Big Things Poppin’ Port City Pop-ups delivers an untraditional dining experience in an extraordinary way.
A STORY BY
Fa n n y S l at e r
M a r k St e e l ma n
An eager crowd is crammed outside of Dixie Grill on the evening of November 5. It is the fourth meal in a series of pop-up dinners by celebrated local chef Jeffrey Porter, and excitement is high. Everyone knows they are in the presence of something special. Chefs are typically found in a single, stationary kitchen, but Porter isn’t your typical food dude. He’s taking the Wilmington grub game by storm and spreading his culinary flair all over town. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, pop-ups are ticketed, one-time dining events in unexpected locations. The menus tend to have a noteworthy theme, and patrons often get a personal interaction with the chef. These meals are geared toward experimental diners who crave trendy, innovative eating experiences. 76
North Brunswick Magazine
But it’s not all unicorns and rainbow chard. These feasts are no easy feat — and Porter assures me that if cooking didn’t bring him such joy, this would just be a lot of hard work. “Trust me. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it,” he declares with a wholehearted chuckle. For him, the adrenaline rush is where it’s at, and when staff members bail out and more customers walk in, that’s the moment of truth. “They don’t teach you how to deal with that,” he reminds me. Mix a packed house with a sold-out event and season it with a pinch of kitchen chaos — and you’ve got the recipe for Porter’s passion project.