Owner of Barrington's to open 2nd restaurant

Bruce Moffett, chef-owner of the much-acclaimed Barrington's restaurant, has signed a lease for space near Park Road Shopping Center, where he plans a restaurant specializing in small plates, emphasizing local products.

Plans call for the place to open at 1701 Montford Drive by the end of November. Moffett's younger brother Kerry, who has cooked with him at Barrington's for the last eight years, will be part-owner and head chef.

“I've been looking and looking, and everywhere we found was so big, so overwhelming,” said Bruce Moffett. This location, which has been a series of restaurants, will seat about 45 to 50, with room for 20 to 25 at a sizeable bar. “I'm a small-restaurant kind of guy.”

And successfully so: The 45-seat Barrington's has fared well since opening eight years ago – Moffett notes his business this summer is up 20 percent from last year – and has since 2002 topped Charlotte-area restaurants in the national Zagat guide, which compiles votes by diners. Its menu is contemporary American, and Moffett, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, emphasizes simple, vibrant combinations.

The new restaurant offers “opportunities we don't really have here.”

Like what? “Like I'm hoping to get a whole lamb in from Underwood Farms (in Cleveland County) and use different parts. Or if Sammy (Koenigsberg) at New Town Farms has English peas – and they're only around for two weeks – we'll play with that. We're really trying to evolve the menu … We want to keep everything wide open.”

Moffett says he's wanted to do something with his brother and general manager Peggy Gibouin (who will serve as GM at both restaurants) for the last two years, and has modeled his timing – spending several years developing a following and refining systems – on that of nationally recognized chefs such as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Daniel Boulud.

Expect a contemporary look with hardwood ceilings and exposed brick. Dishes will range from $6 to $14 or so, and won't be confined to the Spanish definition of tapas, though that's an inspiration. “We'll do some Asian, lots of local produce … maybe a little bit of molecular gastronomy. I want to have fun with it.”