Before the pandemic hit, James Beard Award-winning chef Peter Serpico was running an ambitious chef’s counter at his eponymous restaurant on South Street —a collaboration with Philadelphia restaurant king Stephen Starr (also behind Le Diplomate), best known for edgy Asian-accented plates like crispy duck buns and seaweed beignets. The style may seem familiar; prior to settling in Philly, Serpico spent six years with David Chang and was the director of culinary operations for the global Momofuku empire.
Covid, of course, changed everything. With indoor dining currently banned in Philadelphia, Serpico temporarily closed Serpico. He’s now experimenting with a new, casual ghost kitchen concept: Pete’s Place Noodle Bar. The “kinda Korean” venture opened in Philly in October, and is launching out of Starr’s DC steakhouse, St. Anselm, on Tuesday, December 8.
Like Chang, Serpico is a native Korean who grew up in the DC suburbs; his adoptive American parents raised him in Laurel, Maryland. He attended culinary school in Baltimore before joining the fledgling Momofuku group in New York, where he was a sous chef at the original Momfuku Noodle Bar. For Serpico’s own take on a noodle shop he’ll offer several styles of ramen drawing from his Korean-American upbringing, including spicy chicken with slow-cooked egg; a vegetarian pickled pepper ramen with charred serranos, iceberg lettuce, ginger, egg, and scallion; and a miso chicken noodle soup. There’s also tsukemen-style chilled kimchi noodles with pork shoulder. The current menu of 10 items also includes jumbo Korean-fried chicken wings and bibimbap, and you may see a larger selection in the future.
Some of the inspiration for the ghost kitchen came from quarantine months cooking at home with his daughter. “Noodles and stews made of whatever we could dig up in the pantry are really all we wanted to eat and I figured if it’s all we crave, it might be someone else’s craving, too,” says Serpico. “Its been a new challenge—it’s extremely different from what we normally do as a restaurant, but all the staff is happy to be working and producing something while staying in our bubbles.”
Pete’s Place is a true ghost kitchen, so you won’t be able to order any of the items sitting at St. Anselm. Instead, you can place delivery orders online and through Caviar, DoorDash, and GrubHub, and also directly from the website.
Pete’s Place Noodle Bar. Open for delivery seven days a week from 4 PM to 10 PM.