To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Center City District Restaurant Week, we’ll be spending time celebrating the chefs and restaurateurs—and some of their favorite recipes—as we get closer to the event.
This week, we’re excited to share some stories and insights from restaurateur Aleksandar Aimpijevic and Chef Montana Houston of the contemporary European spot Restaurant Aleksandar. A newer signup and participant for Restaurant Week’s 20th Anniversary, Restaurant Aleksandar uses seasonal ingredients to blend European traditions with modern flavors
What inspired your journey to become a chef?
HM: My father truly inspired my chef journey. He was a chef that was also a home cook and creating meals for our family was always a big standard for him. I've also loved to put smiles on people's faces just as he would
Image courtesy of Restaurant Aleksandar
What inspired your approach to cooking?
MH: Cooking was an outlet for me. I was always able to express how I felt or what I was going through, because I wasn’t as vocal. My approach through food was to let people know what I had to say through my cooking.
Can you tell us about the recipe you shared, including the story behind it, its inspiration, and why you chose to submit it?
MH: The recipe I shared was about Aleksandar’s wife. She is from Poland, and I wanted to pay homage to her background. So, when we decided to craft the menu, pierogies were the answer! So pierogies have been on our menu and always will be.
What has been the proudest moment of your journey as a chef?
MH: Being at Restaurant Aleksandar has been my most pleasing experience. Being able to put my vision and ideas on to a plate, with Aleksandar giving full trust to me over his restaurant menu. has been truly a blessing. I'm ecstatic to work with him as well as the team; they are the reason I'm here where I am.
How have you seen Center City evolve since opening?
AA: Despite the challenges from recent global events, my team and I made the difficult decision to open a restaurant as the world began to reopen. Many shops have closed, but many have arrived and are thriving. We believed that the timing and location were ideal, since we are located in the heart of Philadelphia and most important, the heart of Philadelphians.
What inspired the aesthetics of the restaurant?
AA: The design I went for was modern and friendly, giving off a vibe you might find in New York or Berlin. Philadelphia has become more cosmopolitan, and walking into Aleksandar makes you feel like you could be in any major city in the world.
We thank our friends at Restaurant Aleksandar for sharing these stories! Learn more about the restaurant on their website.
Stay tuned as we continue to share more of these stories as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Center City District Restaurant Week, and check out all of the amazing restaurant options in Center City!