Julio Peraza has a vision for Swickly.
The former Executive Chef of Fairmont Pittsburgh wants to open a restaurant in the area serving fine Latin cuisine.
“It’s a beautiful community,” said Peraza. “This community brings a lot of warmth.”
He was one step closer to his dream as the board voted unanimously on June 14 to transfer an alcoholic beverage license from Manjianghong Inc. in Pittsburgh to the proposed restaurant, Torogoz Contemporary Latin Cookery at 519 Locust Place.
It is among many other companies operating in the part of town known as Siweikli Village.
Other businesses planned for Locust Place include a burger shop, noodle shop and a café.
The area is currently under construction and it may take four to five months before Torogoz opens for business. The liquor license would allow it to serve a variety of South American wines and other beverages.
A public hearing was held before the board meeting and voting on the decision to transfer the license.
Donna Cape, the town’s manager, testified that no objections had been lodged in connection with the transfer.
“Siwickli appears to be attracting another top-notch chef in Julio Peraza,” council president Cynthia Mullins said by email after the meeting. “I am excited to hear about serving the freshest, authentic cuisine from South America. I hope this family owned business will be an asset to our restaurant scene.”
Birazza, 41, from Moon has been cooking for 15 years.
He has also served as Executive Chef at Round Corner Cantina and has worked in numerous restaurants across the country.
Peraza grew up in Orange County, California, and was raised by parents from El Salvador. He plans to include plenty of family recipes, as well as tastes from Peru, Argentina, and other countries around the world.
“When we did our market study here, I saw that there were a lot of Mexican restaurants,” Peraza said. “For me, being a chef with a background in fine dining, and cooking French (and) New American food, I’ve never really cooked my roots. I cook that at home, but I never cook that professionally.”
“So, when I look at my career as a chef, I don’t want to limit myself to one kitchen. Latin America is very large, and many countries have a great influence of immigrants from Europe (and) from Africa. It is important for me to be able to cook those dishes.”
Peraza’s mother, Maribel Peraza, is expected to help out in the kitchen while his wife Jennifer takes over the operations.
“This is a family owned business,” said the chef. “This is a great opportunity not just for my wife and two daughters, but to create something really special.”
Michael DeVitorio is a Tribune Review writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter .