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Sep 22, 2011 08:24 PM

Pot Luck Buffet for 100

Hi foodies, I need some help here.

I'm having a 'large' poker game soon. At this game I'm expecting around 100 players, possibly more. We will have a dinner break. What can I have that meet these criteria?

1) Variety
2) Low Cost
3) Preferably finger-type food (will have rice or pasta, cheap filler)
4) Low Prep

Any and all suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Looking forward to your replies.


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  1. I'm assuming you're looking for prepared foods to purchase rather than make. also, I'm not sure how "gourmet" you're hoping the food to be. You might just want to head to Costco and see what options they have, but here are a couple of other ideas:

    Fresh rolls
    Loukoumades, spanakopita from Athens Bakery
    Meatballs - can be purchased at grocery store

    1. Potluck means everybody brings something to share. (


      Are you asking for ideas on what you should provide to go with all the various contributions, or are you providing a buffet for 100 and want to know how to feed 100 people inexpensively?

      1. I agree with Cathy. Are they all bringing something in the sense of a true potluck, or are you thinking of having a buffet?

        If you're feeding them, you can't go wrong with sandwiches. Meatballs, roast beef, hot roast pork, sausage and peppers, etc. Or hoagie trays - get an assortment, ( Italian, turkey, roast beef, tuna) have them cut into thirds and put onto trays.

        You can keep the prep to a minimum. Buy what you can from the store. Get disposable chafing dishes, disposable serving utensils, sterno, and someone to help you set up before the dinner break.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Whinerdiner

          Thanks for the replies so far.

          The players aren't bringing anything. What's happening is, my poker game is a fundraiser for a sports team. The parents on the team take care of the pot luck Last years game had a ton of salads and not too much of anything else. This year we are actually assigning food items to individuals to bring. The common denominator is that everyone spends roughly the same. I like the idea of meatballs..could have many variations, as well as sandwiches. A couple loukoumades each for a treat, now we're talking.

          1. re: levendis

            So it's not really a 'potluck'... if you want to keep the element of randomness/free choice in it don't tell people exactly what to make - just assign X number of people to salad, X to a side-dish, and X to dessert. That way you won't have 25 pasta salads and 2 desserts.

            1. re: Kajikit

              Kajikit, you're right. Maybe what I should have originally ask was suggestions for affordable fare to host/cater an event like this by parents that want to keep the cost low. But like you said, the element of randomness provides nothing but salads.

              1. re: levendis

                I'd definitely stick with the idea of assigning X number of salads, X number of main dishes, etc. Don't forget to assign people for rolls, condiments, plates, etc. The kids on the sports team could provide the clean up.

                It's great that the parents are providing the food. Make your life easier by asking them to bring their dish ready to serve. Like meatballs in a crock pot, salad in a bowl, cold sandwiches on a tray, etc.

                If it doesn't all have to be finger food, maybe you could put chili or baked ziti on the list. Good luck and have a great time.

                  1. re: levendis

                    Just a thought, but since this is a fund raiser for a youth sports team, maybe you could get a local pizza shop to donate some pizzas, or sell them to you at a reduced rate.

                1. re: levendis

                  You know it's easier to manage by e-vite because you can request xxxx meat dishes, yyyy salads, etc and people sign up for what they want. It's updated as they sign up so it's easy to keep track of.

                  You can pick a theme: eg. pulled pork, cole slaw, biscuits/bread, mac and cheese, corn, brownies, chips, drinks, paper products. For something that's more expensive, like pulled pork, have more people bring that. Also, things that are more labor intensive should cost less; things like soda that are easy, cost more. With a general idea of the meal, it makes it more cohesive. It can be anything--chili bar, taco bar, baked potato bar, etc.

                2. re: Kajikit

                  My experience is that you have two pasta salads and 25 desserts- same point, though.

                  1. re: EWSflash

                    not knowing how much time you have to prep or what kind of facilites you have to re-heat I would cook as much before as possiable and re-heat as you go.

                    - a couple of ham's w/ nice mustard sauce
                    - a whole Turkey (on the bbq rocks).
                    - Chili
                    - pulled pork sliders etc.
                    - I love the Jerk Chicken sliders and Slaw (keep warm in a crock pot).

                    Various Salad etc.

                    if you're in a pinch a couple Giant Pizza's delivered and cut small (box cut) can also help make up any shortage in food - plus everyone loves Pizza.

                    My experiance with feeding a large crowd is that if you let them graze as opposed to a full sit down meal your food will go much further as people eat more slowly.

                    hope this helps - good luck.

                    1. re: sparky403

                      Thanks for all the suggestions. Here's what the plan is.

                      2 pork shoulder for pulled pork done the day before
                      300 or so meatballs
                      2 pots of chili
                      rice & potatoes
                      pasta salad with and without tuna
                      bean salad
                      green salad
                      sandwiches cut in quarters

                      big box of loukoumades and coffee

                      not bad for free food at a who's coming? :)

                      hope it turns out ok