By Jennifer Sierra
In about 2 weeks, a well-heeled chef will open a new restaurant in Dayton, Kentucky on 6th Avenue in the heart of the Central Business District. Rick Zumwalde, Executive Chef and Owner of this new restaurant, The Purple Poulet, sat down with us to discuss the menu, the decor and his experience. What I discovered during the interview was what a big deal and hidden gem this new restaurant was going to be.
Chef Rick Zumwalde has years of experience from many different establishments. For 9 years he owned and was the executive chef at The Milan Railroad Inn in Indiana where they were known for their award-winning fried chicken. He was a chef at the Cincinnati Club and Banker’s Club downtown, Executive Chef at the Qaulity Inn revolving restaurant in Covington, U.S. Foods, Christ Hospital, The Beaumont Inn in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and Wood Brothers (formerly Town and Country in Ft. Wright) just to name a few.
Chef Zumwalde chose Dayton, Kentucky to open his restaurant because of the CCAP program that gives incentives to new businesses in Dayton. He also liked the location since it is close to his home in Ft. Thomas. He not only plans on bringing good food to the area, he will be bringing a few new jobs too. He is hiring 2 or 3 experienced servers and 1 experienced bartender. He is conducting interviews now so if you are interested and experienced, get your resume to him.
The restaurant was decorated by Zumwalde and his wife. The decor is very French Country with chandeliers, bourbon barrels and roosters. White linens grace the tops of tables and are paired with purple napkins. Bourbon barrels with round wooden table tops on them, create several bar height tables with purple upholstered chairs. The front of the restaurant has 2 beautiful round tables, one of which sits cozily by a fireplace and is surrounded by brown leather club chairs. The long bar welcomes visitors when they walk in the door. The Purple Poulet sign was designed by local, Dayton artist, Leslie Carr.
This self-proclaimed “Southern Bourbon Bistro” will have an amazing menu that will be worth crossing the Ohio River and O’Fallon Avenue for. The mouth-watering, Charleston and New Orleans inspired menu will be sure to make regulars out of most foodies. Some of the items listed were: Oysters, dipped in buttermilk and fried; fresh baked biscuits topped with ham or mascarpone and Bourbon-Pepper-Peach Jam or topped with Fried green tomato and a fried egg; Southern Caeser salad with fried black-eyed peas and toasted cornbread croutons; sweet potato beignets; Crabcake Sandwich with fried green tomato and Tobasco Aioli.
Zumwalde’s claim to fame is his fried chicken. You can get fried chicken in several ways at his place. Kentucky Coq Au Vin is bourbon brined with red wine and bacon gravy and is served with mushrooms and Creole grits. He also serves a dish he calls “Fried Chicken and a Waffle” which is a half-chicken served with a sweet potato-bacon-cornbread waffle, pecan butter and maple-bourbon syrup.
Other dishes on the expansive menu include, salmon, hot brown, shrimp and grits, burgers, steak and veal. There is something for everyone and for every range of appetite. Rick wants people to come in and be able to order several appetizers as a meal or order separate entrees but the goal is for people to share and experiment with their palate. He wants people to try new dishes and flavor combinations. This is one place you want to go and eat a different meal every time.
To finish off the meal, he will be offering coconut layer cake, bread pudding with warm caramel bourbon sauce, a flaming butterscotch crime brûlée, Coca-Cola Cake with peanut butter fudge frosting, Kentucky Tiramisu which is ladyfingers marinated in bourbon with a sweet potato custard, cobbler and regionally-made ice creams favors like honey-bourbon and buttermilk blackberry.
The opening night is set to happen mid-February and the restaurant hours will be 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM on Tuesdays through Saturdays. If things go well, Zumwalde would consider brunch hours on Sunday and maybe even being open for lunch during the week. The prices will range from the teens for appetizers to the thirties for entrees like steak.