Christopher Lee, the former Aureole chef whose pursuit of expansion and branding of late has made him something akin to a Rocco DiSpirito Lite (check out his press reel!), is making a return to Philadelphia for his next project.
The Inquirer’s Insider blog reports that Lee is teaming with the owners of Salt & Pepper, located along the booming East Passyunk Avenue restaurant row, for an as yet defined project. In the past, the City of Brotherly Love has brought great fortune to the Long Island native. While in the employ of “King of Restaurants” Stephen Starr at dearly departed Striped Bass, Lee racked up an impressive collection of accolades that essentially put him on the culinary map.
Food & Wine magazine’s Top Ten Best New Chefs, James Beard Foundation’s Rising Star Chef of the Year, Travel + Leisure magazine’s Best New American Restaurant 2004, and a sterling Four Bell review in the Inquirer are among the honors he scored while at Striped Bass’s helm.
Exactly what’s in store for Philadelphia remains unclear. Salt & Pepper continues operating as is, but plans are being made to overhaul the space. There’s no word on when it will close, nor when those renovations will begin. As far as concepts go, Lee offers only “great food, tasty drinks, and friendly service.”
This news comes while Philly's collective heads are still reeling from reports earlier this week of David Chang's former first mate, Peter Serpico, opening a restaurant there with Starr.