Chris Vogeli Shares Challenges of Maintaining a Prime Steakhouse

For almost 20 years, III Forks has remained one of Dallas’s best-known prime steakhouses. Since it’s 1998 opening, it has become a holy mecca for steak-loving Dallasites and high-class connoisseurs. While things operate smoothly on a nightly basis, there is a lot of work that goes in to make sure guest service and overall experience are both impeccable.

On an April afternoon, I have the privilege of speaking with Proprietor and Executive Chef, Chris Vogeli. It is about an hour before dinnertime, but luckily, Vogeli has a good amount of time to talk to me in between staff meetings and front-of-house huddles.

“Since early on, we’ve always lived by the philosophy of taking care of everyone who enters our four walls,” Vogeli says of his III Forks team. “Consistency is the biggest challenge we face every day, but we always go out of our way to create a good atmosphere and to provide top-notch service.”

As one would expect, Vogeli is a perfectionist, therefore he is constantly training his employees to ensure that they are meeting the needs of everyone who walks in.

Vogeli and members of his finely selected team. (Photo credit: Tammany Stern)

“We spend a lot of time and money on training and on continuing training,” Vogeli says. “Nowadays, with dietary restrictions, we’re challenged on a daily basis. You’ve got the whole gluten-free thing, plus other trends. All of our servers are trained to guide those patrons into making good choices so they can come in and dine within their dietary needs.”

In order to meet everyone’s needs, Vogeli utilizes the highest quality ingredients in all of his dishes. However, given Texas’s notorious weather patterns, sourcing ingredients can prove difficult at times.

“We try to source locally, Vogeli says. “Unfortunately, we have short seasons in Texas. We’ve got grapefruit that we’ll incorporate into our dishes in January and February. We’ve got blueberries and peaches in June, but Texas’s unpredictable weather makes it tough to source locally.”

Vogeli also has included dishes on his menu, specifically intended for those wanting something other than steak, or heavy meats.

A crabcake from III Forks (Via Facebook)

“We offer some great seafood dishes,” Vogeli says. “It’s not just steaks. There’s something for everybody here.”

While Dallas, specifically the Far North, is becoming a hot-and-happening dining and nightlife district, III Forks has managed to remain the epitome of all things Dallas. However, this status has not been met without competition.

“Right now, there are too many stores in the area,” Vogeli says. “We’re not suffering, but this still poses a challenge. You’ve got all these fancy new places opening up in Plano and Frisco, and people are flocking to them. But trends come and go, and eventually, people find their way back to us.”

Although III Forks is a world-renowned steakhouse, Vogeli insists that those wanting to learn the craft of a luxury chef don’t need to stray too far from their own backyard.

Vogeli utilizes high-quality ingredients in his dishes. (Via Facebook)

“I’m a graduate from the El Centro Culinary Arts program,” Vogeli says. “I graduated in 1986 under Gus Kasrigis. Parents come up to me all the time and say ‘My kid wants to go into culinary arts, where should I send them?’ and I tell them ‘you can send them anywhere they want to go, but do not discount El Centro before making the final decision.’”

Vogeli also notes the importance of remembering to remain humble in the workplace. He reiterates that no task in the restaurant is beneath anyone.

You cannot be afraid to roll up your sleeves and jump into it,” Vogeli says. “You’ve got to be able to do every job that makes up the restaurant. Whether it’s mixing a drink or helping the dishwasher, you cannot be afraid to put in the work.”

This Sunday, III Forks will be offering a special Mother’s Day brunch menu from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. To make reservations, call (972)-267-1776.

 

Weekend Happenings 5/4 – 5/6: DIFF, Cinco De Mayo, and more

Dallas International Film Festival

It is officially DIFF season. The eight-day long film showcase kicked off yesterday, but don’t worry! You still have plenty of time to see some old classics and get familiar with some very promising independent filmmakers. The Dallas International Film Festival will be taking place at the Magnolia Theater, with various other festivities throughout Dallas’s West Village. Tickets are still available for purchase here. Check out the trailer for “American Curious,” which will be screening at The Magnolia this Sunday.

Cinco De Mayo Block Party

For the second year, the Cinco de Mayo Block Party will be returning to Mexican Sugar in The Shops at Legacy in Plano. Make your way over to Lone Star Drive for $7 dollar margaritas, $4 beers, a live band, and a DJ!

 

Cinco in the Box Garden

The Box Garden in Legacy Hall is now open! All five of the Box Garden’s new bars will be serving $6 margaritas, plus there will be live performances by Russ Hewitt, Mariachi Rosa Divinas, and Havana NRG.

Cottonwood Art Festival

Looking to see some beautiful art for free? Cottonwood Art Festival will be taking place in Richardson this Saturday and Sunday. At Cottonwood, festival-goers can behold a variety of digital art, metalworks, and various other forms of art. Plus, free live performances by BJ Stricker & The Kings, Kirk Thurmond & The Millenials, and American Idol contestant Ron Bultognez. Check out Bultognez’s American Idol audition below!

Soluna

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s contemporary and performing arts festival kicks off this Sunday. In this year’s Soluna, the performers and artists will incorporate strong educational and science components into their work. For a full list of performers, events, and venues, click here. Check out the video below to see The Dallas Symphony Orchestra celebrate 40 years of singing!

Dallas International Guitar Festival

Into good old rock and roll? You’ve got to swing by Market Hall for the 41st annual Dallas International Guitar Festival. See some performances by a variety of rock stars from across the country. For tickets, click here.

Mayfest

Yesterday, Mayfest kicked off in Fort Worth’s Trinity Park. There are three days left to enjoy live music, festival food, carnival rides, performing arts, pet adoptions, and so much more. For tickets, click here.