Chef Jose Garces is set to debut a revamped version of his farm-to-table bistro at the Cira Centre in University City next month that will feature a cafe, bakery, marketplace and wine shop.
Garces Trading Company will be on the first floor lobby with restaurant seating for 130 people, a balcony dining room with seating for 35 people, and grab-and-go items. The space will open the week of Sept. 12 and Garces also plans to open another location later this fall.
The first Garces Trading Company opened in 2008 in Center City, at 1111 Locust St. The location closed in 2018 when Garces restaurant group was purchased by Ballard Brands. Garces then brought it back at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 as a ghost kitchen.
“Garces Trading Company is really special to me,” Garces said. “The concept is centered around an exchange of cultures that neighbors, friends, family members, coworkers and commuters can explore and connect over new dishes and flavors. Garces Trading Company is truly an outpost for foodies that incorporates discovery and connections — and I am excited to bring new life back to the GTC idea but in an all new way.”
Designed by architect Amy Styre — who is currently putting the finishing touches on Garces’ two new Buena Onda locations — the cafe and bistro builds on an existing concrete bar that stretches into the lobby. There’s also a large pastry case and seating to grab a quick cup of coffee.
The menu includes breakfast, lunch and other bakery items. PJ’s Coffee will be served throughout the day with other exclusive blends. Each Garces Trading location also will have a liquor license with a full selection of spirits and cocktails in addition to the wine shop.
Breakfast items will feature Spanish bagels, pastries, sandwiches, tacos, yogurts, fruit and overnight oats. Lunch offerings include soups, salads, sandwiches and other handheld items.
“Garces Trading Company at the Cira Centre provides a dining solution that embodies Chef Garces’ standards of exceptional and personal service combined with international cuisines,” said Scott Campanella, Garces chief operating officer. “We are excited to offer a fresh, new concept to satisfy today’s employees’ evolving needs by providing high-quality, authentic and diverse offerings in a variety of forms — from grab-and-go options to a casual spot to enjoy lunch with a colleague.”
Garces is teaming up with Marketplace Food, which specializes in food retail spaces. The chef previously worked with the company at the original Garces Trading location, as well as Okatshe in Atlantic City.
The marketplace offers lavender truffle honey, salsas, tortilla chips, guacamole, spice blends, hummus, chocolate bars, chocolate covered espresso beans and bagged coffee blends. It provides a way for guests to check out the latest seasonal merchandise while learning about the farmers who provide them.
The new restaurant is just one of several recent expansions for Garces. He announced earlier this year that his Baja-inspired taqueria, Buena Onda, is opening new locations in Rittenhouse and Radnor, Delaware County. He also has embarked on a national expansion with franchise opportunities.
This October, Garces will debut Garces Eats at the Wells Fargo Center as part of the sports and entertainment venue’s remodel of its club level. It will feature a rotating menu of dishes from all of Garces’ restaurants, including Village Whiskey, The Olde Bar, and Distrito.
More information about the opening of Garces Trading will be available on the restaurant’s Instagram.