-Courtesy of Aversa PR & Events
photo by Eddy Marenco
Northern Liberties Business Improvement District is proud to announce the grand opening of Pera Turkish Cuisine, at 944 N. 2nd Street, in the very heart of the Northern Liberties Restaurant Row. Pera will bring Turkish cuisine to the growing mix of acclaimed international cuisine in the fast growing food neighborhood. Former roommates, friends, school mates and now business partners Eric Tunc and Chef Mehmet Ergin are both from Turkey and are living the American dream by moving to America and opening their first restaurant together. For layout, Pera is 1,000 square feet of dining space with a partially open kitchen, with a dining room that seats 36 people. Decor includes authentic Turkish decor and handmade plates from Turkey, beautiful exposed brick, unique lighting, ornate tiles and black walnut tables. For cuisine, the menu is a mix of traditional taste with modern presentation. Pera is BYO and the owners are happy to make wine and spirit recommendations.
“Northern Liberties Business Improvement District welcomes and congratulates co-owners Chef Mehmet Ergin and Eric Tunc on the opening of Pera,” said NLBID Executive Director Kris Kennedy. The corner of 2nd and Laurel deserves an amazing restaurant. It’s not easy filling Dimitris’ shoes, but Pera is the perfect fit. We couldn’t be more delighted to add Turkish to the list of cuisines from around the world that you can find here in Northern Liberties. Their food is accessible and easy to share, so it’s the perfect spot for gathering with family and friends of all ages. We know Pera will become a cornerstone business here.”
Kennedy also added, “After seeing major openings with Figo, Anejo and SET NoLibs, the streak continues with Pera, as well as six other new restaurants coming in the district and neighborhood. Stay tuned and come hungry! We are thrilled to see the rising number of new businesses, new restaurants and new retail shops to match the population growth currently underway.”
Pera Turkish Cuisine will celebrate its grand opening weekend in conjunction with the return of Northern Liberties Restaurant Week. Pera will offer complimentary baklava samples to each guest on Friday, April 1st and Saturday, April 2nd. They will offer a special three course, $25 price point for lunch and dinner for Northern Liberties Restaurant Week from April 1st to April 10th.
Pera Turkish Cuisine is the brainchild and very first restaurant for the two owners, Eric Tunc and Executive Chef Mehmet Ergin. Both of them moved to Philadelphia or jobs and school around a decade ago. Tunc interned at Delphia Distribution in the Northeast doing accounting, and then he went on to study International Relations and Business at Rowan University. Chef had been working at the W Hotel as a Chef Supervisor in Istanbul, and came over to work at the Renaissance Hotel near the airport as a line cook. He later went to study Culinary Arts at Rowan University. The duo did not know each other when they moved to Philadelphia, but they became roommates and fast friends when they both rented from a Turkish landlord in Point Breeze. They lived together for one year, they continued their friendship, they went to school together, they worked in hospitality together – and they decided to go into business together to bring Philadelphia a new Turkish dining destination. Both wanted to own and start a business and they decided to pull the trigger right and go into business together right before pandemic. After a pandemic delay, the duo got back on track and they are thrilled to present their brand new restaurant. For the duo, both are naturalized US Citizens with dual citizenship to Turkey. For the duo, this is not only bringing their beloved cuisine of their home to Philadelphia, but it is a shared story of moving to America and living the American dream here.
When asked why a Turkish restaurant in Philadelphia, they replied that they felt their was a void in Turkish cuisine in our region’s food scene. They also said they want to educate, elevate and bring new interest to Turkish cuisine. They want to be a neighborhood restaurant for the locals that will dine for lunch and dinner 2-3 times a week or month, but that they also want to draw in those from around the region that may have never tried Turkish cuisine before.
When deciding where to open, they explained they live close by in Port Richmond and they really like all that Northern Liberties has to offer – including a thriving and fast growing diverse food scene. Tunc said, “We had been looking for a restaurant space for two years and one day we drove by and saw the former Dimitris space. We really liked that corner, the corridor and restaurant row, and the space inside. We just knew it was for us and we had to jump on the opportunity to call Northern Liberties home for our new restaurant.”
