Expertly splitting the difference between reliable neighborhood restaurant and distinctive dinner destination, Serpico is a sleek and personable paean to cutting-edge American dining. The vision of James Beard Award winner Peter Serpico, this 60-seat destination on Philadelphia’s iconic South Street is a showcase for the chef’s ingredient-driven style, a playful yet familiar take on global cuisine that gently evolves with the seasons. A smart list of natural, biodynamic wines and a selection of boutique spirits perfectly complements chef Serpico’s cuisine, a daring tour through a world of unexpected flavors and techniques.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Peter was adopted when he was two years old, and was raised in Laurel, Maryland. Food was always a big part of his life, primarily at family gatherings, and it was during his annual trips to Chicago to visit his grandparents when he started to understand how food could bring people together. Whether it was one grandmother's apple pie, or the other's lasagne and manicotti, Peter soon realized that food meant a lot to him.
After high school, Peter enrolled in the Baltimore International College Culinary School, from which he graduated two years later. His first true cook job was at the Belmont Conference Center, where he worked under chef Rob Dunn. While the day-to-day cuisine was fairly straightforward, it was during Dunn's monthly wine dinners at which Peter's eyes were opened to the range of culinary creativity that was possible. It was then that Peter realized the life of a chef, with its balance of freedom and structure, was for him.
In 2002, Dunn had told Peter to go to New York for a visit, and helped him secure opportunities to stage at both Bouley and Lespinasse. It was at these two venerable restaurants that Peter learned the passion, precision, and discipline required to execute fine dining. When his stages were over, he returned to Maryland, but not for long. Three weeks later, Peter moved to New York, to work under Shea Gallante at Bouley. When Gallante left to open Cru, Cesar Ramirez took over, and from both he learned technique and temperament that would take him to some of the top kitchens in the country. In late 2003, Peter went to work at Sumile in the West Village, and following two stars from The New York Times, he would move on to work at Jovia on the Upper East Side.
In 2006, Peter began working with David Chang as sous chef at the original Momofuku Noodle Shop in the East Village. For the next six years, Peter worked with Chang to open Momofuku Ssam, Momofuku Ko (where he was the opening chef de cuisine, Ma Peche, and ultimately, Momofuku Sydney, helping to grow the family of restaurants while maintaining the highest level of quality in each location). As Director of Culinary Operations, Peter assisted with menu creation and execution at all the restaurants, and earned three stars from The New York Times, a James Beard Award, two Michelin Stars, among other accolades.
In late 2012, Peter was introduced to Stephen Starr through a mutual friend. The two met at Buddakan in New York City and had a frank conversation about what kind of restaurant Peter wanted to open, and thus Serpico was born.
Serpico opened his eponymous restaurant on South Street in Philadelphia in the summer of 2013, and he has received critical acclaim from outlets ranging from Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure to The Washington Post and a glowing “Three Bell” review from The Philadelphia Inquirer.