Main Street Meats, AKA the place with Chattavore’s #1 burger, serves amazing food AND provides great local meats in their butcher shop.
My birthday was a week ago, and because life has been very busy with school starting, I re-shared my Top Ten Burgers in Chattanooga (According to Chattavore) last Wednesday. That was my birthday, too, coincidentally, so the burger post was pretty fitting. Burgers are my A-1, superstar, perfect food, the thing that I could eat at least once a week (along with tacos. And queso. Always queso.). I knew when I shared it that a visit to Main Street Meats was in order this weekend (we stuck around suburbia and got a free birthday burger and a mojito at Ruby Tuesday on my actual birthday. There’s a lot to be said for free.).
I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t been to Main Street Meats since it was taken over by Erik Niel of Easy Bistro fame, though we went lots back when it was butcher shop that happened to serve some sandwiches at lunch time. I’ve been wanting to go back for quite some time now, but new restaurant posts usually take precedence over “revisit” posts, though one could really consider this a new restaurant post since it’s essentially a totally different spot than when I first wrote about it. The seating area is small and was pretty packed when we arrived around noon (maybe a little after) on Saturday and were shown the available seats by a hostess. We chose to sit at a little bar in the back of the restaurant and were quickly greeted by our server, Meri (great name!) who filled our water and took Philip’s order for a Stiegl Radler (Stiegl-Goldbräu and grapefruit soda), which he’d never seen on tap ($4).
We have been on a bit of a pork rinds jag lately (we cannot go to Merv’s without having them, and we had some at Clyde’s last weekend – highly recommend), so we decided to continue the streak and order the pork rinds ($4). I assume that, just like everything else at Main Street Meats, the pork rinds are fresh and come from pigs raised locally. They were definitely fresh out of the fryer, crackling from being exposed to the air on their ascent from the fryer, dusted with hot smoked paprika and something just a little sweet (I couldn’t put my finger on the flavor) and served with a spicy harissa aioli. They were delicious but left my lips tingling from all the spice!
I couldn’t order anything but the burger. It just wouldn’t have been right, not this time anyway. The BLT did look tantalizing, but the classic Local Beef Burger (formerly known as the Ryan, for Ryan Coulter, who created the burger back in the old days) was the order of the day for $10. I added fries on the side ($5, maybe a little pricey, but more than enough to share). The burger, customarily served at medium temperature (they will cook it to a more “done” temperature if you want, but this is meat I trust, so I’m good with medium) is served on a wheat bun with mustard, mayo, house pickles, Gruyere cheese, house bacon, and caramelized onions. It’s quite possibly the juiciest burger I’ve ever laid eyes on (or teeth into), but somehow it manages to hold together. The rich flavors from the bacon, cheese, and onions are the perfect complement for the amazing, dry-aged local beef that makes up the burger patty. It’s burger heaven, or burger nirvana, or something. The fries are not your average fries…they’re sliced crosswise from the potatoes, so they look like chips, but they just aren’t as crispy as chips. They too were delicious.
Though the Bánh Mi ($11), with its head cheese, mortadella, and liverwurst paté were quite tempting for my adventurous eater husband, Philip decided to go for the MSM pastrami Reuben ($10), with sour cabbage, Gruyere, Russian dressing, and cornichon (small, sour pickles), served on marbled rye bread. He immediately pulled off a piece of the pastrami and handed it to me to try. I adore good pastrami, which is basically peppered corned beef, and this was just so good – a little salty, a little peppery, with a great meaty flavor. He said that it was one of the driest Reubens he’d ever eaten – but in a good way. The bread was not greasy, as can be a big problem with a little of Reubens, and it had a perfect amount of sauce to flavor it without being drippy or making it fall apart. It was a perfectly structured Reuben, for sure.
On the way out, we stopped at the butcher counter and picked up a pound of baconage so I can remake this delicious casserole and take some presentable pictures, as well as a bag of Riverview Farms Milling Grits. I ran into a friend, Suzanne, who writes GMOGone…nice surprise!
Main Street Meats is a casual dining spot serving casual yet upscale food in a beautiful atmosphere. The food is about as local as it can possibly get. How could you get more local than meat from local farmers that was butchered and dry-aged in the same building where you’re about to eat it? That’s right, it can’t. I know that a lot of people disagreed with me about Main Street Meats having Chattanooga’s best burger (Tremont Tavern has lots of loyal customers!), but the meat here is just so incredibly high quality…that just puts it over the top for me. For $36 and some change for two sandwiches, fries, pork rinds, and a beer, the prices aren’t terrible either. I just really want to go here every day.
If you haven’t tried Main Street Meats, what are you waiting for?
Main Street Meats is located at 217 East Main Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 37408. They are open from 11-10 daily (they stop serving the full menu from 4-5 daily, but still offer meats, cheeses, and drinks). You can call Main Street Meats at 423-602-9568. You can find Main Street Meats online at mainstreetmeatschatt.com. You can like Main Street Meats on Facebook or follow @MainStreetMeats on Twitter and Instagram.