photography by Dan Sellers
Chef David Bull got his start peeling garlic in his grandparents’ Italian restaurant before he was old enough to drive. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, he began slinging pans for seven bucks an hour at the Mansion on Turtle Creek, where he peaked as their youngest sous chef ever. Then the boy wonder transformed the Driskill Grill into Austin’s top restaurant, winning him a spot among Food & Wine magazine’s 10 best chefs in America, a duel with Iron Chef Bobby Flay in the Great Boar War of 2006, and a James Beard award nomination this year. Now the Bull is back in Dallas to open his signature restaurant, Bolla and Bolla Bar (a loose translation, apparently, for “hot young chef”), after restoration of the historic Stoneleigh Hotel wraps early next year. “This is my baby,” he says. Having mastered New American and Southwestern cuisine, Bull returns to his roots. His modern Italian menu kicks the classics into the new millennium, pairing pappardelle with oxtail ragu and red wine butter sauce. But don’t be alarmed, Nonna. There will be meatballs. And even lesser-known treasures like bresaola veal roulade. “That’s the one that will make Grandma proud,” he says.