For quite some time now, our good buddy Sean Atkins, the EIC over at 615 Film, has told me about Little Hats, a deli and Italian market nestled over in Germantown. As a big fan of sandwiches in general, I have been eager to give it a shot. But, if you’re familiar with my life on the internet here, you know that I rarely leave my house, much less Mount Juliet, anymore. Well, folks – I am happy to report that the stars have finally aligned.
Last Saturday, our resident film critic Brandon Vick, Sean, and myself gathered to take in the glory that was Peter O’Toole in 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia. We have a podcast planned for it, so we wanted to watch the film and get our notes in order. I had never seen it before, and didn’t realize that it had a run time of approximately seven days. So, when you’re going to tackle a feat as hefty as this one, you had better well fuel up. When the idea of lunch prior to our screening came up, Sean jumped at the chance to take us down to Little Hats, one of his favorite places in the neighborhood. With the sun at our backs and the low murmur of a neighborhood awakening at 10:30 AM on a beautiful Saturday morning in Germantown, we sat out for the market. Looking over the menu, I landed on the Spicy Italian. I’m a sucker for two things if nothing else – spicy food and Italian food. So, hey – when in Rome. For more on Little Hats Market, check out their website.
Food: 7.87/10 – Wow. What a sandwich – the first thing that pops about it is the freshness of every ingredient on it. To me, a good sandwich is going to combine a few different textures and a few different flavors in order to make a culinary symphony in your hands. Little Hats takes that principle and dials it up to 11 with a set of fresh ingredients that you don’t get everywhere. The bread itself was fantastic, with a crispy enough exterior to be durable and keep the sandwich together, but plenty of fluff in between to mellow out the heat of the peppers, and the tang of the Calabrian mayo. Breadheads are going to love this sandwich. Some delis overdo it with the meat, and that may be sacrilege to some of you, but just because a sandwich is piled high with meat doesn’t make it good. For my money, Little Hats does it just right, giving the perfect amount of meat to contribute a flavor and text of its own, but not overshadow the other ingredients. The lettuce and whatever it’s seasoned with give the sandwich a juice that makes every bite feel fresher than the last. I loved the pickles – spoiler alert: they were also fresh – and how they added a tinge of sweetness to the sandwich. Little Hats really runs the gamut of flavor and texture with the Spicy Italian sandwich. It’s grounded and balanced, never leaning too far into one flavor. I won’t take any issue if you want to call this the best sandwich in Nashville.
Atmosphere: 7.14/10 – Sean guided me through the market itself, highlighting some of his favorite items, and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of down-home quality in the market that you just don’t see everywhere. It reminded me of being with the in-laws up in New Jersey, but definitely felt like a break from the usual Nashville dive bar vibe. The dining area itself was spacious and comfortable, and the patio where we ate was breezy and sunlit. I even heard they have some live music out there sometimes. Our service was quick and friendly, and we had all the amenities we needed for a fantastic lunch.
Value: 6.51/10 – It’s not cheap. $43, tip included, for two Spicy Italian sandwiches, and two beverages. But, I do think it’s a tremendous value for one very obvious reason – it’s the best sandwich in town, and while every town we drive through in Jersey might have a market like this of their own, you simply cannot get anything like this, the real deal, in Nashville. Plus, it’s Germantown – you know what you’re getting into when you head into Nashville. They’re not going to be trotting out $5 foot longs here. That’s understandable and it’s apart of the give and take of a city with a great food scene. I have no issue with the cost, and do consider Little Hats to be an above average value.
Overall: 7.17/10 – The 7.17 score for Little Hats puts it at 17th of the 81 restaurants we’ve reviewed and scored on this website. I don’t mind that ranking at all – this was an elite level lunch experience in this town, and these folks provide a sandwich, a menu, and a market that you just don’t have access to easily in this region.
CURRENT NASHVILLE RESTAURANT RANKINGS
- Audrey (8.82/10)
- Hathorne (8.62/10)
- Butcher & Bee (8.5/10)
- Nectar: Urban Cantina (8.44/10)
- Lockeland Table (8.31/10)
You can check out our full Nashville restaurant rankings here. I’m always looking for new spots to try – don’t be afraid to hit the comments with suggestions!
Stoney Keeley is the Editor in Chief of The SoBros Network, and a Dogs Playing Poker on velvet connoisseur. He is a strong supporter of Team GSD, #BeBetter, and ‘Minds right, asses tight.’ “Big Natural” covers the Tennessee Titans, Nashville, Yankee Candle, and a whole wealth of nonsense. Follow on Twitter @StoneyKeeley
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