Fresh Mexican Cuisine Arrives in Nashville on the Back of a "Little Donkey"

The restaurant fuses traditional Southern and Mexican cuisines
Little Donkey

Heidi Carter

Tacos are a standout.

Little Donkey, a new restaurant in Germantown, is looking to make waves in Nashville's Mexican restaurant scene by bringing fresh ingredients and a little southern soul to the table. Originally as a popular Birmingham eatery, Little Donkey has made its way out of Alabama with new Nashville and Morgantown, WV locations.

Located inside of the Germantown Market building at 1120 4th Ave N, Little Donkey sits next to Cochon Butcher and Juice Bar, although it is best to park in the lot off of 4th Ave. After a soft open on February 4, Little Donkey is now officially open for business.

With the palate of a southerner, partner Joshua Gentry is applying fresh southern creations to a traditional Mexican structure. 

“There are so many similarities in the way that we cook,” Gentry told us about the intersection and commonalities between Southern and Mexican influences, “It makes sense.” 

Little Donkey makes it work by integrating scratch-made and locally sourced (when possible) ingredients into this Mexican fare.

From house salsa, guac and queso, to soups and salads plus burritos that can be turned into burrito bowls, Little Donkey serves up traditional favorites that you'd expect from any Mexican restaurant worth its sombrero. They do all of it well. Little Donkey's tacos definitely are a standout performer on their opening lineup, and if you're a sucker for street corn, Little Donkey's Elote is worth the little flecks of corn you might have to pick out of your teeth. In my book, cobb-on eating is "street corn" and served in a little bowl just isn't.

Another highlight for Little Donkey are their house-made, fresh juice and spice combinations called Aguas Frescas. Alcoholic beverages include standard options like margaritas, Mexican beer, cocktails, and wine. For the saucy post-work crowd they also have a shot of the day.

The floor plan and interior is a big winner at Little Donkey. If you like being in the action and seeing cooks and servers scurrying around, then you'll love the open bar, kitchen and dining floor plan. Everything is out in the open. Kitchen racks are full of color from the tomatoes, avocados, pineapples, lemons…and if you're close enough, you can drool over their house-made pickled onions and watch the tortillas being made in-house, which includes the whole corn grinding, masa patting affair. Lastly, as the temperatures rise, so too do the exterior garage-style doors, adding to the fun open air vibe.

Every few months a new Mexican restaurant pops up in Nashville. With old stalwarts like Las Palmas and El Palenque never ceding their spot and serving up the "authentic" Mexican for decades, Little Donkey appears to have carved out a promising little corner of the market by mixing fresh and southern with traditional Mexican. Hopefully, for variety's sake, this is the Little Donkey that could. 

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