Pera is a BYO with 1,000 square feet of dining space that seats 36 inside, with the option to add additional sidewalk cafe space on Laurel and N. 2nd Streets. For the interior design, they wanted to create something modern, unique and interesting, but welcoming and like a nod to home. They renovated and lightened up the former dark colors of the space and added lots of authentic Turkish decor, including handmade plates from Turkey, unique tiles, fixtures and sconces, and more. They also preserved the warm charms of the exposed brick wall that adds to the vibe in the dining room itself. The dining room also over looks the partially open kitchen and prep area, where guests can also purchase and be tempted by Pera’s selection of Turkish pastries. Sweet tooth or not, guests will find the baklava case hard to resist. For furniture, the tables are made from black walnut that were designed specially for Pera. Other renovations and upgrades to the space included back of house equipment, additional decor, opening up of the space, and other renovations. All interior design was done by the owner and their internal team.
For cuisine, Chef presents both lunch and dinner menus, with a mix of soup, salad, cold meze, hot meze, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, grilled, seafood selections, signature entrees and larger plates, desserts and non-alcoholic beverages including Turkish tea. One of the must-try dishes includes the Cold Meze Chef’s Selection with six different appetizers to share on one platter, plus Pera’s Turkish flatbread. Other must-try items include doner/gyro, kebabs, spinach tarator, humus, falafel and stuffed grape leaves.
Chef’s favorite dishes includes Hunkar begendi – Meaning Sultan’s delight – a traditional dish from several hundred years ago during the Ottoman Empire of slow cooked lamb shank (6-7 hours), confit with smoked eggplant – dish was made for the King and it was his favorite foods. Tunc’s favorite dishes he recommends to new customers include Kunefe – shredded phyllo dough with mozzarella cheese, grilled and served hot with sugar on top, and buttery fried veal liver served with sliced onion and sumac/sumach (Middle Eastern spices).
For dessert, come for the house-made baklava but stay for the secret gem on the menu, which is a Kazandibi, with caramelized milk pudding with burned bottom layer.
For opening, Pera will create around a dozen new jobs – with room for growth in the future.
Both owners want to give a shout-out to their new neighbors, which are also celebrating their grand openings. 70six Boutique is grand opening on Saturday, April 9th, next door at 215 West Laurel Street. Ray’s Reusables is across the street at 935 N. 2nd Street. Ray’s will celebrate its grand opening on Earth Day and Weekend, Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23. Other grand openings are listed below.
Pera Turkish Cuisine is soft open right now and will grand open April 1-3rd. Hours are Sunday to Thursday, 11:00am to 9:00pm, and Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to 9:30pm. Pera is walk-in only, no reservations, to start.
For more, visit www.peraphilly.com and @peraphilly on social media.
NORTHERN LIBERTIES RESTAURANT WEEK
Pera Turkish Cuisine will grand open specially in time for Northern Liberties Restaurant Week, which is April 1st to 10th. Pera will offer a special three course lunch and dinner menu for only $25. This will give all the neighbors and new patrons a great way to try dishes for the first time.
Pera’s Northern Liberties Restaurant Week menu is found here:
Northern Liberties Restaurant Week
Presented by Northern Liberties Business Improvement District
April 1 to 10, 2022
Various restaurants along Northern Liberties Restaurant Row
Northern Liberties Business Improvement District, one of the hottest and most notable food neighborhoods in Philadelphia, announces the 2nd Annual Northern Liberties Restaurant Week from Friday, April 1 to Sunday, April 10, 2022. Timed perfectly for the start of nice weather and expanded outdoor dining options, over 20 of the neighborhood’s biggest names will offer two course (or more) lunches for $10 or $15, and three course dinners for $25 or $35. Look for special features and signature favorite dishes, ample outdoor options, artful and colorful dining rooms, cocktail features, and much more. Book your reservation now along Philadelphia’s restaurant row and take advantage of the expansive, flowering and ornate streeteries and sidewalk cafes. New restaurants joining the line-up this year will include Figo Ristorante, Bagels and Co., Boricua Restaurant and Baan Thai Thai Cuisine. The Shake Seafood and Pera will both grand open before April 1st and join the line-up as well. Neighborhood favorites will also include Bourbon and Branch, El Camino Real, Apricot Stone, Jerry’s Bar, Spuntino Wood Fired Pizzeria and many others. The growing list of restaurants will be updated and go live starting on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022. Visit www.northernlibertiesrestaurantweek.com for details. For reservations, contact each individual restaurant through their phone, website, Opentable or Resy. Please see each restaurant for their safety and health protocols.