The Good Stuff Cookbook®

Table of Contents


How To Use This Book

Chapter 1: Condiments and Complements - Mayonnaises and Sauces

Homemade Basic Mayonnaise

Good Stuff Sauce

Chipotle Mayonnaise

Chipotle Pesto

Sriracha Mayonnaise

Old Bay Mayonnaise

Mango Mayonnaise

Balsamic Mayonnaise

Curry Mayonnaise

Pomegranate Mayonnaise

Mustard Seed Mayonnaise


Chapter 2: Wedge With An Edge: Salads

Farm-Fresh Greek Wedge

Farm-Fresh Caesar Wedge

Farm-Fresh Ensalada Wedge

Farm-Fresh Classic Wedge

Fried Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries, and Almond Wedge

Fennel, Orange, and Pomegranate Wedge

Arugula, Red Onion, and Parmesan Wedge

Poached Eggs and Frisée Wedge

Asian Pear, Pistachio, and Brie Wedge

Chapter 3: Err On The Side Of... Sides

Sunny's Hand-Cut Fries

Spike's Village Fries

Cliff's Homegrown Vidalia Onion Petals

Uncle D's Chili

Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Nic's Mess with Sunny's Hand-Cut Fries

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Street-Style Corn on the Cob

Zucchini Fritters

Homemade Cornbread

Big B's Baked Beans

Red Cabbage Slaw

Farm-Fresh Potato Salad

Mac 'n' Cheese

Roasted Corn and Red Pepper Salsa


Fresh Fruit Salad

Fried Brussels Sprouts

Celery Root, Potato, and Pear Gratin

Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus

Grilled Watermelon, Yuzu, and Feta Salad

Perfectly Roasted Wild Mushroomss

Chapter 4: The Game Changers — Burgers

Farmhouse Burger

Farmhouse Bacon Cheeseburger

Spike's Sunny-Side Burger

Good Stuff Melt

Colletti's Smokehouse Burger

Free-Range Turkey Burger

Cranberry Sauce

Breaded Eggplant, Roasted Pepper, Goat Cheese, and Arugula 'Wich

Blazin' Barn

Uncle D's Chili and Cheddar Burger

Vegetarians Are People Too 'shroom Burger

Prez Obama Burger

Southwestern Burger

Tamarind-Glazed Pork Burger with Red Cabbage Slaw and Grilled Pineapple

Pork and Pancetta Burger with Smoked Mozzarella, Peperonata, and Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

Fried Chicken Burger with Smoked Bacon, Gingered Honey Mustard, and Sautéed Collard Greens

Lamb Burger

Caprese Burger

Double-Ale Fish Burger

Roasted Chicken with Rosemary and Honey Mustard Glaze

Michelle's Melt

South Lawn Herb Garden Mayo

Stacked with the Good Stuff

Redskins #74 Spicy Cajun Burger

Horton's Kids Grilled Cheese

Chapter 5: Bring On The Brain Freeze: Shakes, Malts & Float's

Big Vern's Root Beer Float

Toasted Marshmallow Shake

Whipped Cream

Black and White Shake

Milky Way Malt

Very Berry Shake

Soursop Hop Strawberry Shake

De-lecheble Leche

Vanilla and Chocolate Shakes

Vanilla Shake

Chocolate Shake

Mint Oreo Shake

Pumpkin Patch Shake

Creamsicle Shake

Avocado Shake

Bananas Foster Shake

Peanut Butter and Jelly Shake

For Pete's Shake

Cadbury Shake

Chapter 6: Don't Believe What They Say, I'm A Sweetheart: Desserts

Greek Yogurt with Honey and Nuts

Oatmeal and Milk Chocolate Cookies

Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Icing

Coconut-Meringue Dark Chocolate Brownies

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Cinnamon-Chocolate Brownies

Banana-Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

Cheesecake-Blueberry Blondies

Cherry-Apricot Jam Blondies

Raspberry Sugar Cookies

Baklava Cookies

Honey—Pine Nut Bars

Vietnamese Coffee Brownies

Good Stuff Popsicles

Calvados Candy Apples

Cardamom and Caramel Popcorn

Loukou Beignets

Pomegranate Granita

Carla's Pumpkin Trifle

Birthday Cake

Chapter 7: Favors 'N' Flavors: Party Dishes

Spicy Fire Wings with Spiced Apple Cider

Peach Iced Tea

Tiger Tail

Margarita Slushies

Bloody Mary

Honey-Rosemary Lemonade

Opa! Ouzo Martini

Cinnamon Twisted Donuts

Black Rice Pudding with Mango and Hazelnut

The Good Stuff Cookbook




Life has a funny way of repeating itself.

When I think back to some of the experiences I've had, the people I met along the way, the ups and downs of the constantly changing restaurant world, I realize you can't ever settle or relax. Everything is always in motion—I have a lifetime ahead of me of line cooks not showing up, the paper goods order not coming in, the vegetable delivery missing crates, and the revolving door of staff—there are still a lot of memories waiting to be made.

One thing that has never changed for me is that this business, the restaurant business, is the epitome of family.

