farm-to-table restaurant embraces the local arts community
If you know 212 Market, you know that it’s an establishment that prides itself on community and incredible food, but you may have missed one very important detail concerning 212: the art.
“We want art wherever we are,” says co-owner Susan Moses, speaking of herself and her sister as well as their family’s strong love of art. “It’s part of our life. That ambiance is something we value, and so do our customers.”
As Moses said, creating art is something that has always been a part of their lives, passed down throughout their family, specifically from Moses’ mother as she was a painter. Moses says her mother was talented on her own, but took classes for a short while from a gentleman who, “smoked a lot of cigarettes and told her she needed to be the painting.” A painting of her mother’s of a cluster of mushrooms can be found upstairs at 212. Downstairs, locked in a glass case by the front door is a collection of art, created by Moses herself.
“These are sugar pieces I made,” says Moses. Sugar flowers and spindles fill the case. She points to what looks like a very real (albeit hopefully dead), very heavy lobster. I wonder if he is real and as if reading my mind, Moses says, “He’s sugar too! Even that coral behind his tail is sugar. Only his feelers are real. I spray painted him so he’d have the right coloring.”
Beyond Moses’ incredible sugar-spun art, currently on display at 212 Market are the works of local artists Durinda Cheek and Cam Busch, who traveled abroad together, documenting their travels through France in oil paintings and photography. In their collection called “French Holiday,” Busch wielded the camera, snapping still-life photos of French cafes and such, while Cheek focused on capturing her moments in oil on canvas.
Take a journey with Cheek and Busch through the glorious, red poppy fields of Provence, down a cobblestone path to a quaint, French boutique, or to the breathtaking Luberon Valley.
“I love this one,” says Moses of “Luberon Valley.” “It reminds me of something from a dream.” Her description is accurate as Cheek depicts a hazy vineyard of French grapes ready and waiting for their time on the vine to end as they continue on in their journey of becoming some of Provence’s most delectable wines. The mountains beyond the rolling hills of the vineyard seem shrouded in mist, as if on the edge of your dream, waiting for you to reach them.
212 used to feature their family’s personal collection of art in the back, with regional art in the main room, but began featuring local artists after they were approached by such local artists who were interested in perhaps showing their work there. A wonderful addition to an already well-known establishment, featuring local artists has brought an even greater sense of community to the 212 atmosphere.
Russian artist Daud Akhriev’s work was featured for a while at 212. After emigrating to Chattanooga in 1991, Akhriev met his wife Melissa Hefferlin, a skilled painter in her own right, and settled down here in town. “We’ve probably sold twenty to thirty paintings for him, but we take no commission,” says Moses, ringing true to that whole sense of community thing we were talking about earlier.
Speaking of “French Holiday,” Moses says the paintings and photos bring a brightness to the space it didn’t have before. I must agree as sitting down with a piece of pie and a glass of wine under “Luberon Valley” would be the perfect night out for those of us who have an eye for art and a stomach for delicious, Chattanooga-made cuisine.
212 Market Restaurant
Ranked Tennessee's Top Farm To Table Restaurant by Travel & Leisure Magazine. A solar & bicycle friendly business
212 Market Street