Celebrity chef closes 2 restaurants, he'll serve as an exec at his others

Celebrity chef closes 2 restaurants, he'll serve as an exec at his others

Celebrity Chef Jose Garces is looking forward to a fresh start.

Garces, who closed a Moorestown Mall restaurant after declaring bankruptcy in May, has entered a deal with Louisana-based Ballard Brands and Philadelphia investor David Maser to save many of the others.

Under an agreement reached Tuesday in U.S.¬†Bankruptcy Court in Camden, Ballard Brands and Maser will purchase the chef’s legacy for $8 million in cash and assumed liabilities, Ballard Brands said in a statement.

Garces will serve as chief culinary officer for the partnership, called 3BM1, and will help oversee a slew of restaurants he founded.

“The transaction will bring stability to the Garces Group’s finances while also bringing Ballard’s decades of experience in launching and expanding successful concepts,” company spokeswoman Kate Wilhelm said in the statement.

Two Philadelphia restaurants – 24 and Garces Trading Company – will close this weekend.

“Their closure is an intent to focus on the remaining entities,” Wilhelm said.

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3BM1 will operate four Atlantic City restaurants – Amada, Distrito, Olon and Okatshe – and Ortizi in New York City. It will own Philadelphia restaurants with six Garces’ formats – Amada, Tinto, Village Whiskey, The Olde Bar, JG Domestic and Volver.

The partnership also acquired the Garces Events division, among other assets.

Ballard said “most, if not all” of the Garces Group’s 750 employees will be offered employment under the new agreement.

Garces had filed for bankruptcy in early May, after years of financial woes for his restaurant group.

Financial disaster struck in 2014 when Revel Casino in Atlantic City closed.

The casino had four Garces restaurants inside. The celebrity chef was then sued by suppliers and investors and he was pressured into filing for bankruptcy.

Celebrity Chef Jose Garces with his new partners. From left, Paul Ballard, Scott Ballard, Ronnie Artigues, Garces, Steve Ballard, David Maser. (Photo courtesy of Kate Wilhelm)  

Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at tattrino@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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