Hot Chef: Adan Trinidad improves Jose Pistola’s, opens Sancho Pistola’s

Adan Trinidad teamed up with Jose Pistola's owners Casey Parker and Joe Gunn to open Sancho Pistola's in Fishtown.
Adan Trinidad teamed up with Jose Pistola’s owners Casey Parker and Joe Gunn to open Sancho Pistola’s in Fishtown.

Over on 15th Street, Jose Pistola’s has long been a beer lover’s goldmine. The food, however, was always hit or miss, depending on how much beer you had. But when owners Casey Parker and Joe Gunn hired chef Adan Trinidad last spring, the food menu caught up with the beer list. Last week the three opened Jose Pistola’s sister (brother?) location, Sancho Pistola’s, in Fishtown.

Can you give me a rundown of Sancho Pistola’s?
It’s a beautiful space. It’s one floor, one bar, one room — not like [Jose] Pistola’s. It’s cozy and it feels great. The kitchen is open so people can see my beautiful face! We’ve got 12 tacos on the menu and a raw bar. And lots of beer and mezcal, of course.

You guys said that you wanted to open in time for the Super Bowl and you did. So how did Sunday night go?
It was great. We were busy and all our friends came by and we drank a lot of beer and mezcal. Now we’re paying for it today.

You were hired at Jose Pistola’s last April and in less than a year you’re opening a second location with the owners. How’s that feel?
I actually started in March, but I didn’t want anyone to know I was there yet because I was changing everything. I was there for a week and I changed the whole menu, changed the tequila and mezcal selection, too. Then I sat down with Joe and Casey and said I want to be a part owner.

You said that after just one week on the job?
Yeah. And I said that we need to open at least a couple more locations in Philly. Three months later I lowered all food and labor costs — the stuff that makes money — and a few months after that we started looking for a spot. Bubba’s Texas BBQ closed and the space became available. So yeah, in less than a year there’s another spot. You’re welcome, Joe and Casey. [Laughs]

You live in South Philly. Do you have a favorite bar around there?
My favorite bar in South Philly is American Sardine Bar, but my favorite bar in Philly is Fergie’s. I like that the lights are very dim in there, and they always remember your name and face. Plus they pour the best Guinness ever, and it’s hard to find a good pour in Philadelphia.


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