Meet Your Local Chef: Pat Pascarella at The White Bull
At The White Bull, Executive Chef Pat Pascarella can’t sleep at night if his restaurant has ingredients that weren’t grown and raised in Georgia on the menu.
Doesn’t get more local than that.
The White Bull is home away from home for a “really good group of people” which was handpicked by Pascarella and his partners.
They are a really good group of people with a slow burning passion for creating local food into an experience for their community.
Servers can be seen comfortably chatting with guests about the day’s menu while bartenders prepare fresh ingredients at a clean and modern bar.
When I opened this restaurant I wanted people to taste what it is.
- Chef Pascarella
The confident front-of-house staff mirrors the action in the kitchen, where Pascarella and his cooks work calmly and in-sync, cracking jokes every so often, and then taking a moment to admire a carefully plated dish, before returning their attention to their stations.
The 80-seat dining room on Decatur Square has a bright, contemporary design with the waitstaff and bartenders serving as pops of color in muted plums and blues.
Based on the daunting task of filling a blank page, The White Bull’s concept nods to infamous American author Ernest Hemingway’s idea with a thoughtful and bold design, ready to confront the new and the unknown in Atlanta’s food scene.
The beautiful space, though, is nothing compared to the local-based menu.
“I wanted [the restaurant] to be serious enough that people would appreciate what’s in front of them," Pascarella says.
What’s in front of diners at The White Bull are modern seasonal choices, revolving around house-made pasta, fresh seafood, and local meats and produce. These dishes are made from, hands down, the best food coming into the city, according to Chef Pascarella. He has known what the best food looks like from a young age.
Pascarella was born a chef and knew it when he traveled to Italy as a child. “I already knew what was good food and what was bad and I knew I wanted to be there, eventually,” Pascarella says.
The ambiguous “there” refers to his adult life, spent studying at culinary schools, training under James Beard Award-winning chefs in New York, London, and Miami, and committing to the local food community in Atlanta as executive chef at The Optimist.
With his newest venture as executive chef and partner of The White Bull, it’s clear that he’s there. Pascarella’s restaurant features 90% local food, and he’s working to get that to a 100% locally sourced menu.
We really want to know who's supplying this food.
- Chef Pascarella
Buying through wholesale distributors doesn’t fly at his restaurant -Pascarella wants to develop relationships with the farmers that he is purchasing from.
The menu reflects the best of what grows in Georgia during its season. Some of the ingredients are impossible to find -that is, unless you, like Pascarella, have developed relationships with the many local and family run farms in the South.
“We buy from Grant Wallace and Carolyn Reis Farm and we’ve become really good friends with them.” Pascarella says having a direct line to the producers that grow and raise the food he puts on his table is way better than doing all interactions through a middleman.
Looking forward, Pascarella is continuing to work towards becoming a restaurant that is 100% locally sourced food and has a completely sustainable locally sourced food menu.
This means preserving seasonal items after they come fresh from the soil. “If we have a tomato on the menu in the winter, it will be because we jarred them ourselves.”
This means that, as The White Bull continues to forge relationships in the food community, you can keep an eye out for locally-sourced dishes year-round.
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