Former Lacroix sous chef Benjamin Moore is looking to make the leap from the line to the bottom line as he sets up Wister, a BYOB, at 26 N. Third Street in Old City. It will fill the former 26 North. Opening is projected in early October.
Moore, 35, is a French Culinary Institute grad whose background includes Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen (under Dan Kluger) and Le Bec-Fin (he was the landmark's very last hire). Moore also worked two stints for Jon Cichon at Lacroix - first as a line cook before he left to work at Avance, and most recently as a.m. sous chef.
You enjoy Lacroix's Sunday brunch over the last two years? That was Moore's work. He oversaw that before he left on Sept. 4.
At Wister - named after the Old City building's original owner, ironworker John Wister - Moore plans a rotating menu focusing on big, bold flavors that highlight the seasons. "I'm accustomed to working with the best ingredients," he said.
Fish will be a specialty. Sample menu items include pan-roasted Alaskan King Salmon, in a reduction of carrot juices and spices, pink lentils finished with thyme butter, and slow-roasted local carrots; as well as roasted monkfish loin, sungold tomato puree, grilled corn, blue crab jus and hush puppies.
Most entrees will be under $30, though Moore said he may have to price some dishes higher if the quality supports it.
Atmospherics will include exposed brick walls, fine metal work, and dimly lit tables.
It will serve dinner Tuesday to Saturday. Among plans are weekday lunch, Sunday brunch, and live jazz one night a week.
As for 26 North's chef/operator, Mike Stollenwerk: He has decamped to Haddonfield, where he is putting the finishing touches on a BYOB called Two Fish.