Family that grows up together, lives together, goes through ups and downs together, day in and day out. A restaurant family. It's a somewhat indescribable relationship if you've never lived it, but basically, you wake up at 6 a.m. to check in the inventory with a guy, and then bust your ass during a busy lunch and an even crazier dinner rush. You get out from cleaning around midnight and then turn to that same guy and say, "Hey man, let's go for a beer."

My parents started opening restaurants with their cousins in Montreal in 1989. After their first, they went on to open 32 restaurants across the country. They retired in 2001 and then came out of retirement to open Good Stuff Eatery in 2008 with some of those very same cousins. And like most ethnic families, our most recent project began with one telephone call that went through Greece, Florida, New York, Montreal, and Washington, D.C., faster than a car at the Indianapolis 500.

My sister, who had been living in D.C. for five years, walked past one of her neighborhood shops to find it had moved and the space was up for rent. Right then, she called my parents, who were in Greece, and convinced them to get off the beach and start calling the landlord. If you've ever been to Greece you know that this is an insane request, but my parents, being a little nuts themselves, started calling for the spot. So of course, we had to call Montreal to get some help; my mother's cousins Suzie Colivas and Peter Polatos were called simultaneously. This set in motion the big question, What type of restaurant do we open? After we settled that, I got a call about menu planning. I told Mike Colletti, my partner in crime at Mai House in NYC, that we needed help with a burger menu. The final piece was convincing my longtime friend Nic Georgeades to move from Florida to D.C. to launch the restaurant.

Dad—thanks for always throwing me out of the office.

We all lived on twin beds and couches at my parent's house for the first six weeks. No joke. During that time, I had also convinced Brian Lacayo of New York City to move to D.C. My mother was cooking for all of us, but then again, it never really mattered how many people were at my mom's house; she always cooked for an army. And this is how we came to launch Good Stuff Eatery.

So there's no particular order these thanks are in—it's the existence of these people, this family, that has come together to push me, to keep me grounded, to allow me all the opportunities that I hope continue to come my way, that I can't thank enough.

Mike Colletti, for sharing the same vision on what this business is all about and making that commitment to move to D.C. and begin the restaurant group with us because, in case you didn't realize it, you signed up for life. Also, for your dedication, opinions, and support in helping me test out all these recipes!

Nic Georgeades, for helping me peel 100 pounds of shrimp back in the day at Pepin's and for helping me peel 100 pounds of potatoes now at Good Stuff. We've both had ups and downs but it's nice to see you when I walk into the store, even if you're slacking out back on the phone.

Brian Lacayo, for saving me from all the line cooks who wanted to kick my ass! You're a pro on the grill, on the floor, in the office, and it's awesome to have you as part of the team.

Jon Malysiak, my literary agent, for seeing me on the show and getting on a plane from Chicago to D.C. to convince us this was possible. We made it! Your guidance along the way was invaluable, and you've been phenomenal to work with.

Alexandra Greeley, I still apologize for being an hour late to our interview (I would not recommend this with a food writer), but thanks for waiting and in the meantime talking with my sister, who asked you to help in the editing process. Your recommendations and editing skills were a welcome relief and absolutely necessary to finish on deadline!

Justin Schwartz and the whole team at Wiley, for believing in me and the Good Stuff philosophy and working to make this book happen. I'm so grateful for all the hours you've put in!


Billy Ivey and Ted McCoig, the "Branding Geniuses", because they brought Good Stuff Eatery to life for us and gave our cow his heart.

Bess Pappas, our designer, for her love, caring, and patience through the million changes along the way. Most of all for her outstanding design.

Vince McCoullough, our architect, contractor, assistant designer, consultant, shrink, taster... who invested his heart in us.

Richard Patterson, our dear friend who showed a rare intuition and the confidence in us when we needed it.

Joe Shymanski, because what started out as a meeting at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill in Washington between my sister and this incredibly talented photographer has turned into the position I've dubbed "family photographer for life." From shooting pre-construction to me in NYC, to opening night and many more events, you are truly amazing, and I'm glad you came on for this project.

To my entire family for their help and support—I'm Greek so I have about 65 cousins; couldn't include everyone but here are a few of the key players along the way...

Suzie Colivas, for getting it all started and making sure we chose the tomato red instead of the plum red color for the awning and mushroom beige instead of smoky beige for the wall paint. For sacrificing your time, interrupting your life, and for the laughs we shared to make this all possible.

Peter Polatos, our partner and cousin, for believing in the concept and our abilities to make it work and grow the vision. I hope Andrew and Michael enjoy it as much as I do and we can eventually pull them in to make fourth generation restaurateurs. Pete—I promise I'll get around to naming a burger after you!

Alyssa Shelasky, for not putting me in the bachelor issue! Most importantly, for taking my ups and downs, accepting me for who I am, and making me a better man... I love you, Lys.

Auntie Dorothy, for showing us that your zest for life should never end, who told my dad when he sold his restaurant at 60 years old that he needed to find a job right away to keep busy and make a living. You are really Good Stuff!

