Come hungry, Atlanta: there’s a new way to do brunch in the city.
Patrick Joseph Boston, producer and executive chef of #PopUpBrunchAtlanta, spends his days curating one-of-a-kind monthly brunch menus and experiences for ATLiens. The catch? He doesn’t have a restaurant, per se.
The concept of #PopUpBrunchAtlanta is simple: a host volunteers their home, and Boston invites the public, brings in his ingredients and on the selected day and time, cooks up a multi-course feast complete with signature cocktails and coffees.
“The goal of the event is to have everyone mixing and mingling and very comfortable at the same time,” he said. “Right now the way that it’s formatted, we have five courses total. Four of them are plated.”
Dishes vary each month, and most recently included Hungarian lesco: a serving of stewed peppers served over rice and topped with a poached egg. There was also a course of prosciutto quiche cups with braised baby Portobello mushrooms and champagne vinaigrette, as well as sweet potato and zucchini latkes.
“I love latkes and making them with zucchini and sweet potato has such a great health benefit. … We topped it with lox, capers, avocado and a poached egg,” Boston said. “I have a signature dish and it is far from healthy but it is so decadent that I can’t take it off. … It is the croque-madame. I have perfected this recipe over the course of a year. It is quite divine.”
The croque-madame is a French sandwich topped with Boston’s “out of this world” buttery, white béchamel sauce and finished with an egg cooked to order.
“I’ve been making brunches for my friends for years. I grew up on Sundays with my family just being so still,” Boston said. “It was about being at the table and just being with each other, and enjoying a huge chunk of time connecting with each other.”
That atmosphere inspired him to bring something of the sort into today’s busy, anxious environment.
“That was the main focus: to kind of bring stillness back into the Sunday experience by creating a no-rush environment, making sure people are fully satisfied with the food,” Boston said.
Boston grew up in Ohio eating Hungarian food at his father’s restaurant.
“I was always on the grill or prep line and I was self-taught how to cook,” he said. “I try to use all healthy ingredients so you’re not bloated by fried chicken, you’re fulfilled by vegetables cooked in olive and coconut oil. … I go heavy on the herbs. So I’ve just always heard the vegetables I make is like nothing else anybody has ever made at a restaurant or at home.”
Boston and his partner spent time in Berlin, where he was encouraged to bring American brunch to the city. He wasn’t quite ready to make the jump yet, but fully developed his idea in preparation for returning to the States.
“Healing and growing during those six months gave me the confidence to come back to Atlanta, and the beautiful sunny weather with great front porches, to create this brunch experience,” he said.
Tickets for each pop-up brunch range from $30 to $50, depending on the courses offered. He also plans to work more with restaurants that don’t offer a brunch program of their own, to provide an occasional pop-up croque-madame menu at their location. Boston’s working with Bacardi, Valor Coffee and Nature’s Garden Express to blow away diners with exclusive experiences they can’t find at a typical brick-and-mortar restaurant. He’s already looking for hosts for upcoming events, and wants to do more than once a month.
“I’d love if I could do it every weekend. I get to make myself brunch every day. This is the way that I would love to life my life — basically be spending four days prepping for a brunch on Sunday, and all of the research that goes into it and the creativity and the brainstorming,” Boston said. “It started as a small passion project and it’s really become a wonderful thing.”