Mark Peel to open seafood-focused stand in L.A.'s Grand Central Market

Russ Parsons
The California Cook
Former Campanile chef Mark Peel unveils quick-order seafood concept for L.A.'s Grand Central Market

Mark Peel is coming to the Grand Central Market.

The former chef and co-owner of landmark Campanile restaurant says he has signed a lease to open a quick-order seafood-based stand at the location currently held by Lupita’s Seafood sometime in late fall or early winter.

“I love going into the Grand Central Market because it offers everything that a regular restaurant does except for things like having to have white tablecloths, waiters, dishwashers and all the rest,” he says. “There are tables and chairs, but I’m not responsible for them.”

Peel says the menu will be primarily fish -- poached, steamed or cooked in soups -- that will be almost entirely cooked on six small oyster cookers located on a bar right in view of the nine-seat counter (similar to the setup at the Grand Central Oyster Bar in Manhattan). There will also be a fish market offering a selection of seafood to cook yourself.

“Everything will be very flavorful, and everything will be at most 3 1/2 minutes from putting in your order to having the food in hand,” he says.

There will also be a selection of main-course and side salads. Peel says nothing on the menu will be more than $15 and most of the dishes will cost from $9 to $13.

A name has not yet been decided.

Peel is one of the founding chefs of modern California cooking. He worked at Michael’s in Santa Monica when it opened and at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, then helped Wolfgang Puck open Spago and Chinois on Main. In 1989 he and his then-wife, Nancy Silverton, opened Campanile on La Brea Boulevard, where he remained even after their divorce.

During the 23 years it was open, Campanile employed a steady parade of cooks who went on to become important chefs in Southern California, including Suzanne Tracht, Govind Armstrong, Suzanne Goin, Jason Fullilove, Sumi Chang, Roxana Jullapat, David Lentz, Matt Molina and Bryant Ng, along with many others. 

In 2012, the restaurant closed after his former father-in-law, who was also his landlord, leased the historic building to Bill Chait and Walter Manzke to open Republique.

“It’s time to get back into it,” he said. “You know how they always say people quit to spend more time with their family? Well, I’ve spent time with my family and it’s been wonderful, but it’s time to get back to work.”

Grand Central Market, 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles.

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