Zas, my grandmother and the matriarch of the family. For teaching us what staying together and looking out for each other really means. For doing everything with such grace and a smile and always being excited to hear from me.

"On a personal note to my brother Spike, I want to thank you for devoting yourself and your talents to Good Stuff and making the dream way more than a restaurant. Your moving to D.C. from NYC completed the family circle, and being able to spend most of our days together is really the best stuff."


To our Papou. My mother once wrote me that "A legacy means that you mattered, that you are remembered, that your warmth and love like an heirloom have been passed on. It will tell the future generation of our family what defines them!" I can honestly say that not a day goes by that I don't remember my grandfather's warmth and love towards life. Good Stuff to my grandfather was not a restaurant or a cookbook; it was a way of life, and I can only hope that one day my sister and I can pass on the Good Stuff family legacy on to our children and the people we meet along life's journey.

Mom, without you I wouldn't even know what the word family means. Thanks for always pulling us together, especially now, for this restaurant group and coming out of retirement to give Mich and me a way to make a living for us and our families. And for allowing me to pursue a path alongside that of the restaurant and believing in my skills—and just for being my biggest fan. I hope I made it as your good Greek son who still wants his bar mitzvah money back.

Dad, thanks for always throwing me out of the office! Every time you came upstairs, it seemed like there was always something: The busboy didn't clean the table, the trash was too full, the line needed someone else... but all of those were lessons in being a restaurant owner—you thought I wasn't paying attention but I was. And thanks for the money talks, the lease talks, for all the business sense you took time to teach me. Most of all for being a loving father and such a loving husband. Don't forget, I'm the number one world's best GM.

Cliff, my brother-in-law, for his constant support and help, and for making my sister so happy. Most of all for jumping on the line those first few weeks when the insanity began! We've sucked you into the restaurant and I am so happy you're along for this ride.

Mich, my sister, my confidante, my partner in crime. To say "I could never have done this book without you" is like calling the sky blue. As everybody knows, I've never been able to do anything meaningful without my sister. Looking back at pictures from our childhood lemonade stands, I drift back in time, with me rocking the boom box and you rocking all the important stuff. Even then, you held my hand, you had my back, you let me be me. You've been the single most loyal and loving person in my life, whether I was a confused teenager or Top Chef wannabe (and yes, you get full credit for getting me on the show). I mean, you even found the location for Good Stuff Eatery! You've made so many of my dreams come true. Thank you, Michy. And now you're a mother and me, an uncle. So, on this book, our latest bro/sis collaboration, I swear to give your daughter all the unconditional love, support, patience, protection, comfort, and encouragement you've given me. Not to mention, she's also getting my Greek name. Calm down, people, she won't be called Spike, it's Evangelina, as in Evangelos. The fact that it's a middle name and she's really named after our mother, Catherine, is beside the point. One last thing, since I'm predictably past deadline—and inevitably driving my beloved big sister up the wall... just remember... love ya.

To the casting crew at Magical Elves and Bravo who put me in the fourth season of Top Chef: Chicago, one of the most exhausting, grueling, and best experiences I've ever had. Particularly to Andy Cohen and Victoria (Tory) Brody and their team, who continue to support me along the way and have become part of the family.

A cookbook can't be written without giving thanks to the training in the kitchen, on the floor, and during those late night drinks when you're exhausted from service. To the greats who have helped me along the way:

Drew Nieporent and Myriad Restaurant Group; Michael Huynh of Mai House; Gérard Boyer and Les Crayères; Thomas Keller and Bouchon; the Maccioni family of Le Cirque.

Art Smith, whose success and accomplishments in the kitchen and constant generosity towards humanity are inspiring for any young chef. His warm personality is infectious and he's become family.

José Andrés, who gave me the best opening night gift for Good Stuff Eatery. Chef came in and took the time to see what we were doing and gave advice on how we could make our restaurant better for our staff and our customers—we loved it. Learning from a master is the best way. I hope that as my family opens more places, he'll continue to do that.

Thank you.


Goooood Stuuuufff!


So, in order to enjoy my guilty indulgence and make everyone enjoy theirs, my family and I opened Good Stuff Eatery, a restaurant that focuses on farm-fresh ingredients right from the farm to your table.

How do I make this more challenging? Go into business with my parents, make my sister quit her job to do public relations, move my three closest friends to D.C., smuggle a cousin from Canada, and install a restaurant in what used to be a paper store and a bank.

But Good Stuff isn't just a burger place, it's a lifestyle, and the menu reflects that. We've thought out every single thing. We turn our own custard to make our hand-spun milkshakes; we researched many meat blends and picked the best; we use a potato for fries that no other restaurant uses but can be found at your grocery store. None of this is just to be different, it's simply to be delicious.

What is close to us, as you will see, is our menu and this cookbook, which reflect our families' and friends' experiences and favorite memories. What I mean is that everything on the menu has meaning to us.

The name, Good Stuff Eatery, comes from my grandfather, Sunny Nakis. Whenever he enjoyed something in life he always gave a fist pump in the air (like those hockey players he grew up with) and said "Goooood, Stuuuuufff!"

"Everything has a meaning to us."