The Cliff Goes Wine Bar Chic

Overstuffed orange cushions provide padding to sleek picnic tables, and metal electrical boxes serve as tiny flower pots. All of this comes together to create an environment that is more typically seen in Austin, but will feel right at home in Oak Cliff.

Bolsa is set to open to the public during the first week of July, but a handful of CliffDwellers were treated to a sneak preview.
Located at the corner of Llewellyn Avenue and West Davis Street, across the street from both Gloria’s and Taqueria El Si Hay, Bolsa has all the ingredients to become a popular destination.

Founded by CliffDwellers Chris Zielke and Christopher Jeffers, and with partners Alexander Urrunaga and Royce Ring, Bolsa seeks to provide the neighborhood with something unique. Having previously been involved with notable hotspots such as Hotel Zaza, Village Burger Bar and the Stoneleigh Hotel, the goal for Bolsa is to create “a great little place that holds great things inside,” explains Jeffers. “Great food to be tasted and shared, wonderful wines to be explored, and great little finds in the market to be discovered.”

Bolsa is several concepts rolled into one. Bolsa is a wine bar. And a restaurant. And a market. And it has perhaps the largest outdoor seating area in north Oak Cliff. “We wanted people to be able to stop by after work, have a glass of wine, say hello to friends, pick up something for dinner, and head home,” says Zielke.

The chef for Bolsa is Graham Dodds, who had previously turned heads at Dragonfly. His emphasis will be on fresh, locally-grown ingredients, and his tools include a wood-fired oven. In addition, the kitchen has no freezer and no fryer. “Locally grown produce, locally crafted cheese, jams, jellies and honey will play important roles in our menu,” says Jeffers. “If it is grown in Texas, is organic and high quality, Chef Dodds will find a way to build it into a dish or sandwich or bite to-die-for,” Jeffers states.

The bar takes center stage, connecting the minimalist interior with the spacious patio through a huge set of windows. “The bar will focus on wines we hand select, with the goal being to make them affordable to buy, interesting to discover, and sensational to drink,” says Zielke. The wine list will change frequently as new favorites are discovered, but a constant will be the house-made Sangria, offered in both the traditional red and a peach-infused white.

The market will feature everything that a bohemian convenience store should, from a copy of the New York Times to fresh flowers to Chef Graham and his wife, Amy’s, home-raised honey and beeswax candles. “We also plan to have staples such as olive oil, organic pasta, artisan chocolates and a wide selection of drinks,” explains Jeffers.

Now the name Bolsa means “bag” in Spanish, and what you take home in your bag is an important distinction for this establishment. Due to a seldom-used loophole in the arcane and outdated Texas alcohol laws, if you sample your wine at Bolsa when you buy it, you can re-cork the bottle and take it home with you. It’s a far cry from being able to buy wine at the local grocery store, but it will be a nice addition to picking up dinner and flowers for a quiet evening at home.

The building that houses Bolsa has been lovingly restored by David Spence with Goodspace, but its origins as the Settles Garage are still evident in the concrete floors, large overhead doors facing Davis, and airy interior. Some readers may recall the old snow cone and hotdog stand that once inhabited the space where the patio is now found.

“Finding the right restaurant for this building was very important to me,” says Spence. “We were approached by many interested parties, but I’m thrilled we were patient. Bolsa fits the space perfectly and will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood,” Spence concludes.

Great food, friendly atmosphere
and wine to take home? We’re sold. Welcome, welcome, welcome to
the hood.  


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