In Atlantic City, Bet on the Food

Tacos at Pancho’s, left, and the chicken at El Chalán. Photography by Ted Nghiem.

Jose Garces Is Back in Town

Jose Garces’s new restaurants in the Tropicana make the Revel snafu feel like ancient history. Olón has ocean views, an outdoor deck and a bright interior — all surprising for a casino eatery. The seafood here (grilled, raw, however it comes) is choice. His other spot, Okatshe, is just the opposite: You’ll duck through a secret door in a tiny Japanese candy shop and enter a dark, sprawling space styled like a buzzy Tokyo intersection. The large menu has sushi, ramen, standard izakaya fare (yakitori and fried things), and a bar list deep with sake and Japanese beers. (Both at the Tropicana, 2831 Boardwalk, 609-340-4000.) Read more »

Pat’s Steaks Go Garces at Lunch Today

Pat’s King of Steaks/Facebook

When you order a cheesesteak for lunch at Pat’s King of Steaks today, don’t forget to ask for the truffled mushrooms.

Jose Garces is the latest Philly celebrity chef to whip up a decadent take on the classic cheesesteak, which will be available at Pat’s today, June 21st, from noon until 2 p.m.

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Garces Pops Up With Balcony Bar @ The Kimmel

Balcony Bar @ The Kimmel/Photo by Casey Rodger

The Jose Garces empire is growing just a little bit more, albeit temporarily. Balcony Bar @ The Kimmel — which, as you may have guessed, is a bar in the Kimmel Center’s second-floor outdoor balcony — officially pops up for the summer on Wednesday, June 14th.

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Jose Garces Teams Up With…Mrs. T’s Pierogies?

Jose Garces is a busy guy — he’s running a restaurant empire 14 locations strong in three states and D.C. and serves on the board of directors for his nonprofit Garces Foundation.

Improbably, the acclaimed chef has partnered with Mrs. T’s Pierogies for a limited edition pierogi dish that will be served up this summer at Froman’s, his burger and brat spot at Spruce Street Harbor Park.

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Tinto Is Turning Tento

Tinto/Facebook

Tinto/Facebook

Jose Garces was still just a budding restaurateur in 2007 — a young, ambitious chef aiming to build an empire. He opened Tinto at 20th and Sansom Streets after his first grand-slam in Old City (Amada), and hasn’t looked back.

Now, Garces is fifteen restaurants deep, his domain sprawling across the east coast from New York to Philly to D.C. with a couple of stops in South Jersey. But all the while, Tinto’s sat there on its corner, the lone champion of Basque cuisine in Philly, pouring funky ciders (before it was cool) and serving up pintxos and brochettes.

This month, Tinto turns ten, so the Garces Group is celebrating with a big party and all sorts of week-long specials.

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Want To Hang Out With Jose Garces This Afternoon?

Jose Garces prepping for class at Volver's Summer School

Photo by Chelsea Portner

Because you can. See, he’s taste-testing today at Estudio–the Garces Group test kitchen attached to his new restaurant, 24–and it seems he has a couple of open seats.

And you can be in one of those seats if you’re lucky–and fast.

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Not Built For Love: 24 Reviewed

tednghiemphotophillymagtwofour-4

Photo courtesy Ted Nghiem

On the floor at 24, the servers moved like they were on rails, following paths just a couple months old but already worn into the floor. They worked with pass-coverage eyes—heads up, eyes on their zones—and they were quick with the water-pour, the plate-clear, touching each of their tables, huddling on the kitchen’s open line and then rolling back out again, laden with plates.

On the tables, no cutesiness. The silverware all matched. The glassware was all polished, simple, plain. The plates were white. Each thing was designed for its purpose, including the (almost winking) old tomato cans used as rustic lifts for pizza pans. At 24, the Garces Group’s new all-day cafe (just downstairs from its also-new company headquarters), everything has been thought of in advance. Every possibility has been gamed, every solution tested, every problem solved before it occurs. This is the strength of being the 16th restaurant in a string of restaurants– designed for maximum efficiency, even if dressed for casual Friday. Though nothing remarkable is being attempted here (nothing approaching the level of a Volvér or Amada), 24 Wood Fired Grill is what happens when a restaurant group really knows what it’s doing.

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There’s A Big Garces Foundation Food Event Happening On March 24

Jose Garces prepping for class at Volver's Summer School

I know it’s still February, but it already feels like spring outside. And spring is when all the big food festivals start popping back up on the calendar. So it just seems like a good time to remind everyone that on March 24, at the Loews Philadelphia on Market Street, Jose Garces and a whole bunch of chefs are going to be getting together for a big party and event to benefit the Garces Foundation (organized in 2012 to help Philly’s immigrant community–particularly those who work in the food service industry).

So it’s a big party. All the best people are going to be there. And the price of your ticket is going to help immigrant restaurant crews and their families. How could it get better?

How about if you were able to save a few bucks on your ticket if you bought it before the end of the month?

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