We recently caught up with powerhouse chef Raphael Palomino, who, like Chef Neil Ferguson and Chef Peter Kelly, is burning up the roadways between his many restaurants. If we were highway cops and looking for likely suspects, we’d clock all these mobile high powered chefs: these guys have their clogs to the metal all day long, not that we’re finking.
Turns out that Chef Palomino has crossed the mighty river and has opened a branch of Pacifico near Lehigh. Pennsylvania. Pacifico, of course, is Palomino’s cheerful Nueva Latino featuring great drinks, ceviches, and homey latino faves. Why, you might marvel (as we did), in Lehigh? According to Palomino, it’s a great dining market with reasonable rents. Pacifico is also a proven formula, and easily reproduced in other areas of the country—presuming that the fish market is good. With branches in New Haven, Port Chester and now Lehigh, PA, Pacifico is peeling off every second customer debating between sushi and saki or oysters and beer.
In fact, the formula is so successful that Palomino is looking at spots in Nashville—as in Tennesee, big hair, NASCAR and Elvis. But will they go for mofongo in the home of the Grand Ole Opry? We’re betting they will, because Chef Palomino strikes us as a man who does his research. A quick peek at any of his menus—and even his drinks lists—shows that he’s a guy that does his homework.
Meanwhile, back in Port Chester and Old Greenwich, Chef Palomino is looking at the re-opening of Tarry Lodge as good news for Port Chester and good news for Westchester dining. Of course, we’re sure he says that to all the local food bloggersâ€¦