Garces To Expand Again

Food and Drinq is reporting that Jose Garces is opening yet another restaurant, this one next door to Tinto at the corner of 20th and Sansom.

That means at some point in 2009 Garces will have Amada, Tinto, Distrito, Chifa, this new place and Mercat a la Planxa in Chicago under his Garces Restaurant Group.

So all of this has created some spirited debate at Foobooz World Headquarters. Is Garces overextending himself? Will the food suffer?

Is it different to have a chef as the star of your restaurant group versus a restaurateur as the Starr of your restaurant organization?

  • Yes. I want my chef to be in the kitchen. (51%, 45 Votes)
  • No. Chefs are creators and can teach anyone to execute. (25%, 22 Votes)
  • I don't care. I don't want to talk semantics, I just want to eat. (24%, 22 Votes)

Total Voters: 89

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ANOTHER from Jose Garces [Food and Drinq]

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  • Tyler

    Not sure how I feel about those two options. A restaurateur like Starr only has nominal consistencies between restaurants: design choices, expensive cocktails with silly names, wait staff with somewhat casual dress and chilly demeanor. In other words, the name associated with the restaurant is associated mainly with the front of the house and the food is just part of the overall experience.

    A chef, on the other hand, just normally tends to think about the restaurant starting from the kitchen and working forward. The food is a much larger part of the experience. Garces’ restaurants may have lots of different cuisines and approaches. Maybe a better example of the difference between ‘restaurateur’ and ‘chef with lots of restaurants’ would be Mario Batali- all his restaurants reflect a different element of his personality rather than just reflecting how he might approach, say, a french bistro.

  • Buckethead

    My only worry is that Garces is doing too much too fast, developing two new places simultaneously. Why not wait till Chifa opens before working on a sixth place? Of course, I thought nearly the same thing when Distrito opened, and it’s almost as good as Amada or Tinto, so maybe he can handle it. We’ll see.

  • http://foobooz.com/ Kirsten Henri

    Tyler, I love your romantic assessment of celebrity chefs, but I’m going to disagree with you on two points…

    1. Starr has hired several ‘name’ chefs to be the draw of his restaurants and to create food-centric destinations: Morimoto, Alfred Portale, Marcus Samuelsson, Douglas Rodriguez, for example. He’s not necessarily hiring them permanently, but he is bringing them in and paying them big bucks to do something noteworthy with the food.

    2. I’m not sure Mario Batali is such a great example of what you mean. He actually did open a French bistro, Bistro du Vent. It failed and failed quickly:
    http://eater.com/archives/2006/05/bistro_du_vent_2.php

  • Putinpao

    I hear Garces has an excellent culinary director behind him as well helping out with execution. Name withheld, but I hear he was a former Ritz-Carlton Chef de Cuisine.