Our banh mi have been around since we opened for business in 1994. It started as an item we didn't advertise, kind of like a secret menu item (please note we do not and never had a secret menu), it was passed around by word of mouth. For years, only a select few of our customers knew of our banh mi existence.
But all of this changed in January of 2013. The Catbird Seat's chef Erik Anderson picked 10 dishes that represented "the finest of the booming Music City food scene." And our banh mi sandwiches were included in his article. After that our banh mi business completely changed, the amount we made a day more than tripled. We began to advertise our banh mi and our deli entered a new era. Over the next two years, we introduced several new deli items but also discontinued others.
Out of all of our deli items, our banh mi saw the most growth. Over the following two years, we introduced 3 variations that have all became popular hits. The first was the Double Meat option. This was born from Clay G. on Yelp when he wrote a review saying that he asked for extra meat on his banh mi. The next was our Roast Pork option, which internally, was the most controversial. For years, we would make this for ourselves to eat, but it took testing and consideration to finally sell it. What were we thinking? We knew people would love the option, but would it be financially possible? Roast pork costs more than pork meat on our regular banh mi, so the price would have to be raised. But would people buy it at that higher price and would we still make a profit? The answer was a big YES. It soon became another big hit that we only sell on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Our Vegetarian Tofu option, though not as popular, provides non-meat eaters an excellent option.
Even though our deli has evolved and changed through the years, our philosophy has remained the same, "if it's not good enough for us to eat, then we won't sell it." You can find our full deli menu here.
So, what's next for our deli and banh mi sandwiches? We constantly roll out limited-time Pop-Up Specials on the weekend and if popular enough, they have a chance to become a main stay deli item. Do you have any ideas or recommendations of a new deli item? Let us know in the comments below.
Header image courtesy Edible Nashville.