Oak Cliff’s original farm-to-table restaurant turns 10

Photo by Elliott Muñoz

It’s like Oak Cliff spawns trendy gastropubs with ampersands in their names.

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There were several nice restaurants in Oak Cliff 10 years ago — the staples, Hattie’s, Tillman’s and La Calle Doce. Zen Sushi had just opened.

But there was not a farm-to-table concept before 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.

When Bolsa first opened in a renovated former mechanics garage in 2008, it was a big deal. The media loved it. Foodies bragged about their forays into edgy Oak Cliff. Chefs ate there. Locals elbowed up for draft beer and cocktails.

The owners expanded into Smoke, Chicken Scratch and Bolsa Mercado, among other ventures.

And Bolsa is still going strong.

The restaurant celebrates its 10th anniversary starting at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, and they’re bringing back all your favorite people.

Former executive chefs Graham Dodds, Jeffrey Harris, Andrew Bell, Eric Wolf, Joel Harrington will join current chef Matt Balke for the night. And previous head bartenders Jason Kosmos, Eddy “Lucky” Campbell, “Dub” Davis, Kyle Hill, Joni Long and Spencer Shelton will be on the shakers.

“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,” says Bolsa’s first chef, Graham Dodds. “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.”

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