Lisa Balliet, opening executive chef of Stephan Pyles' AquaKnox before her sudden departure early last year, has turned up in Lakewood to undertake a new project: the transformation of The Cock & Bull. She'll partner with Cock & Bull owner Noel Graham and sublease the kitchen to create a small bistro menu for the woody pub. Her short menu of five entrees, three appetizers, and three desserts plus daily specials will be introduced January 1. "It's perfect for me," she says. "I'm working for myself now...and I can just do my own thing." Graham says that depending on how the partnership unfolds, they plan to open more restaurants in the Dallas area, the first as early as next year.
What forced Balliet's split with Pyles and company? "I really don't know what happened myself," she says. "Basically I go in one day, and they tell me I can no longer work there." Balliet suspects her firing was related to Carlson Restaurants Worldwide's acquisition of Star Canyon and AquaKnox, as it occurred within days of the deal's closure. Since that time, she has been consulting, catering, and seriously considering a move back to her home state of California. "I haven't had the best of luck here in Dallas," she laments. "But I'm always a believer, and I still think there's a lot of opportunity here for me." In the city for just over two years, Balliet was lured to Dallas from San Francisco's renowned restaurant Masa by Cafe Pacific owner Jack Knox. She was at Cafe Pacific for just one year before the opportunity at AquaKnox popped up. After her experiences with Knox and Pyles, she says she is looking forward to assuming an ownership role as well as running an entire kitchen herself.
After sipping wine and nibbling cheese in Paris last year, Julie Stevens and her boyfriend Clancy Martin (owner of Martin's Custom Jewelers in Arlington) decided that what Dallas really needs is a wine and cheese bar. Dubbed Cork, their Dallas wine bar incarnation will open next to P.D. Johnson's Deli on McKinney Avenue in February. It will feature a list of 75 wines and a menu of international cheeses plus prosciutto and pate...After forming the restaurant company Villa 2000, former Mansion ma”tre d' Wayne Broadwell and former Sipango chef Matthew Antonovich plan to open a pair of restaurants: an American grill in uptown set to open in May, and another restaurant set to open at the Mockingbird Station project in late 1999.
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