Photo Credit: Chad Savage
Lil Mama's: The Black-Owned Tennessee Hoagie Shop That'll Transport You To The 90s
Founder and Chicago native, Tiffany Pauldon-Banks is the creative mind behind Chattanooga, Tennessee’s nostalgic hoagie shop that will remind you of the ’90s. Lil Mama’s Chicago Style Hoagie on 818 Georgia Ave., has a contemporary atmosphere while being decorated with some of the most vibrant 90s retro neon-colored fonts and most important of all, authentically tasty hoagies.
The submarine sandwiches are a staple in Chicago, and the owner of Lil Mama’s is paying homage to her native city’s roots while also looking back to her upbringing in the nineties.
“Lil Mama’s is changing the game because we’ve created a customer experience that takes our customers back to some of the best times in life,” owner Tiffany Pauldon-Banks told Travel Noire. “We were intentional when creating Lil Mama’s. We wanted to create a nostalgic experience that guests would not forget. The sandwich game needed a change, and that’s exactly what we are doing!”
The unique sandwich shop is only open Tuesday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm. The shop does catering, to-go orders, and you can even hold an event with up to 25 of your closest friends. The event space will complement greatly with a 90s themed get-together to fit the ambiance of the space that has stylish graffiti all over the walls.
The local Tennessee Black-owned eatery took a 2-week hiatus to expand their menu options that now includes a Cali Turkey Club Wrap, more beverages, and even more community pop-ups.
“Our goal is to continue to build a brand that makes our city proud. We have invested in our employees in order to build leaders who will grow within our organization, but also set an example in the community. Our goal will always be to highlight and support Black excellence. We plan to expand to other cities in the southeast,” Pauldon-Banks elaborated.
There is no doubt that the culture of the 90s constructed some of the biggest moments in pop culture with Will Smith‘s Fresh Prince of Bel-Air series and other notable sitcoms like Family Matters. The ’90s were a time when Black families and characters saw the most positive interpretations on American cable, and Pauldon-Banks is bringing that same energy back to the sandwich scene by putting her own flair in the food industry.
She explains more about her background:
“I was born in the 80s but raised in the 90s! It was the absolute best time in life – the style, the music, the television sitcoms all made the 90s such a unique era. It was so full of life and color, so I figured why not recreate that and share that dope 90s experience with our guests. Our goal is to make our customers instantly feel good with the bright-colored walls, bomb 90s music, and the best sandwich in the city!”
The online menu features a wide selection of Lil Mama’s favorites and hot sandwiches that make it hard to not find a bite that you will enjoy. Refresh your tastebuds with homemade fruit punch and fancy banana pudding that will make you full until the next day, but your stomach happy that you chose to put in an order at the popular hoagie shop.
There are even family portion meals that can feed up to 8, and they are all named after 90s iconic shows. Pauldon-Banks is inspiring all of us to dream and take one extra bite out of life while doing so.
“My goal is always to uplift, encourage, and inspire. I hope that my transparency and willingness to share my story inspires others to do whatever their heart desires. I believe in leading by example and being an open book. No person on a similar path should have to make the same mistakes that I’ve made. My focus will always be to think, work and serve others. Extending my hand back to help the next person will always be what keep me motivated.”