Longtime Barking Frog chef Bobby Moore, who recently announced his plans to leave the restaurant after 20 years, is moving into a chapter of restaurant ownership by taking over Bellevue restaurant Bis on Main and revamping B Bar as Bar Moore, a seafood-focused modern European cocktail lounge.
In late June, Moore announced he was leaving the kitchen at Barking Frog and Willow’s Lodge to Dylan Herrick and hinted that he had a new project in the works. Now, he say he’ll take over Bis on Main on October 1 and is shooting to have Bar Moore open the first week of September.
Moore says he’s excited to be spending more time on Main Street in Bellevue, which he describes as “the heartbeat of Bellevue.” “There are a lot of cool eclectic restaurants in the area,” Moore says. “It’s growing. It’s up-and-coming.”
At Bis on Main, he hopes to improve on a white-table-cloth institution that has a loyal fanbase.
“I’m going to honor the hard work the owner put into it over the last 24 years,” Moore says. “ want to retain the staff. I want to keep the name.”
The chef at the restaurant, Sal Gonzalez, will remain the same while Moore acts as chef-owner of both businesses. Moore says he’ll keep much of the current menu but also wants to put twists on some of the dishes and will enhance the menu with more local and seasonal ingredients, working with farmers he developed relationships with during his time at Barking Frog.
The next-door Bar Moore will be somewhere diners could get drinks and snacks before or after dinner at Bis on Main, or as somewhere to spend an entire evening drinking and eating.
“I want to serve food like I like to eat,” Moore says. “I’m kind of a snacker. I think a lot of chefs eat that way.”
Moore is a devotee to French food. Much like the late Anthony Bourdain, whom he likes to quote (“I learned every important lesson, all the most important lessons of my life as a dishwasher”), he’s a devotee of Pike Place restaurant Le Pichet, a lover of butter, and a sucker for raw oysters pulled out of the cold waters of the Puget Sound.
So, Bar Moore will serve plenty of oysters, poached prawns, charcuterie, foi gras torchon, and a big block of butter will sit on the bar, ready to be scooped for bread service. Drinks will be bright, refreshing, celebratory, and made to be paired with seafood — with cava and grower’s Champagne and cocktails (Moore’s favorite is currently made with gin, St. Germaine, and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. To match this classic menu, Moore installed velvet-and-leather banquets for diners and royal-blue wallpaper.
At Bis on Main, Moore also plans to do some remodeling, probably knocking down a few walls to give the space a more open vibe.
While restaurant ownership might be a change of pace after two decades as an executive chef, Moore says he plans to stay heavily involved in the kitchen.
“I’m a chef at heart. I’m going to be in the kitchen. I’m going to be on the floor,” Moore says.
And after leaving Barking Frog in Herrick’s hands, he says he feels reenergized for the next chapter.