Rhonda On The Prowl: Main Street Meats - The Best Burger In Town

Monday, January 25, 2016 - by Rhonda Tuggle

I had been in meetings all day for work and hadn’t had a bite to eat. My next meeting was in an hour at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. I was already in the area and decided to pop into Main Street Meats. Some neighbors told me the other day they go there at least twice a week. They said the burger there is the best in town—better, even, than Tremont Tavern’s.

It was just before the dinner rush, so the little restaurant wasn’t too crowded. However, people who had just gotten off work were lounging at the bar or ordering local farm-raised meats from the butcher, as Main Street Meats doubles as both a lunch and dinner hub and a meat market and charcutier.

Co-owners of Easy Bistro Bar and Grill Erik and Amanda Niel expanded Main Street Meats, which was already a neighborhood butcher shop, to include a restaurant in 2014.  

The first thing I thought when I walked inside was, “How have I not been here before?” The restaurant layout is clean, intimate, and fresh. Wooden two-top tables line the brick wall adorned with bright succulents springing from white hanging planters. There is a large community table in the center of the dining room. The dining room leads to an open view of the stainless steel kitchen where the chef was working away.

The waitress Amberly politely directed me to take a seat wherever. I chose a two-top in the corner where I could see both the dining room and interactions at the butcher shop. Amberly poured me a glass of water, and without even looking at the menu I knew I wanted to order the burger, as that’s what my neighbors raved, and raved, about. Amberly recommended a side of broccolini—prepared with roasted garlic, Aleppo pepper, and Parmesan for $5. 

Had I more time before my meeting I would have also ordered the Ember Roasted Garlic Hummus to start with. It includes radicchio, olives, harissa oil, and pita bread for $9.

I browsed the menu while waiting for my food and found my mouth start to water over the Butcher’s Steak Selections, all of which come with bordelaise sauce and white cheddar potato gratin. The prices for the steaks range from $18 to $26.

Main Street Meats also serves a Smoked Potato Soup and “All Kale Caesar” Salad. The daily cheese and cocktails selection looked top notch, too.   

My made-to-order burger came out timely, and it looked so good I almost forgot my manners to cut it in half before digging in. My grandmother taught me to order red meat medium rare, and I have always taken her advice. As soon as I took a bite I tasted the tender juiciness of the burger that was topped with mustard, mayo, house pickles, caramelized onions, bacon, and Gruyere.

This was a gourmet burger in a hotspot of town. I could hardly believe it was only $10. And yes, it did taste better than Tremont Tavern’s burger. At least, I thought so. And the green, roasted broccolini complimented the burger beautifully. The spices used with the broccolini brought my taste buds to life—and that’s not something I say often.

I finished up with enough time to walk to my meeting. Without tax and tip, the bill came to $15.

When I have more time, I’m going back to Main Street Meats with my husband to enjoy some wine and cheese, and maybe even pick out some meat from the butcher.

Of course, it’s going to be hard not to order the burger again, now that I know it’s the best in town.

Location: 217 East Main Street
Hours: Monday to Saturday
Lunch served 11am - 4pm
Dinner served 5pm- 10pm
Closed Sundays

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