Despite what many of us may think, or suspect anyway, former Voltaire executive chef George Papadopoulos is not relieved to be free of his Big D ties. In fact, he gets wistful when you bring up Dallas.
"I loved it over there," he says from somewhere in New York. "It was such a great place to be. I like the people, I like the environment, I like the way of life. And of course all of the beautiful women..."
Chef George gets pensive and longing when you bring up Voltaire owner Scott Ginsburg, and he quickly bats down any suggestion of an abrasive departure. "I would say Scott was the best thing that happened to me down there," he assures. "There was no disagreement at all."
And on the subject of Voltaire, chef George positively gushes. "That restaurant was one of the best restaurants I've ever been in, or I'll ever be in. That restaurant was paradise. It was a dream come true. And I hope whoever's still there realizes that."
Which brings up the question of why anyone but a hair-shirt wearer would leave this dreamy paradise in the first place. "It was time to move on," he says. "I did everything I said I was going to do, and I went on from there...It's an evolutionary process. You gotta keep on learning. You can't stand still."
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So what has chef George got up his toque now? Philly. He's poised to storm the City of Brotherly Love via the kitchen at one of the largest country clubs in North America--one so big he can't disclose the name. "It's another project I can sink my teeth into," he adds.
But in the end, chef George only has the warm and fuzzies for the Big D, and he vows to return to do his own thing, something that doesn't include someone looking over his shoulder. "I still got my heart in Dallas. I really enjoyed being down there. I can't say anything other than that."
Joel Lebovitz, operator of the Thomas Avenue Beverage Company, opened his new restaurant, 2900 Thomas Avenue, late last month just across the street from TABC. The menu is the work of chef Mike Smith (formerly of TABC) and sous chef Chad Bowden (formerly of The Grape), and it features things like pan-seared foie gras, red and yellow tomato carpaccio, and braised lamb shank with smoked mozzarella and sun-dried tomato grits...Jimmy Lu's, that Asian bistro vised between Carson's Palace and Sullivan's Steakhouse, has closed. A sign on the door promises a resurrection at a new location.