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Filling a Niche

Amada Brings an Intimate Tapas Experience to Chattanooga

Bold earth tones of plum, gold, and emerald create an immediate sense of intimacy upon entering Amada Tapas. Under ambient lighting, a stunning mural of a woman is likely to catch your eye as you make your way through the restaurant. From the colored glassware and the boutique seating to the extensive wine collection and the unique menu, it is clear that everything at Amada has been chosen with purpose and intentionality. 

Located on Chestnut Street, Amada Tapas & Wine is one of Chattanooga’s newest restaurants. Offering traditional Spanish tapas and wine, at only twenty-seven years old Amanda Trotter’s dream to fill a missing niche in the Chattanooga food market has come to fruition. With the closure of Terra Nostra and inspired by her dining experience at Barcelona Wine Bar in Nashville, Trotter longed to bring an authentic tapas experience to Chattanooga, while at the same time creating a restaurant that equally prioritizes high-quality cuisine, a distinct culture, and an inviting atmosphere. Amada serves traditional Spanish plates that honor the seasonal, local ingredients of the area while celebrating southern simplicity and hospitality.

Upon entering Amada Tapas on a weekend evening,  you’re likely to be greeted by lively music, the hum of conversation and mom–Amanda Trotter’s mom, Gayla, that is. As her partner in this venture, Amanda worked with her mother to bring Amada to life. With an eye for interior design, Trotter’s mother, Gayla, was able to showcase her talent throughout the restaurant creating its distinct, intimate ambience and designing the picturesque restrooms–a point of pride for the establishment. 

A graduate of Heritage High School in Ringgold and Piedmont College in Demorest, Georgia, Amanda followed the conventional path of going to college and entering the workforce in a related field. As a Biology major with a Chemistry minor, Trotter worked in a women’s studies toxicology lab at Emory and quickly found that this wasn’t the path for her. So, she took a leap, came back to Chattanooga, and helped open Pizza Bros where she got “bit by the bug” and her love for the restaurant business began. After working at Pizza Bros. for three years, Trotter took some time off to travel in an attempt to experience various cultures and to determine the direction in which she wanted to go. After returning from Paris, she pitched her idea for a tapas restaurant to her parents, and the rest, as they say, is history.

When asked what she was most proud of thus far, Trotter focused on her people. The majority of the staff who opened Amada remain–a rare trend in the restaurant industry. Trotter attributes the low turnover rate to the culture of the workplace. Along with her team, she strives to create a place where people enjoy coming to work and where all of the staff are constantly learning. Whether this be through wine education to create optimal food and drink pairings or through deeper dives into the world of tapas, Trotter’s goal is for her staff to be knowledgeable about all aspects of the experience for their own benefit and for that of the customers. 

Boasting a predominately female kitchen staff, another rarity in the restaurant business, Amada continues to be a trailblazer in the Chattanooga restaurant market. With a number of “green chefs” whose first kitchen experience is at Amada, Trotter works tirelessly with her staff to emphasize the importance of hard work and showing up for the members of your team. She encourages creativity and works alongside them to try and learn new things every day. 

Trotter also highlighted head Chef Adam Lawson. At only twenty-five years old, Lawson has experience at the Read House, The Edwin and The Chattanoogan hotels. Alongside Lawson, momentum to develop Amada’s menu and kitchen structure took root. 

The menu at Amada is designed for patrons to try as much food as possible with servers able to provide guidance on the best food and wine pairings. Additionally, Amada serves Sweet Caroline’s Cheesecake, a small business located in Cleveland, TN, serving the original recipe developed in 2020 by twelve-year-old Emily Caroline Patterson.

"Amada", a female name of Spanish origin, means “beloved” or “loveable woman”. As Amada continues to weave its way into the fabric of the city, it is sure to solidify its place as a beloved part of the Chattanooga community.

Amada serves traditional Spanish plates that honor the seasonal, local ingredients of the area while celebrating southern simplicity and hospitality.

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