Dining » Fat Mouth

Wine and Dine

Terry Barkley goes south to uncork.

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Several readers have e-mailed me to ask what happened to Terry Barkley, who was the first chef at Nara (1617 Main), until owner Casey Adams bid him sayonara a couple of months ago.

The last time I saw Terry, he was toying with the idea of taking over the tiny restaurant spot on the second floor of Halls Crown Center, which had recently been vacated by Scott and Gigi Cowell of Europa Bakery and Market. The Cowells had turned the former Patio Restaurant into a charming little lunch spot called L'Etage. But they discovered that it wasn't exactly a profit machine, particularly with a clientele made up of Hallmark employees and tightfisted shoppers. Barkley decided that it wouldn't be a very good deal for him, either.

I finally received an e-mail from Terry, informing me that he had landed out south. Way south. He's now the chef at the Wine Bar, a combination bistro and wine-tasting boutique attached to the Lukas Liquor Superstore (13657 Washington). The Wine Bar is managed, fortuitously, by Marcie Barkley, the wife of Terry's nephew, Eric. And Eric Barkley is also a chef, way across town, overseeing the kitchen at the National Golf Club in Parkville.

The Wine Bar has 98 vintages on tap in Italian-made Eno machines that operate by inserting a prepaid Eno card into a slot; the mechanism automatically dispenses 2 ounces of red wine or 1-, 2- or 5-ounce pours of chilled white wines. The concept is not unlike an old-fashioned automat but far more intoxicating.

For patrons who want a little nosh with their vino, there's also a full-service restaurant serving an array of light dishes created by Barkley, including sandwiches, salads, paninis, a charcuterie plate and at least one dessert.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Marcie Barkley says customers don't have to drink to enjoy chef Terry's fare, but most of the clientele can't help but be tempted by the wide variety of wines that can be sampled at one time.

"But you don't have to drink wine," she says. "We have scotches and port, too."

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