Bankrupt Jose Garces moves from kitchen block to auction block

Famed chef's portfolio of restaurants goes to highest bidder

Steve Tawa
June 26, 2018 - 7:10 pm
Jose Garces

Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Just 60 days after famed Philadelphia chef Jose Garces declared bankruptcy, his portfolio of restaurants and catering unit went on the auction block Tuesday, though a winner has yet to be declared. 

In a complex twist, there's only one bidder left, but they're still negotiating. Once the auction got underway, only two entities emerged: restaurant chain operator Ballard Brands and a non-restaurant investor. 

The second entity quickly walked away from the table, and now Ballard is negotiating terms with Garces and his secured creditor, M&T Bank.

Before he filed for Chapter 11, Ballard offered more than $14 million, but Garces' investor-partners rejected that proposal. 

Bankruptcy brings bargain prices. Going into the auction, Ballard's initial asset purchase agreement was worth about $6.6 million. 

While interested parties were allowed to put in bids for lots or individual restaurants, Garces favored selling the entire enterprise. As prescribed by bankruptcy code, Garces is obliged to accept "the highest and best bid."

The restaurants in Philadelphia on the block include his oldest, Amada, established in 2005, as well as Tinto, Village Whiskey, Distrito and The Olde Bar.