I admit to being skeptical. Another pseudo-food hall, this time in the suburban shopping mall that failed miserably the last time they tried to revolutionize the food court. But the Potluck food hall, inside Rosedale Center, is the real deal: fun, innovative—and, most importantly, it has true flashes of deliciousness.
As at an actual potluck, you can find a smorgasbord of options here—pizza, burgers, fried chicken, hummus bowls, lobster rolls, ramen, sweet and savory waffles, and true Southern biscuits.
Two of these concepts are so good I could absolutely see them becoming national success stories. Seriously. Betty & Earl’s biscuit kitchen is producing, without question, the best biscuit I’ve ever had in the Midwest. In fact, they’re better than almost every biscuit I had on recent trips to Nashville and Charleston.
Betty & Earl’s is actually Jason & Adrienne’s: Jason Matheson’s (the likable and talented TV and radio host) and Adrienne Odom’s (one of the most respected pastry chefs in the state). Adrienne took Jason’s Kentucky grandfather’s biscuit recipe, almost verbatim, and then adapted it for a number of sweet and savory variations. They’re the first to bring White Lily flour to Minnesota; it has less protein than regular flour, a lighter weight, and helps create these impossibly light and flaky beauties. Don’t miss the peppery, peppy sausage gravy, and don’t be dismayed by the small portion. For perhaps the only time you’ll be delighted by a sausage surprise, this biscuit has bonus pork in the middle.
Meanwhile, Chickpea Hummus Bar is as simple as Subway or Chipotle, but with some of the most flavorful and creamy hummus in town.
Chickpea Hummus Bar is a collaboration between chef Justin Sutherland (of reality TV fame and, most notably, St. Paul’s Handsome Hog) and Leo Judeh (of St. Paul’s Shish). Judeh is a hummus obsessive, and it pays off at Chickpea. They make it the old-fashioned way, soaking dry chickpeas overnight and then slowly mixing them with quality olive oil to create a fabulous base for vegetarian hummus bowls. Choose between roasted red pepper, spinach, or plain hummus, and then pick your toppings. We loved the roasted carrots, za’atar peas, crumbled feta, and cauliflower. It’s an enormous portion. Truly difficult to finish in one sitting.
Sutherland has another build-your-own concept at Potluck that I liked but didn’t love: Obachan Noodles & Chicken is a Japanese noodle shop where you pick from miso, tonkotsu, or shiitake broth and add soba, udon, or ramen noodles. I found the broths to be one-note and overly salty. The Japanese fried chicken, however, may be the best bargain of Potluck: $2.50 for a chicken thigh.
I prefered the Tokyo hot (more smoky than spicy) and the Togarashi (an earthy, mildly spiced dry rub) to the original. But order two thighs and, believe me, you’ll be stuffed.
The rest of the spots are executing nicely what they do in other locations. If you loved Nordic Waffles at the Minnesota State Fair, you’ll also love them here. The heart-shaped waffle gets folded into a sort-of taco, with sweet flavors like berries and cream or s’mores, and savory ones like the excellent salmon with cream cheese. The cardamom in the batter elevates these thin, slightly crispy waffles. They’re priced around $6.
Burger Drive started as a chef takeover in the small kitchen of Tony Jaros, in northeast Minneapolis, and that menu is now available inside Potluck. Terrifically seasoned burgers include the Nacho Burger, with chips, guacamole, and pico as toppings, and the Wedge, which puts a steakhouse wedge salad on a bun and tops it with blue cheese and bacon.
The menu here is huge, which slows down the ordering. Do people really need pierogies, fried mushrooms, wings, and deviled eggs as options? Burgers. Onion rings. Fries. Focus. There is a full bar here, too, for beers and cocktails.
Elsewhere at Potluck, will people pay $19 for the Smack Shack lobster roll? I bristled at the price but felt much better about it after digging into the quarter-pound of lobster on that buttery, toasted roll. Grand Ole Creamery has a pizza outpost, as well, which is nice for the kids who want a slice of pep and sausage. Be warned: It’s a grease bomb.
Generally speaking, prices are competitive with typical mall restaurants. Betty & Earl’s biscuits are priced like Cinnabon, for example. But be cautious of the automatic tip. As is typical for restaurants with iPads as cash registers, a suggested tip screen pops up, and almost every one of these restaurants has 18%, 20% and 25% as options. That’s ridiculous for counter service; you can press the “Other” button to leave a more reasonable gratuity.
Overall, we’re grateful for second chances. Rosedale didn’t give up after Revolution Hall failed to catch on, and now Potluck hits the spot.
Rosedale Center, 1595 Highway 36, Roseville
Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.