Do Atlanta chefs like potlucks? You bet.
Twenty-four of Atlanta’s favorite chefs told us what dishes they’re likely to bring if they show up at your door and what they can’t resist when they’re loading up their plates.
Brent Banda, executive chef at Lure
Banda is already thinking Thanksgiving. As the head of a restaurant that features seafood, perhaps it’s no surprise that he would take smoked oyster dressing/stuffing to a Thankgiving potluck.
Lure, 1106 Crescent Avenue, Atlanta. 404-817-3650, lure-atlanta.com.
Matthew Basford, executive chef at Canoe
Basford, who hails from Australia, says, “The dish I like to take to any potluck is a classic Australian Trifle. Few people bring desserts so it makes for a pleasant change. The addition of sherry doesn’t hurt either! The dish I can’t resist at a potluck is potato salad. There are so many variations of this very iconic dish and very rarely does it disappoint. Also, whenever I bring it to a potluck, everybody steals grandma’s recipe and make it on their own.”
Canoe, 4199 Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 770-432-2663, canoeatl.com.
Michael Bertozzi, executive chef at Two Urban Licks
When Bertozzi goes to a potluck, he can’t resist a big bowl of peel and eat shrimp with comeback sauce, smoked beef ribs with chimichurri and fresh tortillas, tres leches cake or posole. And he probably brought the dish he’s enjoying. One other dish he likes to bring is a butternut squash and potato gratin with shaved chiles and cilantro.
TWO urban licks, 820 Ralph McGill Boulevard, Atlanta. 404-522-4622, twourbanlicks.com.
Blydenstein says, “When I think of potlucks, my Crock-Pot comes to mind right away. I’ve been known to share my love of Mexican food (ask anyone) and my favorite recipe is still my Chili Verde! Chili Verde is slow simmered pork, green chilies, and tomatillos, usually served with tortillas on the side or even tortilla chips. It’s the perfect dish to slow cook in a Crock-Pot over night before the event, then take it to a potluck and plus it in to keep warm. Easy as that!”
Chad Clevenger, executive chef at Alma Cocina
Invite Clevenger to your potluck and he’d bring one of two dishes. “Both are great in a Crock-Pot and are awesome as leftovers. Green chile pork posole with all the fixin’s, or butternut squash and chilhuacle chile chili with black beans.”
Alma Cocina, 191 Peachtree Street, Atlanta. 404-968-9662, alma-atlanta.com.
Jonathan and Justin Fox, co-owners of Fox. Bros. Bar-B-Q
Jonathan says, “I’m a sucker for potlucks. One of the things I love to make are pigs in a blanket. I recently got some Wagyu beef hotdogs, rolled them up in a flaky crust and baked them. Add a smear of grainy mustard – so good! Seven layer dips are also a fun dish to bring to
parties. You can go basic or play with different flavors to build your layers, but let’s not kid ourselves, there is nothing wrong with the traditional seven layers. When I arrive at a potluck, I scan the field and usually see if they have any type of meatball, it is generally my first go-to. Nine times out of ten you don’t want to know which ingredients go into most of these meatball dishes but they sure do seem to turn out really well!”
Justin says, “I like to keep it simple at potlucks, maybe bring some good charcuterie: serrano, logo, and some salami, something to wrap around some fresh mozzarella or some good cheese and crusty bread. Atlanta has some great local charcuterie providers and it’s a good way to introduce folks to their craft, but it also doesn’t have to be anything fancy cause it will be good as it is. The one dish that I will head straight to is always the queso, especially if there is some guacamole next to it. What can I say? I’m a Texan!”
Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, 1238 Dekalb Avenue, Atlanta. 404-577-4030, foxbrosbbq.com
Spencer Gomez, chef de cuisine at Holeman and Finch
Gomez says, “For every potluck event, I want to make fingerling and sweet potato gratin. My mother always made what she called ‘scalloped potatoes,’ which were a yellow cheese, gooey layered potato dish in a casserole pan. The corners were always the best, just like lasagna. One year I made it for her with rotating layers of sweet potatoes and mixed fingerling potatoes, set in gruyere cream and loads of fresh herbs. Since then, it’s become a dish we make most years. It’s 100 percent comfort food.”
