By ED SALVAS
Chris Tilton, owner of Serpico’s Pizzeria and Restaurant in Allenhurst, considers himself lucky. His restaurant is geared to take-out which helped him during the three-month shutdown by the coronavirus.
“We did alright with take-out and delivery,” Tilton said, “We are lucky we aren’t a dine-in restaurant. We are geared to take-out. Dining in a restaurant is for a longer time and a conversation over dinner.”
Serpico’s does have tables for 30 that have been closed off while the take-out and delivery have kept Tilton and his crew of seven busy.
Tilton has owned Serpico’s since 2007, but has been part of the business since 1994 when he worked as a nighttime delivery boy for former owner Charles Hatch Clark. His day job was running the former Teddy’s Luncheonette in Allenhurst. He’s also worked at the Allenhurst Beach Club and at the former Bob Davis’s restaurant in Loch Arbour.
A member of the Marine Corps Reserves, Tilton also spent time in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm in 1991 where he cooked meals in a tent for 3,000 Marines awaiting transfers. He’s a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N. Y. where he learned many aspects of the restaurant business which he refers to as the “Physics of Food.”
At Serpico’s, Titlon has crafted an extensive menu of appetizers, hot and cold subs, pasta and of course pizza. Tilton said one big reason for the longevity of Serpico’s is the recipes he’s using today are the same recipes used by the original owner and passed down to him. Also the same cook has been in the kitchen for more than 20 years.
Tilton will be happy when restrictions are lifted and he can resume Serpico’s off premises catering business, serving breakfast, luncheons and office parties which have become a major share of the business. The delivery business has been keeping Serpico’s together and he gets orders from Asbury Park, Long Branch, Bradley Beach and Neptune in addition to Allenhurst, Loch Arbour and Interlaken. See the full menu and order on line at www.Serpicos.com.
The Serpico’s name has also been seen on signs far from the Jersey shore. It’s being used in Hawaii where former owner Hatch Clark relocated and now owns two Serpico’s Pizza Restaurants serving “East Coast Pizza Maui style” on the island.