Chef Peter Serpico has returned to work after six months at his restaurant on South Street, but he and partner Stephen Starr have set out in a different direction.
Serpico (604 South St.), his edgy atelier, remains closed. He has added a separate option known as Pete’s Place, available only for pickup and delivery, with a menu that Serpico calls “kinda Korean" — that is, flavors that reflect his Korean heritage and American upbringing. He was adopted at age 2 and raised in Laurel, Md.
Pete’s Place opens Thursday, Oct. 1 for a limited preview before the grand opening on Tuesday, Oct. 6 with a menu of 10 dishes including hot and chilled noodle dishes and snacks.
“We can’t do outdoor seating, and 25% [occupancy] just won’t work,” Serpico said of the decision to operate as a ghost kitchen until Serpico can return. “We’re in the same position as everybody else out there.”
The Serpico experience was not just about the food, he said, but he was not about to package his Serpico menu to-go. When such expenses as food, overhead, taxes, and delivery fees are factored in, “you have to sell a piece of pork for 40 bucks.” The menu at Pete’s Place is priced much more reasonably.
The menu includes Korean fried chicken wings and bibimbap, as well as Tsukemen-style kimchi noodles; beef and radish soup; and pickled pepper ramen with charred serrano peppers.
While living in New York, Serpico worked with David Chang in 2006 as sous chef at the original Momofuku Noodle Shop in the East Village. He was by Chang’s side for six years, opening Momofuku Ssam, Momofuku Ko (where he was the opening chef de cuisine), Ma Peche, and ultimately, Momofuku Sydney.
In 2012, Starr offered him the chance to open his own restaurant in Philadelphia. After a drive through the city, Serpico was sold on a South Street location, and they signed for a storefront next door to what was a Starr concert venue in the 1980s called Ripley Music Hall. Serpico opened in 2013 to acclaim.
Starr said Pete’s Place is not intended as a pop-up restaurant. It will be open 4 to 10 p.m. daily for pickup or delivery through Caviar/DoorDash and Grubhub.