Holeman and Finch Public House, 2277 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. 404-948-1175, Holeman-finch.com.
Jeffrey Gardner, executive chef at Common Quarter
Gardner says, “I love bringing chilaquiles to potlucks. Many years ago, I learned the “non-gringo” way to make chilaquiles from one of my line cooks, and it’s such a crowd-pleaser. If you ever have a tailgate or football-viewing party, these are perfect because they resonate with all of the nacho lovers, but are much more durable and easier to assemble for a crowd. And if no one is eating them, I’m guaranteed a substantial portion of chilaquiles, which sends me to my happy place!
“Any time I would make chilaquiles the way I knew how, which involved tossing the fried tortillas with chicken and sauce, then layering it up to be baked–kind of like some nachos-lasagna love child–and share it with my amigo line cooks, I’d get the, “Eh, it’s not bad (for a white guy)” response. When I watched my guy, Fausto, work his magic, he would let the crisp tortillas and chicken simmer in the spicy green sauce, then almost mash the entire mixture into a thick paste, spread it into a large pan, top with queso cotija, and bake in the oven until it was set. Once it came out of the oven, he’d top it with shredded lettuce, crema, and pico de gallo. You were on your own if you wanted a fried egg, but it just sends the whole thing over the top. This is now the only way I’ll make them.”
Common Quarter, 1205 Johnson Ferry Road, Marietta. 678-809-4040, commonquarter.com
Chris Hall, executive chef at Local Three
Hall says, “Every great potluck has to have mac n’ cheese. I also have a bizarre fondness for that terrible seven-layer dip with corn chips. And every potluck needs some sort of chocolate-pretzel dessert or brownies!”
Local Three, 3290 Northside Parkway, Atlanta. 404-968-2700, localthree.com.
Jared Hall, executive chef at One Flew South
Hall says, “The one item I always bring to a potluck is potatoes au gratin – my version is a very straightforward, French-style dish.”
One Flew South, Hartsfield Jackson Airport, Terminal E. 404-816-3463, oneflewsouth.com.
Justin Jordan, executive chef at La Tavola
Jordan has two go-tos for potlucks. “I like to take two dishes. First: simple old fashioned baked beans made with a rich lager and lots of bacon. These are a lost art. Second: for me, there’s nothing like a great platter of southern fried chicken to win everyone over.”
La Tavola, 992 Virginia Avenue, Atlanta. 404-873-5430, latavolatrattoria.com.
Christopher Maher, chef at ONE.midtown kitchen
When Maher attends a potluck, he’s likely to bring veal meatballs with ricotta in an amatriciana sauce or seven-layer dip. But when he’s noshing at the table, the dishes he can’t resist are smoked chicken wings, mac n’ cheese, creamed corn or just the beer and chips.
ONE.midtown kitchen, 599 Dutch Valley Road, Atlanta. 404-892-4111, onemidtownkitchen.com
Jack McGinn, executive chef at The Original El Taco
When McGinn heads to a potluck this time of year, he likes to cook braises or soups and stews. “My Peruvian white bean chicken chili is a favorite at the restaurant and with my family.”
The Original El Taco, 1186 N. Highland Avenue, Atlanta. 404-873-4656, eltaco-atlanta.com
Nathan McGrath, executive chef at South City Kitchen Vinings
McGrath takes mini tomato and bacon pies when he heads to a potluck. “They’re a great one bite snack that’s easy to make and very delicious!”
South City Kitchen Vinings, 1675 Cumberland Parkway, Smyrna. 770-435-0700, vinings.southcitykitchen.com
Dameron Parenteau, chef de cuisine at Muss & Turner’s
If it’s winter, Parenteau, , shows up at a potluck with a big dish of Green Curry Chicken. In the summer, he’s bringing esquites. Esquites are the off-the-cob version of elotes—grilled Mexican street corn.
