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

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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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Jose Garces is Opening Three Restaurants at the Tropicana in Atlantic City

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Atlantic City is apparently collecting Iron Chefs. With Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck and Geoffrey Zakarian already there and Michael Symon opening Angeline at the Borgata sometime in the next few months, the city is well on its way to a full house (see what I did there?).

But now, with opening dates set for the three completely new operations from the Garces Group that we told you about last year, they’re flush with ’em. And Jose Garces is even going to sneak in ahead of Symon because he’s got opening dates set for all three locations (all of which are going into re-done spaces at the Tropicana) in the first week of March.

So, yeah. Really soon. Here’s what we know.

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Here’s What You’ll Be Eating (And Drinking) At 24, Jose Garces’s New Restaurant

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We’ve been waiting quite a while for Jose Garces and his team to open 24–the new “Wood Fired Fare” restaurant set beneath his new headquarters at 2401 Walnut Street. First rumored like a year ago, we’ve been walking by and peeking in the windows since February, theorizing about what his team would be doing with the dedicated R&D test kitchen attached to the space, and wondering how he would utilize those big ovens.

So now, finally, we know. Dinner service (and happy hour) starts on  Tuesday, November 8th–the official opening. Breakfast, lunch and coffee service will roll out on Saturday, November 12. We’ve got copies of the lunch, dinner and cocktail menus for you to take a look at in the meantime.

Couple other cool things? They’re going to be running a happy hour called “Aperitivo Time” daily from 4:30-6:30. There’ll be drink specials, snacks and complimentary small plates. Dinner service runs until 11pm on the weekends. And there’s going to be a kid’s menu at dinner, too, which, for a certain segment of the audience, is very good news.

And as for that test kitchen? It has actually been up and running for months now, with Garces’s team using it to test out everything from pizza dough to pasta sauces. There was early talk of it being opened (at least occasionally) to the public as a kind of peek behind the curtain as new recipes and designs are tested for concepts throughout the Garces empire, and it looks like that plan might actually happen. According to the press release, Estudio (which is what they’re calling it) will be “introducing public tasting events, cooking classes and other events” to be held in the attached, 20-seat dining room. The space is also available for private events.

Okay, now show me the menus

Volver Releases Fall Menus

Dining Room at Volver | Photo via Volver

Dining Room at Volver | Photo via Volver

Back for a third season, the dining room at Volver is serving new eight and 12-course tasting menus. The prices remain the same as last season, $95 for the eight-course menu and $150 for the 12-course menu. There is also an optional wine pairing available.

The dining room at Jose Garces’ flagship restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday and reservations, which are required, can be made online or by calling Volver.

Details on the menu »

Volver Announces Fall Programming

Bar Volver adds dinner | Photo by Martin Buday for Garces

Bar Volver adds dinner | Photo by Martin Buday for Garces

With September’s swift approach, Jose Garces’ Volver is getting back into the swing of things. Most notably is the addition of a full dinner menu for Bar Volver. Previously, Bar Volver only offered bar snacks but will now offer more substantive plates. Reservations are also now accepted for dining in the bar area of the Kimmel Center restaurant. The changes answer the demand for quick but elegant dining for the before and after theater crowds. Bar Volver’s hours will be Wednesday and Thursday: 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 4:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

Check out the full menu »

The Garces Foundation Summer Barbecue Is On

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For the third year in a row, the Garces Foundation is throwing a big party out on chef Jose Garces’s Luna Farm in Ottsville, Bucks County.

The event will be happening on Saturday, September 10 from 1pm-4pm, and tickets will run $75 per person, $35 for kids between the ages of 5 and 12, and it’s free for children under five.

So what’s going to be going on at the farm?

So glad you asked…

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