Graham Dodds, Formerly of Bolsa, Announces New Plans

Graham Dodds readies for a new close up soon.

The other day we announced the big switcheroo in the kitchen at Bolsa. Chefs Jeff Harris and Matt Balke, the Starsky and Hutch of the Dallas dining scene, joined the team at Bolsa to open Bolsa Mercado in November. A press release informed us that the chef-from-the-beginning-of Bolsa, Graham Dodds, “announced last week that he has decided to pursue another opportunity” or DTPAO.

To seasoned industry veterans, DTPAO is code for “we really don’t want to talk about what went on behind the scenes.” I called Graham and asked him to tell me the real story.

“I had a great time with Bolsa and it was a great three-year run,” Dodds said. “I’ve been working on a concept with a partner and some investors since mid-July.” I pressed his feet to the fire, so to speak, to get details. But Dodds gave me little. “I can’t say much but it’s going to me my kind of place. I’ve been cooking like this [Bolsa] for a long time and it is my basic philosophy,” Dodds said. “I want a small restaurant with a small kitchen.” He did say he and his partner have narrowed potential sites down to a few and wherever it ends up, it will not be Oak Cliff. “I loved being a part of the Oak Cliff community and watching it grow,” Dodds said. “But I have a five year old daughter and a mortgage to pay.”

12 comments on “Graham Dodds, Formerly of Bolsa, Announces New Plans

  1. Just curious if working chef at one of the most popular OC restaurants doesn’t “support” a mortgage and children…then what does? How much do all these big chefs whose names we throw around in the blogs and get all excited about there new projects really make?…Just wondering since I have no idea. Thanks.

  2. @Jim that caught my eye too. Oak Cliff is one of the more affordable neighborhoods and Rosemont Elementary is regarded as being pretty good. My guess is that it has to do with schools more than anything, but still…you do have to wonder what a star chef’s salary looks like.

  3. He probably owns a home in a pricier area, and needed more money. Now let’s hear what a great place OC is to raise a family……….

  4. Pingback: Chef Dodds Has Left Bolsa | Oak Cliff People

  5. I think he probably meant that the Oak Cliff restaurant scene is really competitive right now – not the easiest place to open a new restaurant. Plus, if you are thinking small restaurant with small kitchen you are also thinking high price per plate. Certainly Lucia does well with this model in Oak Cliff, but Park Cities/ Preston Hollow probably makes more sense. Good luck to Chef Graham!

  6. He meant that he basically doesn’t have a job right now. He is developing a project–that isn’t a paying gig. Once it gets funded and into motion, he will draw money but until then he is a chef without a kitchen.

  7. he lives in a quiet neighborhood, modest houses, south of white rock off Ferguson. nothing fancy.

  8. Rumor on the streets is that the owners of Bolsa are phasing out local, sustainable, organic ingredients to cut costs. As he says in this article, the chef has been cooking like that for years. I doubt he is on board with serving crap food. Good for him for parting ways.

  9. The Bolsa owners are cheap and only care about their precious profit. Watch as they slowly (or not so slowly) transition from organic and local produce to the same old cheap, corporate junk every other restaurant serves. Goodbye “no freezer, no fryer.” Mercado will be shilling $3 donuts and microwaved frozen food. Um, no thanks.
    Chef Dodds, please open up a new place soon so Dallas can once again have a champion for the fresh and local food movement!

  10. @OC FAN
    @ Beth

    I appreciate your genuine concern about Bolsa’s sourcing local, sustainable and organic products. We are most definitely not phasing out any of our suppliers. If anything, the opposite is true. With the increased kitchen size at Mercado we will greatly increase the amount of product we can buy locally and make in house. Look for us to start adding more local farms on our menu in the coming months.

    If we wanted to “transition to the same old cheap, corporate junk” we certainly would not have hired Jeff Harris and Matt Balke to lead our kitchens who both have been cooking with locally sourced products for as long as they have been working in restaurants (Craft and York Street, respectively).

    Instead of listening to rumors “on the streets”, why don’t you wait for Mercado to open and judge the product on the shelves for yourselves?

  11. Amen to Bolsa and their commitment to staying ahead of the game. If your life sucks so bad that you listen to rumors and then go “blog” about it, why don’t you pick up the old fashioned telephone, call the farmers and ask them who their number 1 customers in Dallas are.

    Working with farmers to keep their pricing competitive is part of the game.

    You’re probably fat anyways.