Fried Chicken & Caviar: Transforming a bistro into the neighborhood’s third place

Photograph by Kathy Tran.

Bobby Pollette was just 16 when he found his love for food and sought a mentor in the restaurant industry. Then resident of Hawaii, he finds Jeff Acol, chef of the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. Acol became Pollette’s mentor throughout each’s two-decade career.

Acol moved to Naples in 2008 and opened a restaurant called A Table Apart, which he owned with his wife until the industry took a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Pollette graduated from high school and started a catering business called Hapa Catering, which often brought him to Preston Hollow until he too had to take a break due to COVID-19.

“It really gave us time to rethink what we wanted to do,” says Pollette.

The couple decided to open a French-inspired restaurant between Roti Modern Mediterranean and Salata in Preston Center, calling their newest venture Au Trois, or “third place” in French. The two designed Au Troisieme, or AT Bistro, to be a neighborhood restaurant – somewhere you would go once or twice a week.

“I was surprised at what a foodie city Dallas is when I arrived,” says Acol. “It’s such a promising city when it comes to competition. Customer loyalty is always a wonderful thing and so is the camaraderie of local restaurateurs. It’s sort of the perfect community.

Guests can often be seen pushing tables together to eat as a group, a sight Pollette considers evidence that they have achieved their goal.

“We want that feeling to be that of the neighborhood,” says Pollette. “A place where you can meet a friend over a drink or a good meal… really a kind of third place. You have your job, your house and then this place where you like to go.

The family-friendly menu to share combines classic southern dishes with odes to the owners’ past, with seafood like fire-roasted octopus and French dishes like onion dip.

“Coming from Hawaii, we have a very diverse background,” says Acol. “It’s (the menu) kind of a collaboration of our travels and our flavor profiles.”

Although the restaurant has a laid back, friendly and laid back atmosphere, the food and drink is far from typical of a casual restaurant. The bistro is open for lunch, brunch and dinner with an additional happy hour menu.

Au Troisieme has a full bar, with craft cocktails like the Tazmanian Debil, featuring Fords Gin, Apricot Liqueur, and Lillet Blanc, and an extensive wine list, with bottles ranging from $52 to $96. Wine is also sold by the glass.

The wine collection is showcased at AT’s Fried Chicken, Caviar and Burgundy Night on the first Tuesday of each month.

“(We) bring the fun side of country cooking and elevate it with amazing wines and fun caviars to choose from, showing you can have great wine with any kitchen,” says Pollette.

At the third,8305 Westchester Drive,

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