Jose Garces Is Aiming High with Volver


From the Garden, including live lettuce from Garces’s Luna Farm.

Tonight is the night that Jose Garces’s Volver debuts its ticketed dining at the Kimmel Center. The restaurant will immediately leap to number one in the city in at least one respect,  Volver will be the most expensive dining experience in town.

What remains to be seen is whether Garces, chef de cuisine Natalie Maronski and their team at Volver can deliver. There are two menus available, the pre-theater tasting of eight-or-so courses for $75-$100 and the performance tasting, which rings in at 12+ courses for $175 per person. These prices do not include tax, gratuity or alcohol. The grand wine pairing, which is available with the pre-theater dinner is $50 and includes tax and gratuity. That means early evening diners can get out for $146 per person with wine pairings. Or if you want to go all out with the performance tasting, it will be north of $300 per person with the drink pairings.

Check out the menus » 

Bar Volver Opens This Evening


The first-come-first serve part of Jose Garces’s Volver opens to the public tonight. Bar Volver is a champagne and caviar lounge that will feature a selection of small bites including oysters, cheese, charcuterie and three varieties of caviar. Bar manager Gordana Kostovski has created a menu of cocktails designed to pair well with the food coming from Garces’s kitchen. Also available to the Bar Volver customer will be over 1,500 bottles of old and new world wines with a particular focus on sparkling wines.

Highlights and the full menu » 

Is There A Wegmans Coming To Center City?


And wait, before you say anything, go check out the legwork just done over on the Property blog. They’re trying to get to the bottom of this story, and while it appears that the whole Wegmans-in-Center-City thing is one of those rumors that just won’t die, there may be some truth to it. Or if not truth, then certainly the possibility of truth. Or, you know, something…

Anyway, go check it out. Because while a Wegmans would be an (arguably) awesome addition to Center City, the one thing we know for sure is that it’s going to take some time.

So What’s All This About a Wegmans Coming To Center City? [Property]

In the Kitchen at Volver

Kyle Baddorf, Josh Massaro and Jose Garces testing recipes.

Kyle Baddorf, Josh Massaro and Jose Garces testing recipes.

Last Thursday I checked out how menu testing was going over at Volver with Jose Garces, Natalie Maronski and the rest of the Volver team.

I was lucky enough to eavesdrop on the team as they discussed the best way to plate their salad with greens from Garces’ Luna Farm. I smelled water that had the fragrance of pot soil. I sampled “Kentucky Fried Sqab” from the performance kitchen’s pressure fryer. And I got a bite of perhaps the best fish I’ve ever tasted.

Read more »

Parke Place Progress Report

What Parke Place will have to offer. Image via Parke Place Townhomes website.

What Parke Place will have to offer. Image via Parke Place Townhomes website.

We were strolling up the Avenue of the Arts last week and decided to check in on the Parke Place townhouse development in the 1300 blocks of Kater and Bainbridge streets.

We noticed that the development had one piece missing – namely, the easternmost home on the Bainbridge Street side of the project.

It turns out that the foundation with no home on it is the first piece of the next phase of the project, according to listing agent Jim Onesti of the Mike McCann team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach Realtors.

As of now, eight of the 22 townhomes in the development are built out, with minor exterior work such as balconies remaining to be completed along with fitting out of the interiors.

Read more »

Luxury Apartments to Replace Student Housing at Broad and Chestnut

Avenue of the Arts building

Image via MRP Realty.

Two real estate companies made an announcement yesterday of a joint purchase of most of the 17-story Avenue of the Arts building, which has the Olive Garden and Capital Grille on the ground floor, and Art Institute student housing on floors 4 through 17.

Washington, D.C.-based MRP Residential and the commercial Principal Real Estate Investors plan a “comprehensive redevelopment” of the building into a luxury apartment complex. The deets:

- 220 Class A residential units
- New building lobby
- Leasing office
- Fitness center
- Theater room
- Interior landscaped courtyard
- Clubroom
- Roof deck
- Renovated elevators

The companies plan to keep Olive Garden and Capital Grille. The project has a target completion date of early 2016.

A Preview of Jose Garces’ Volver at the Kimmel Center

Designed by Philadelphian Conrad Booker, the textile mural is inspired by Volver's logo.

Designed by Philadelphian Conrad Booker, the textile mural is inspired by Volver’s logo.

Volver, Jose Garces’ culinary showcase is set to open in April at the Kimmel Center. The space will feature a caviar and champagne lounge as well as a forty-seat performance dining area. Garces, architects KieranTimberlake and interior designer Marguerite Rodgers have collaborated to design a space that highlights the arts, culinary and otherwise.

Read more »

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