Main Street Meats is a Chattanooga staple. Part neighborhood butcher shop, part restaurant and bar, we’ve become a favorite for locals and a must-hit spot for those just passing through. While our shop is located at the heart of Chattanooga’s historic Southside, the place has a heartbeat all its own.
As farm-to-table as it gets, our innovative approach to whole-animal butchery drives everything we do, from what’s in the case to what’s on the menu and, consequently, what’s on your plate. Our team is deeply committed to quality and care in every facet of the business, and we wholeheartedly believe that, one, butchery is an art form, and two, our neighborhood deserves the very best.
Erik Niel, Owner/Chef
Erik Niel was raised in Mandeville, Louisiana, a community on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, about an hour away from the Gulf. He describes it as a place where people care deeply about food, something that undoubtedly helped forge his personal passion.
During his youth, Niel spent many afternoons fishing and duck hunting with his family. Using techniques passed down from his parents and grandparents, and experimenting on his own, Erik learned to cook from his catch – gumbos, stews, étouffée, and pot roasts – and serve the dishes in various ways. These experiences instilled in him an appreciation for where food comes from and the process of preparing it from beginning to end, something that influences his cooking to this day.
Erik was studying at The University of Texas at Austin when he discovered his fondness for the calculated nature of business and realized he eventually wanted to have his own. During this time, his love for food and restaurants was a constant presence, and he often entertained friends or cooked for parties. Erik enrolled in culinary school at Johnson & Wales in Vail, Colorado, and never looked back.
After culinary school, Erik moved to Chattanooga and worked as a floor manager at the now-closed Southside Grill, where he ended up meeting his wife, Amanda. Eventually, he took a job at St. John’s, where he worked as a sous chef for two years while developing his business plan. In May of 2005, Erik and Amanda opened Easy Bistro & Bar in downtown Chattanooga. Then in 2014, they assumed operations of Main Street Meats, transforming it into the local treasure it is today. Since opening his restaurants, Erik has been twice nominated for the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southeast.
Outside of the restaurants, Erik enjoys playing in the park with his son, Cade. They also love walking in the woods and fishing with “PawPaw,” Erik’s father.
Amanda Niel, Owner/Managing Partner
Amanda Niel learned the value of hard work and entrepreneurship at an early age. She grew up locally, and her grandparents owned a construction and plumbing company, which was family-run for generations.
A lover of design and with her eyes on a creative career path, Amanda studied apparel and textile design at both University of Tennessee in Knoxville and O’More College of Design in Franklin, TN. While completing her education, Niel worked at fine-dining restaurants in the area including St. John’s and the now-closed Southside Grill, where she met her soon-to-be husband, Chef Erik Niel.
After graduating, Amanda got a position working for a sports clothing brand in New York City but consistently felt drawn back to Chattanooga. She found a job as a stylist in the Online Marketing and Sales department of TJX and moved back, spending every spare moment working in restaurants.
Fast forward many years: Amanda is now successfully combining her love for design with her business skills and passion for the hospitality industry. As owner and managing partner, Amanda oversees all general operations, human resources, marketing, events, and catering for both Easy Bistro and Main Street Meats.
When away from her restaurants, Niel loves to explore the outdoors with her husband and son, Cade, and especially loves hiking, yoga, and paddle boarding on the Tennessee River.