Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is Jose Garces Following The Stephen Starr Business Model?

You tell us.

Exhibit A: the recently formed Garces Restaurant Group. Note its predecessor, Stephen’s Starr’s restaurant, um, conglomeration: the Starr Restaurant Organization.

Exhibit B, if you will, is Distrito, which most definitely has some El Vez DNA in it. (Which is totally fair, by the way. After all, Jose helmed the kitchen at El Vez after schooling under D-Rod up the street at Alma de Cuba.) Not so much in the food, although probably subconsciously there as well. But definitely, without a doubt, in the design. The colors. The playfulness. The overall feel.

Is any of this a bad thing? Certainly not — we are simply pointing it out. Distrito is the jawn.

Learning from people that have come before you is a good thing. Improving on it and/or taking it to the next level, like, say, with a secret karaoke room or a Peruvian restaurant on Chestnut East…, well, that’s even better.

Oh, and Stephen Starr never did a cookbook. (But he does have an Iron chef.)

UPDATE: Apparently Jose was pretty much responsible for the original concept of El Vez, hence the similar aura at Distrito.
"I opened El Vez in 2003. It was a concept I actually brought to Stephen [Starr]. When I left, of course, I had to leave El Vez behind. This feels like I'm taking back something that was mine, very close to my heart." [ Philadelphia Daily News ]

Garces Restaurant Group [ Official Site ]

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