After a stint on Top Chef and a few years in restaurant consulting, Chef Tre Wilcox will officially make modern Southern cuisine Dallas' most popular restaurant trend of 2016. Yesterday, a press release announced that Wilcox will lead the kitchen at Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine, scheduled to open in Plano early next year.
According to the release, Julia Pearl will be a "celebration of Southern life and hospitality," and "meld classic Southern cuisine with modern culinary techniques." The menu will focus on providing locally-sourced meats and produce "whenever possible," and feature Southern classics like deviled eggs, roasted redfish, and (of course) smoked brisket. No word on the cocktail program this early in the game, but the focus will be on offering an extensive array of Bourbon whiskey.
Located at 2301 N. Central Expressway, the restaurant will occupy a whopping 6,000 square feet of space in the building that once housed Allen Wickers Pub. The design will feature the usual modern Southern restaurant decor — exposed bricks, wood and leather, and local art hanging on the walls.
Wilcox will pair with the fledgling Trendine Restaurant Group to provide "expertise in menu and recipe development, pricing, food cost, staff training, and restaurant operations." Interestingly enough, though, he will not serve as executive chef at Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine. Instead, the kitchen’s executive chef will be announced at a later date.
In June, Trendine Restaurant Group launched a campaign on Fundable, a site where small businesses can raise capital, to crowdfund the costs of opening Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine. The group is no longer raising funds, but the Fundable profile does include one tidbit worthy of mention. As part of the restaurant’s focus on giving back to the community, it will donate 5% of its profits to community initiatives each quarter.
Next year will mark Wilcox's first major foray into the Dallas restaurant scene since his time as executive chef at The Marquee Grill in its fine dining heyday. Wilcox left shortly after The Marquee Grill was rebranded to Village Marquee in 2012 to return to his successful private chef business.
Wilcox is certainly jumping back into the restaurant world head-first after years of consulting and reality TV, including his recent appearances on Knife Fight and Beat Bobby Flay. The first of the year will no doubt be busy for the seasoned chef, who will also launch Tre Wilcox Cooking Concepts in Plano in January 2016 alongside Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine.