Top bidder on Garces' restaurants could become the celebrity chef's employer

Garces put up $500K of his own money to settle debts

Steve Tawa
June 28, 2018 - 6:21 pm
Chef Jose Garces in his Olon restaurant.

Hadas Kuznits | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — During a status hearing on the sale of celebrity chef Jose Garces' portfolio of restaurants and catering business, a federal bankruptcy judge heard both parties have bumped up their investments, in what will become a new company. 

When auction day came and went earlier this week, Louisiana-based restaurant chain operator Ballard Brands emerged as the only clear bidder. But Ballard's initial offer didn't satisfy Garces' secured creditor, M&T Bank, in reserving its right to get the "highest and best bid," as outlined under bankruptcy code, and they didn't think the $6.4 million offer was sufficient.

Now, Ballard has upped its offer sheet by $2 million, totaling nearly $8.5 million. Garces will put up $500,000 of his own money to help settle his massive debts to M&T Bank.

During the bankruptcy proceedings, an investment banker testified that before Garces filed for Chapter 11, Ballard offered more than $14 million, but the now estranged investor-partners of Garces rejected that proposal. 

Garces Group's Philadelphia restaurants include Amada, Tinto, Village Whiskey, Distrito and The Olde Bar.

The sale hearing is now scheduled for July 9, after which Garces would be the star chef, but Ballard would be his employer.