Chef Phil Cline, former sous chef at Extra Virgin, had been working with chef Alex Pope on Local Pig, Pope's new — and still unopened — gourmet butcher-shop concept. That is, until last week when Joy Jacobs, owner of the R Bar (1617 Genessee in the West Bottoms), hired Cline to take the position of executive chef for R Bar — a position formerly held by Alex Pope.
"Phil decided that he really needed a full-time job, something more reliable than a new butcher shop," says Pope, who plans to have Local Pig open in two weeks. "Everything's fine between us. I wish him the best of luck."
Jacobs says she's thrilled with the Cline hire. She's planning to add an extra night, Wednesday, to the R Bar schedule in March. Last autumn, Jacobs reduced the hours of the combination restaurant, saloon and music venue to three nights a week. "We're taking baby steps back to being open all week," says Jacobs, who says she's also toying with the idea of reopening for lunch."
"Phil started with us part time," Jacobs says, "but we love him and want to keep him here."
Cline will introduce his first official R Bar dinner menu after Valentine's Day, but he has already planned his four-course prix fixe dinner — for $40 — for the Valentine's Day holiday. Jacobs says Cline's dinner menu for the restaurant will feature regional ingredients and "a more rustic cuisine," including pork chops, scallops and a cranberry bread pudding with toffee sauce." Most dinner entrees, Jacobs says, will cost less than $16.
"There was always the perception," she says, "that our prices were too high."
"Food is still a very important component of the R Bar," Jacobs says. "I think the food that Phil will be serving will reflect the kind of live entertainment and the experience we offer."