Psst … There’s a Pop-Up Dinner Party at Johnny Haffner’s Home

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<center>On most Friday nights in the summertime, you’ll find an unique pop-up dinner party going on in Nashville. Consider this your invitation!

Most Friday nights in the summertime and early fall, there is a dinner party going on in Green Hills and the food is some of the best in the city. And, yes, it’s consistently good, so you don’t have to worry about an “off night” in the kitchen. It’s a small gathering for 34 people and anyone can come. Just sign up and reserve your space. You’ll be treated to appetizers and a six-course meal, all beautifully plated and delivered by the lovely host, one of Nashville’s most beloved caterers, Johnny Haffner. The table is set with attention to detail under the candlelit chandeliers on the covered, outdoor porch overlooking the back lawn.

Grab some friends and make reservations to be a part of this magical evening. You’re sure to meet other local folks you’ll enjoy. It’s a dinner party without the work, but with all the graciousness of a home-cooked and home-served meal. With all the money that we sometimes put into a dinner party, you could even buy tickets for a few friends and after calculating flowers, cleaning, time and food, you may end up on the better side here! Tickets are $100 per person (which includes all food, taxes and gratuity), but please bring your own wine.

Three members of our SB team have been to these dinners over the past few weeks. Each one of us has been wowed. Dinners revolve around a theme, and I was lucky enough to go to the tomato-themed dinner. Another went to a corn-themed dinner. We all thought about licking our plates …

We realized we needed to hire Leila Grossman, of Grannis Photography, to come professionally shoot an evening at Johnny’s, as there was no way we couldn’t write about these nights:

You'll be greeted at the front door by a sweet "Come In, We're Open" sign and an even sweeter pup. Part of the Johnny Haffner Catering Pop Up dinners in Nashville. Grannis Photography

You’ll be greeted at the front door by a sweet “Come In, We’re Open” sign and an even sweeter pup.

The table setting is straight out of a magazine. Even better: you didn't have to do it yourself and there are no dishes to clean! Part of the Johnny Haffner Catering Friday night pop up dinners in Nashville. Grannis Photography

The table setting is straight out of a magazine. Even better: you didn’t have to do it yourself, and there are no dishes to clean!

A back porch, outdoor dinner party. Part of the Johnny Haffner Catering Friday night pop up dinners in Nashville. Grannis Photography

A view from the backyard looking onto the table, made for 34 people.

Each dinner has a printed menu. Part of the Johnny Haffner Catering Friday night pop up dinners in Nashville. Grannis Photography

Each dinner has a printed menu.

Part of the Johnny Haffner Catering Friday night pop up dinners in Nashville. Grannis Photography

Here is Johnny Haffner plating a gorgeous tomato dish that was part of his tomato dinner.

The stacked tomato appetizer is simply gorgeous. Part of the Johnny Haffner's Friday night dinner parties in Nashville. Grannis Photography

Simply gorgeous!

The "corn" based dinner party featured this lovely shrimp dish. Grannis Photography

The corn-based dinner party featured this lovely shrimp dish. Johnny is known for delicious food that is also beautifully presented.

Here you can see the shrimp plated on atop a fried green tomato (with corn meal ... which ties into the "corn" theme). Grannis Photography

Here you can see the shrimp plated atop a fried green tomato (with cornmeal … which ties into the corn theme).

This banana pudding was actually served at a dinner party for eight people, which occurred on Saturday night at Johnny's. Grannis Photography

This Italian version of a Floating Island was actually served at a dinner party for eight people, which occurred on Saturday night at Johnny’s. (See details on the dinners for eight people at the end of today’s article.)

A beautifully plated banana pudding dessert. Grannis Photography

The little touches make a difference!

This ravioli is simple and delicious. It's a popular menu item requested for the small Saturday night parties that Johnny will book on occasion by request. Johnny Haffner catering. Grannis Photography

This ravioli is simple and delicious. It’s a popular menu item requested for the small Saturday night parties that Johnny books on occasion by request.

Michael Malloy, Johnny's right hand man in the kitchen. Grannis Photography

Michael Mulloy, Johnny’s right-hand man in the kitchen

This is one of those hard ones for us to write about, as we’ve enjoyed making last-minute reservations. But this secret is too good not to tell you about. Just click here to be added to Johnny’s email list, and you’ll start getting emails announcing the pop-up dinners. We hope to see you there!

THE DETAILS:

  • Dinner parties happen most, but not all, Friday nights from June to October.
  • Each dinner can seat up to 34 people.
  • Johnny is a Nashville treasure who has been catering in town for more than 40 years.
  • To make a reservation, first you need to be on Johnny’s email list. Just email him (johnnyhaffnercatering@gmail.com) and say “please put me on your email list!”
  • You can pay by credit card or check at the door. If you make a reservation, don’t be a jerk and not show up. He’s holding that seat for you!
  • Each dinner is focused around being creative with one single food to inspire. So the tomato dinner will have pastas, meat, salads, etc … but each course will incorporate tomatoes. Look for upcoming dinners centered around corn, figs, squash, apples, pears and more.
  • Emails announcing the meals go out on Sunday and then another one within 48 hours with the menu. You can sign up after receiving either email.
  • Entertainment sometimes shows up …
  • Johnny and Julie Haffner’s house is amazing. Prepare to be nosy and look around!
  • Arrive at 7:30 p.m. and come planning to talk to the people you are with AND the others gathered. That’s half the fun!

ADDITIONAL NOTES

Johnny gives away 10 dinner parties for eight people each year through charity events, called “Man With A Pan.” Everyone gathers around his kitchen island. But he is also known to book special dinner parties for birthdays and such at his house, both large and small events. If you are looking to have an intimate dinner party around his island, or have grander plans, just email him. He might have room on his calendar to work with you and create an experience to remember!

Johnny, his wife Julie and these two sweet pups, make for a gracious host team! Grannis Photography

Johnny, his wife, Julie, and these two sweet pups make for a gracious host team!

All of today’s images are by Grannis Photography.