We’ve seen this pattern before—someone creates a great product they love and family and friends encourage them to sell it. In this case, Atlanta chef Nick Melvin, who runs a restaurant called Venkman’s in the old fourth ward neighborhood, won rave reviews for his pickles. His father-in-law, Mark Hungarland, gave him a successful nudge to launch Doux South.
“Every time we came to visit he had pickled something new. I said we should be selling these things,” said Hungarland. “He kept putting me off because his interest was getting the restaurant started, but I finally talked him into it.”
That was three and a half years ago. Production began in a shared-use kitchen with pickles sold at area farmer’s markets. “Pretty soon, retailers began coming after us,” said Hungarland. They quickly moved to their own 900-square-foot production kitchen, and then on October 3, 2016, they moved the operation to a 6,000-square-foot facility.
Right now, Angry Cukes ranks as the top seller and the only cucumber pickle they make. “Our most unique item is our Drunken Tomatoes,” said Hungarland. “It’s cherry tomatoes in red wine, basil, and garlic and has a really nice Italian flavor, which is great in pastas salads and Bloody Marys.”
“Nick really knows his way around a pickle,” he continued. “All of our brines are different. He matches the brine with the vegetable we’re pickling to bring out the natural flavor without overwhelming the flavor. He has dozens of new ideas and I reign him back in so we don’t go too crazy.”
About a year ago, they added three whole grain mustards: Drunken Mustard, Honey Mustard and Creole Mustard; as well as two types of pepper relish: Sweet Georgia Red and Dueling Peppers, which has a little bit of heat. Other items in their product lineup include pickled green tomatoes, chow chow and Little Rock caviar.
They take pride in making all of their own products, and guarantee they are created using only natural ingredients. They shun all artificial coloring, emulsifiers, calcium chloride and preservatives.
Their website boasts a bounty of recipes you can use to create meals and drinks with their products. Here’s one to try:
Bacon Beer Potato Salad with Drunken Mustard
** Recipe created by Savannah Haseler of Twain’s Brew Pub, as demonstrated at Peachtree Road Farmer’s Market
- 2 lbs. golden German potatoes
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1/2 C mayonnaise
- 3 T chopped tarragon
- 1/2 lb. bacon ends, cut into strips
- 1/4 C chopped chives
- 2 T Doux South Drunken Mustard
- 1 T rice wine vinegar
- 2 T beer-Amber beer preferred
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Place potatoes in a large pot, adding cold water just to cover. Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cook potatoes until tender, 30-45 min.
- Drain potatoes and allow them to cool.
- Meanwhile, place bacon strip in skillet and cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and rough chop into bacon bits. Reserve the bacon fat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, tarragon, chives, bacon fat, mustard, vinegar and beer. Season the dressing with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Cut potatoes into 1/2 in. cubes. Place potatoes into a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add dressing, just to coat and stir in bacon.
Can be served warm or chilled.
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