Bolsa – Dallas’ pioneer of the city’s farm-to-table food and craft cocktail movement marks the occasion of its 10th anniversary with a party that welcomes back former chefs and bartenders on Sunday, September 23 at 6pm to “when the booze run out”.
Looking back through the Crave Wayback Machine we have written dozens of articles on Bolsa through the years. Our Editor Steven Doyle even worked with then barman “Lucky” Eddie Campbell and Jason Kosmas for an entire day, walking through the process of setting up the bar, purchasing special ingredients which required driving across half the city, and even visited with a young Matt McCallister to learn how to make molecular pearls that would garnish the cocktails for that evening. We even recall Mr. Doyle wearing the signature Lucky hat and vest.
To commemorate this very special milestone, current executive chef Matt Balke will be joined in the kitchen by former chefs Graham Dodds, Jeffrey Harris, Andrew Bell, Eric Wolf, Joel Harrington and “Chuy” (long-time line cook who worked with every Bolsa exec chef) to create the evening’s food. Behind the bar, previous head bartenders Jason Kosmas, Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, “Dub” Davis, Kyle Hilla, Jones and Spencer Shelton will craft a collection of special cocktails.
Young Lucky at Bolsa
“Bolsa was at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement in our city when the regular consumer didn’t quite know what those words meant yet. It’s been an important restaurant for our city’s dining culture and everybody who’s worked here has gone on to have stellar careers,” says co-owner Chris Zielke.
Zielke continues, “We’re happy to have them all back to celebrate our anniversary but also recognize how much our dining scene has changed since Bolsa opened all those years ago. Sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that we popped the doors open, but in the restaurant business this is a really long time. Dallas has grown significantly since then and we wish to also honor a handful of our city’s best chefs and bartenders who helped make Dallas a serious dining destination.”
Matt Balke has had two different experiences at Bolsa over the years, starting as sous chef under Jeff Harris and now as executive chef.
“Bolsa has been a cornerstone of the Dallas dining scene for 10 years now and has turned out some of the city’s best chefs and bartenders. I’ve had the pleasure of working here twice,” Balke said. “I love the neighborhood, and the regulars are the best in the city. Here’s to another 10 years and many more adventures.”
Bolsa’s first chef, Graham Dodds, echoes many of those sentiments.
“Bolsa was really the restaurant where I made my name in Dallas. I became synonymous with the farm-to-table movement, developed my reputation for responsible sourcing and hone my style of cooking,” he says. “We didn’t have a walk-in refrigerator for the first year and a half, and I changed the menu daily based on what we got in from the farms every day. I’ve said many times that there’s not much you can’t do if you made it through some of those Saturday nights at Bolsa.”
Young Chef Dodds
Of his time there, Jeff Harris fondly recalls the relationships and connections he made with not just the staff, but the farmers, ranchers and community as a whole.
“I could feel it every time I walked through the door. I will always cherish my time spent there, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the anniversary party,” he says.
Tickets to the event are $10 and available through Prekindle or at the door if space is still available. The King Bucks and Elaina Kay will provide the party’s live music soundtrack. $10 gets you complimentary food and $5 cocktails. Kids are free.