Construction is underway at 707 Chestnut Street as Jose Garces continues work converting Chifa into Rosa Blanca, a Cuban diner. The diner will be similar to retro-Cuban diners found in South Florida and will feature an open kitchen with stainless steel and white subway tile. A pink and faux-marble lunch counter runs along the open kitchen. Black-and-white tile flooring completes the diner feel. The main dining room is laid out similar to Chifa’s, with booths along the walls and tables down the middle.
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Over at the Insider, they’re reporting that Jose Garces has recently signed a lease on the Old Original Bookbinder’s space at 2nd and Walnut.
This is a huge deal for Garces–and I mean that in every sense of the word.
For starters, it’s literally HUGE. Better than 10,000 square feet. Which is bigger than any of his local spaces (with the possible exception of his operations at the Kimmel Center, depending on how he utilizes all the space available to him).
Second, it’s huge because it’s the old Bookbinder’s–a name that still swings a lot of weight in this town. The last guys to take over a restaurant with a name saddled with that kind of history? Nicolas Fanucci and his crew at Le Bec Fin. And we all know how that went.
Third, the Iron Chef already has a pretty full plate. He’s got Rosa Blanca set to open next month in the old Chifa space. Then Volver at the Kimmel Center. Then his other out-of-town operations to worry about. Taking on a space like this is a bold move no matter what he decides to do with it. And the one thing no one knows right this minute? What, exactly, Garces is planning to do with it.
The Insider has some details on the deal itself. You can check out the full story there.
Garces Leases Old Original Bookbinder’s [Insider]
We know quite a few things about the new Cuban diner that Jose Garces is going to be dropping into the space on Chestnut Street that once housed his occasionally-underrated Latino-Asian fusion restaurant, Chifa. We know that there’ll be Cuban sandwiches and we know that there’ll be empanadas. That there’ll be an integral take-out component to the concept, with a counter selling completas and pasteles right inside the door. We know that there’ll be a rotisserie and a rum menu, that Yun Fuentes will be running the kitchen. And we know that the big man himself really wanted the place to be open 24 hours, but still isn’t sure whether or not that’s going to fly.
And now, we know two other very important things: The name of the place and it’s opening date.
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