Empire Builder

Rising Starr
Philadelphia Weekly’s cover story this week features Jose Garces, chronicling his rise to the top of Philadelphia’s food chain.

“He’s a one-in-a-million talent,” Rodriguez says of his protege. “Some chefs can cook. Some chefs are more administrative. But a chef who can do all of it and run a business and run people and develop people is a very rare thing. He has a lot of talents I don’t even have. I’m not good with numbers—my other side of the brain doesn’t work. Both sides of his brain work well.”

The article also passes along a couple of nuggets regarding his third Philadelphia restaurant, Chilango, set to open next year in University City.

In his new restaurant the downstairs taqueria/cantina will be festive and casual with an industrial tortilla press and grill churning out warm tortillas, a walk-up taco window for sidewalk orders, a fresh-fruit margarita bar and live entertainment—possibly mariachis.

Upstairs, he says, there’ll be an elegant, modern dining room with a more sophisticated and creative menu.

“Mexico City, gourmet-style,” he calls it.

After that he’s talking about a Latin steakhouse in Chicago and a Latin “Thai” spot in Philadelphia, which will be his final concept in Philadelphia.