Former Pizzeria Mercato sous chef David Peretin announced on Tuesday that he is opening an 18-seat, pasta-focused restaurant called Tesoro
By Hannah Lee
David Peretin didn’t technically name his new restaurant, Tesoro, after his daughter. But the translation of that name from Italian to English – treasure – speaks to how David views his 10-year-old – and the reason why he’s opening Tesoro in the first place.
David realized all he was missing out on after a decade of early mornings and late nights grinding in the kitchens of The Fearrington House Restaurant and Pizzeria Mercato. Sure, he loved the fast-flying pizzas and fine dining rituals, but outside of that, he missed his daughter, Andrea, and all the milestones unfolding in her life.
But now, given the flexible hours that come with being an owner, he hopes to be around for many more of those moments.
“This is really important for her because she’s at a really unique age,” David says. “I’ve spent a lot of time working late and not being there to pick her up from school or birthday parties. So I want to have something to share with her.”
That flexible, familial focus also extends to David’s new restaurant, which is opening later this spring. The seasonal menu will focus on pasta, but not solely with Italian influences. David plans to rely on his Croatian roots, as well as his culinary background in Italian and French fine dining, to create a flexible fusion of the three.
Expect traditional staples like spaghetti pomodoro and cacio e pepe, but also unique offerings including David’s secret meatballs and Philadelphia-inspired roast pork sandwiches – plus a gelato program with three to five to-go selections. Tesoro will also offer curbside pickup and retail options, including dried pasta by the pound, house sauces by the pint, olive oil and more.
He acquired the space across from Weaver Street Market in October 2020, and people have already started peeking their heads in to say hello. “It’s a perfect example of what we’re trying to lean into,” David says, after his friend and former boss, Gabe Barker of Pizzeria Mercato, dropped by Tesoro to check in on the progress. “To become more like a pop in and grab-what-you-need [place].”
That same energy will be incorporated in Tesoro’s physical space. Right now, the 18-seat restaurant is mostly empty, save for a few paint tests on the wall – including one color one of Andrea’s, where she jokingly wrote the word “yeet.” She’s offered her two cents as far as interior design ideas, but the brunt on that job will fall to Heather Washburn at Calico Studio. The plan is for an open concept restaurant with the kitchen visibly at the center.
David is only 30% done with the construction, but he has his family nearby to help him with every step of its development, Andrea included.
“It’s really important to her – I think more than she can express accurately right now,” David says. “But for me, it’s really cool to do what I would like to do professionally for the rest of my life, and have her with me to do it.”