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Menu Talk with Pat and Bret

Chris Morgan pushes boundaries at Pizza Serata in Washington, D.C.

The chef with a fine-dining background offers creative food while supporting his staff


Chris Morgan has spent most of his career in fine-dining restaurants, including in San Francisco at Zuni Café under the late Judy Rodgers and under Charles Phan at the Slanted Door.

But as grateful as he is for the training that he got at high-end restaurants, he feels more at home preparing food that most people would like to eat every day, and he eventually returned home to the Washington, D.C., area to do that.

He currently operates Lebanese kebab shop Yasmine at Union Market in D.C., as well as Pizza Serata, which opened at late January in partnership with Ben Farahani. They are planning on opening a Persian restaurant, Joon, which will also operate as a ghost kitchen for Yasmine and Pizza Serata.

“Serata” is Italian for “evening” as well as “party,” sort of like the French word soirée, and it exemplifies the restaurant, which offers traditional pies as well as more creative ones, like the pizza inspired by the sandwich of roast pork, broccoli raab, and sharp provolone that is a favorite in Philadelphia, and the one with mortadella over pistachio pesto.

It’s all on a focaccia-like sourdough crust made with wheat from Wade’s Mill in Raphine, Va.

On top of that, Morgan, who has experienced the abusiveness of some chefs that until recently was very much the norm in professional kitchens, has developed his own gentle but demanding management style that allows him to retain his employees, foster their talent, and make better food.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

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