by Jennifer Sierra
On the nicest spring evening we have had yet, The Purple Poulet (Poulet is French for chicken) opened its doors for business. The restaurant is casually elegant and reminiscent of a French bistro with funky touches of purple, roosters, bourbon barrels and chandeliers paired with reclaimed lumber in all the right places. The owners, Executive Chef Rick Zumwalde and his wife Roxanne, both from Ft. Thomas, were greeted with an enthusiastic crowd of city officials. Everyone has been anxiously waiting for this business to open. Rick’s restaurant is one of the new businesses that has taken advantage of the CCAP incentive program that Dayton, Kentucky put in place last year to draw businesses into the area.
Several council members were on hand; Ben Baker, Bill Burns and Joe Neary, who helped turn Zumwalde on to opening his restaurant in Dayton. Mayor Boruske, City Administrator, Michael Giffen and the former city Main Street Manager, Anthony Cadle helped welcome Purple Poulet as well. The crowd spilled onto the street for the ribbon cutting.
The restaurant’s flavor is based on bourbon, a Kentucky staple so Chef Zumwalde uses it throughout the menu. After a champagne toast to the new restaurant, I ordered some dinner. The Sweet Potato Beignets were to die for! Is it dessert, an appetizer or what? Who cares?! Basically, they were incredible puffs of heaven drizzled with maple syrup and sprinkled with crumbled bacon. The oysters were a must have with wasabi horseradish sauce.
Then there was this little biscuit number called “The Egg Came First”. This is a buttermilk biscuit like your granny would make with homemade pimento topped with a fried green tomato then topped with a fried egg accompanied by a garnish salad of pickled green beans. In the brine of that pickling juice were whole cloves and jalapeno peppers among other interesting flavors.
Don’t forget to order some bourbon at The purple Poulet. Pair your dinner with an Old Fashioned. You pick your bourbon and they make the drink to perfection. The Steak Frites were amazing. The steak was cooked perfectly but seasoned even better. It was really one of the best steaks I have had in a long time. The frites (a.k.a. French fries) were terrific too. The steak is also served with asparagus. Let’s move on to the the pièce de résistance. THE FRIED CHICKEN!!!!!! This was the best fried chicken I have ever had! I fancy myself as a fried chicken connoisseur and let me tell you that you can’t go wrong with ordering that here. This was paired with crisp green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy. There were tales of Chef Rick’s famous, fried chicken from his time at The Milan Railroad Inn but tasting is believing.
For dessert, I had the Cola Cake with peanut butter icing which was served with fresh strawberries and a darling little soda float. To cleanse one’s palate Chef Zumwalde had made a Blood Orange Sorbet.
The restaurant was hopping with folks from all over town. People from Riverpointe had heard about the place and came to the opening as well as people from the historic section of Dayton, Kentucky. I heard one Riverpointe resident say, “I am so excited to have this place 1 mile from our house.” Council members Joe Neary and Ben Baker also decided to dine there, giving the new business some support from city council.
Come on down to Dayton, Kentucky because THIS is how a restaurant is done. Rick and Roxanne will make you feel right at home.