KANSAS CITY, MO. – Chef Erik Niel says Main Street Meats began as a kernel of an idea that already existed. He and his wife Amanda Niel own and operate the butcher shop in addition to Easy Bistro & Bar, both in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The award-winning chef’s culinary career spans 25 years. Although he attended the University of Texas at Austin to study psychology with a minor in business, food has always been his passion. He attended Johnson & Wales Culinary School in Vail, Colo. In 2005, after working in professional kitchens he and Amanda – both in their 20s – opened Easy Bistro & Bar in downtown Chattanooga. 

In 2014, the Niels took over Main Street Meats. Erik says, tongue firmly in cheek, that at age 35 he needed a new challenge that would push him out of his comfort zone. But he also believed in the business.

“This was the one great chance for Chattanooga to have a local butcher,” he said. But how could he and his team of artisan butchers use old-school techniques to successfully run a combination contemporary butcher shop and restaurant to become Chattanooga’s neighborhood butcher shop?

In this episode of the MEAT+POULTRY Podcast, Chef Erik Niel explains how he and the Main Street Meats team did just that, and why whole-animal butchery is key to the shop’s current success and its future as a fixture in more neighborhoods across the southeast.

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