Muss & Turner’s, 1675 Cumberland Parkway, Smyrna. 770-434-1114, mussandturners.com
Michael Patria, executive chef at Ecco
Patria says his potluck go-to is simple. He brings a sweet potato and gruyere cheese gratin.
Ecco, 40 7th Street, Atlanta. 404-347-9555, ecco-atlanta.com
Eric Roberts of The Iberian Pig
Roberts says, “The one item that I would bring to share and can’t resist is mac and cheese! It has to be cheesy and creamy; not runny and the pasta can’t be over cooked.”
The Iberian Pig, 121 Sycamore Street, Decatur. 404-371-8800, theiberianpigatl.com
Brad Rubenstein, chef and owner of Flying Biscuit Norcross and Flying Biscuit Johns Creek
Rubenstein would bring shrimp & grits if you invited him to your potluck. “Shrimp & Grits is an easy-to-make dish that is always a big hit at parties and gatherings. Creamy grits topped with sauteed shrimp is easy to cook, assemble and transport! The Flying Biscuit Café’s recipe is always popular and is available in the 20th Anniversary Cookbook.”
The Flying Biscuit Cafe, 10995 State Bridge Road, Johns Creek. 470-719-8700, flyingbiscuit.com
Steven Satterfield, chef at Miller Union
Satterfield loves to bring a green tomato gratin to potlucks. The recipe comes from his cookbook, Root to Leaf, and he says it’s simply irresistible!
Miller Union, 999 Brady Avenue, Atlanta. 678-733-8550, millerunion.com
Scott Serpas, owner of Serpas True Food
If Serpas showed up at your potluck, he’d definitely be bringing something that reflects his Louisiana roots. “I’d bring seafood or chicken andouille gumbo or crawfish or shrimp etouffee.”
Serpas True Food, 659 Auburn Avenue, Atlanta. 404-688-0040, serpasrestaurant.com
Joey Stallings, executive chef and general manager at Sweet Auburn BBQ
It might come as no surprise that Stallings would bring chicken wings to your potluck. “I love doing crazy flavors and rubs. Lately I have loved two sauces my sous chefs Steven Diggs and Chris Webb created: Smoked Pineapple Buffalo sauce, and Sticky-icky-icky-yaki sauce. They hold up well even if they aren’t piping hot. Plus, find me someone who doesn’t like chicken wings, and I’ll show you a liar! As for what I can’t resist at potlucks, I always end up gravitating towards and filling my plate with doughy baked goodness that is sure to be stuffed with cheese and meats.”
Sweet Auburn BBQ, 656 North Highland Avenue, Atlanta. 678-515-3550, sweetauburnbbq.com
Stuart Tracy, executive chef at The Brasserie and Neighborhood Cafe at Parish
If there’s a dish of smoked and braised beef ribs at your potluck, Tracy might be the man behind the dish. Or he could have shown up with a tomato and green bean salad with dill (if it’s a summer event) or roasted delicata squash with ricotta and maple for fall. But the two things he can’t resist when he goes to load up his plate are fried chicken and mac and cheese.
The Brasserie and Neighborhood Cafe at Parish, 240 N. Highland Avenue, Atlanta. 404-681-4434, parishatl.com
Matt Weinstein, executive chef at ONE.midtown kitchen
Weinstein might show up at your potluck with marinated and grilled chicken thighs, German potato salad, braised pork shoulder, baked beans or booze. Generally speaking, they’re all the dishes he just can’t resist.
ONE.midtown kitchen, 599 Dutch Valley Road, Atlanta. 404-892-4111, onemidtownkitchen.com
Tyler Williams, chef at TAP: A Gastropub
Williams can be found at your potluck with a drink in one hand and another hand working the bowl of dip and chips.
TAP: A Gastropub, 1180 Peachtree Street, Atlanta. 404-347-2220, tapat1180.com