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Chef James Moore Strikes Out on His Own

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Chef James Moore (center) is opening his own place in April.

Chef James Moore (center) is opening his own place in April.

Chef James Moore, who opened Max’s Wine Dive and Boiler House Texas Grill & Wine Garden in San Antonio, is going out on his own. He’s planning on opening a bar with small plates in early April.

The location will be on North St. Mary’s Street, but the name of the new place hasn’t been chosen yet.

“I’ve wanted to do a bar for, like, the last 10 years,” he says.

Moore’s hoping the place will help spark a revitalization of an area that has seen better days. He remembers a time in years past when North St. Mary’s was a lively confluence of restaurants, bars and boutiques that drew people from Trinity University, Monte Vista and all around town.

He’s planning on offering a menu quite unlike Boiler House’s mix of grilled meats and wine. Instead, he wants to offer handmade cocktails, but without any fuss around the preparation or any prejudice about any of the ingredients. In other words, you’ll find vodka on the menu, without any excuses attached.

“I love vodka,” he says. “It’s my favorite.”

As for the food, it will include bar snacks and tapas, though he’s quick to point that they won’t necessarily be traditionally Spanish. The menu will be limited, because the kitchen will consist largely of a convection oven and an electric burner, he says.

Given the notorious delays that have hindered restaurant openings in the past — the Boiler House had been announced for last April, to cite one example, — what makes Moore think that his new place will be ready in a little more than a month?

“We’re remodeling right now,” he says, and the project looks to be on schedule.

Moore’s last day at the Boiler House is March 9. The owners of that restaurant haven’t named his successor yet, but they have wished him well, he says.

If the chef’s dreams work out, the bar will be the first of a number of concepts, including restaurants, that he’d like to open in San Antonio. Having opened two for others, he’s ready to try on his own.

“I want to work for me,” he says.

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