Peculiar Kitchen combines new American comfort food with Asian flavors.
The eatery recently celebrated its third year at 307 Penn Ave., Scranton, and rebranded from Peculiar Slurp to expand its culinary options from ramen into other styles of cuisine. Patrons can sample a variety of small plates, hand-held items and entrees as well as try occasional specials, such as $5 Frank Night, in the vibrant, funky eatery. Guests also will notice a new mural of a female chef by Eric Bussart and a new art installation by Zach Yahn. The project led by Ryan Hnat can be seen in the eatery’s dining room.
Chef’s Table recently chatted with Gene Philbin, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Miranda.
Q: When did you open?
A: Peculiar Slurp opened May 16, 2018, then rebranded to (Peculiar) Kitchen in May of 2021.
Q: What is the history of the restaurant?
A: We started off as nomads doing pop-up dinners. We were the first in the area to do this style of dining. We would pop up at local parks, fire halls, barns, anywhere we could set up and try something new. This opened up the opportunity to start catering and a food truck. We took baby steps to get where we are now. Out of nowhere, we turned into a wedding caterer working out of barns and farms, doing 30 to 40 weddings a year. That allowed us to gain a reputation and build the blocks needed to finally start a brick-and-mortar (restaurant).
Q: What kind of food do you serve, and what is available for people with special diets?
A: We do new-American comfort food with a serious passion for Asian flair. We offer dishes for meat lovers, vegetarians and vegans. We also work to make sure our gluten-free friends are taken care of. If it’s not on the menu and we can do it, we absolutely alter dishes to match any and all dietary needs.
Q: How did your menu come to be?
A: From family traditions, to trends, to cuisine we are passionate about, to things we learn while traveling. It’s an amalgamation of things I love. When we were Slurp, people thought all we did was Ramen. Of course, noodles were the showcase, but our love for other cuisines just made us want to open our culinary floodgates to cook “whatever the heck we want!”
Q: What are your most-ordered menu items and why?
A: (The) most-ordered item is our Pork Belly Shoyu Ramen. We’ve been making it the same way since our first Ramen pop-up, then to the food truck, then to Ramen nights at the Keys, to Slurp and now to Kitchen. It’s pretty traditional with a few ingredients to make it our own. Also, it’s not a dish you can get everywhere. We constantly strive to separate ourselves; this dish is one of the ways we do it.
Q: How would you describe the restaurant’s atmosphere?
A: Hip, funky, artistic, vibrant, relaxed and fun. We look like no other restaurants in NEPA.
Q: What type of seating do you offer?
A: Open kitchen bar, outdoor, and small and large tables.
Q: What kinds of promotions do you offer?
A: We don’t do specials per se, but we love to keep our menu ever changing. Some dishes are staples, of course, but we want to keep (things) fresh and exciting with our food. Some nights we have some fun with $5 Frank Night, where we twist up and get creative with hot dog features. Wings when available, etc.
Q: Do you offer catering, event space, etc.?
A: We still keep quite busy with the Peculiar Culinary catering.
Q: Are you offering delivery, takeout or curbside pickup?
A: No delivery, but we do a fantastic takeout business, and that was what helped us get through the pandemic.
Q: Where do you see the restaurant headed in the future?
A: I’d like to get off the line more and open other businesses and maybe get into meal prep, and I absolutely want to get our pickles and sauces into retail. Also, I still dream every day about opening a taqueria.
Laura Rysz is the features copy editor and calendar editor at The Times-Tribune and runs the Talk of the Times column, which focuses on local fundraisers and other events. She also writes Chef’s Table that profiles restaurants around the region. Additionally, Laura curates events online on AccessNEPA.com. Laura is involved in the special Mother’s Day edition and curates occasional features Marry Memories and Times Travelers. She is a graduate of Haddonfield Memorial High School, New Jersey, and earned an English professional writing degree with a minor in mass communications from King’s College, Wilkes-Barre. She also earned a certificate in Social Media Marketing from Rutgers Business School. Contact: email@example.com; 570-348-9100 x5228.