“We make a lovely Mortadella (fancy bologna) at Main Street Meats with lots of peanuts, black peppercorn and chunks of pork fatback, and then stuff it in beef bungs to poach it sous vide. Thick-sliced and griddled on the flat top then served on multi-grain with mayo, mustard, and chow-chow. It’s pretty boss—I put it on the menu because it’s fun and people love it. Plus, who doesn’t love a hot bologna sandwich?”
In May 2005, Niel opened Easy Bistro & Bar in the old Coca-Cola Bottling Plant in downtown Chattanooga. Ten years after opening Easy, he made his mark on the opposite side of town with the opening of Main Street Meats, a neighborhood butcher shop that provides top-quality meats to restaurants including Easy, Alleia, St. John's, 212 Market, The Flying Squirrel and Dorato Kitchen + Bar at the newly opened Westin.
The fireman dabbed his lips with a cloth napkin. Shirtsleeves rolled, hat removed and resting on the stool alongside, he leaned into the counter for another bite. As juices traced his wrists, and a stray rope of tobacco-colored onion slid from the griddle-toasted bun, he turned my way. I was hovering, waiting for a seat to open at the six-top bar, installed alongside the butcher case at Main Street Meats in downtown Chattanooga.