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Garces’ Restaurant Group Formally Acquired

Jul 18th, 2018

Ballard Brands

There will be no change to customer experience as the $8 million deal is set to close July 10th

(Philadelphia – July 9, 2018) – Today, 3BM1, a partnership between Ballard Brands and local investor David Maser, announced that it has been approved to purchase the majority of restaurants operated by award-winning chef Jose Garces, as well as the Garces Events division of the business.  The US Bankruptcy Court in Camden, NJ approved the sale set to close later this week.  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. The combined new entity will leverage Chef Garces’ culinary vision and acclaimed brand that has provided an unparalleled experience for over a decade.  Customers can expect no change in the Latin-inspired hospitality at Garces restaurants and events.

Chef Garces will remain with the new entity as a partner and Chief Culinary Officer, providing the creative vision and fresh culinary concepts that have brought him a loyal customer following.   The newly formed entity will purchase the assets of the Garces Group for approximately $8 million dollars in cash and assumed liabilities.  The company will remain based in Philadelphia.  Ballard Brands is a privately-held restaurant and hospitality company headquartered in Covington, Louisiana.  It owns the PJ’s Coffee franchise and oversees a successful restaurant portfolio in the Southeast.

“Today’s news is very exciting.  As we said before, you jump at the opportunity to work with a Chef with Jose’s credentials.   We have had many conversations of what this future will look like and I will tell you it is a bright. There is so much potential in what we can do together,” said Scott Ballard, co-founder of Ballard Brands.  “But this is not just about a business transaction.  Philadelphia has an incredible hospitality scene and we truly look forward to being part of this great community.  We also look forward to welcoming Chef Garces to the Southeast market.”

“This is a new beginning for our company,” said Chef Garces. “This team has been with us every step of this process, as true partners and we can now focus on the future together.  I am looking forward to working with the team to identify new concepts that will entice our customers and attract new ones.   The experience of a Garces restaurant or event will not change, nor will the quality. In fact, things are going to keep getting better.”

Once the transaction closes on July 10th, the new company will be the official owner of the following Garces entities:  Amada, Tinto, Village Whiskey, The Olde Bar, JG Domestic, Volvér, and Garces Events.  It will also take control of management contracts that operate Olón and Okatshe in the Tropicana Hotel in Atlantic City, Amada and Distrito in Ocean Resort and Casino in Atlantic City, CHUBB Conference Center in Lafayette Hill, and Ortzi in New York City.  Those agreements are strictly based on providing menu concepts and hospitality training.

Garces’ restaurant 24 will close after service on Saturday, July 14th as the company looks to relocate its corporate headquarters and test kitchen.  Garces Trading Company, a restaurant not subject to this sale, will close after its brunch service the following day after nearly ten years at its location in Midtown Village.  The closing of these restaurants is part of an effort to focus on the new opportunities presented through the partnership with Ballard Brands.  All employees at both locations will be offered positions at other restaurants in the Garces portfolio.

Local investor David Maser says his involvement is not just about an investment in a prominent restaurant group, it is an investment in the Philadelphia economy.  “Chef Garces has been a central force behind Philadelphia’s emergence as a premier restaurant city and destination.  I am pleased to be involved as a partner in this transaction to bring together the Ballard team with Jose as we preserve local jobs and inject new life into a vital local brand.”

Ronnie Artigues, General Counsel of Ballard Brands, has been named CEO of the new partnership for Garces Group.  In his capacity as Chief Culinary Officer, Garces will continue to be the creative leader behind the restaurants, Garces Catering and the managed services business.  Under the agreement, the intention is to offer employment to most, if not all, 750 Garces Group employees.  The Ballard team sees the managed services and catering divisions as two strong growth areas for the new business.

“Chef Garces has a developed a brand that transports people to different cultures through his creative cuisine and by creating environments people love.  Amada is the perfect example of that and we look forward to all the potential of building a revived, powerful brand,” said Paul Ballard, co-founder of Ballard Brands.

Garces restaurants such as Amada, Tinto, Village Whiskey, Buena Onda and Distrito in Philadelphia, Ortzi in New York City and restaurants at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City remain extremely popular, as does the company’s events division, which has exclusive catering arrangements with venues around the Philadelphia region, including the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts.  Garces recently reopened Amada and Distrito in the new Ocean Resort and Casino in Atlantic City.  Garces and his restaurants have been a huge part of the restaurant renaissance of Philadelphia, dating back to his days as a chef at Alma de Cuba and El Vez.   Garces has won acclaim over the years including a James Beard award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic and recognition as a Food Network Iron Chef.

About Garces Restaurant Group:
Garces is a Philadelphia-based hospitality group specializing in personal dining experiences rooted in the rich cultural traditions and culinary vision of James Beard Award-winning Latin-American Chef Jose Garces.  Taking a heartfelt and creative approach to time-honored recipes and dishes, Garces operates more than a dozen restaurants in Philadelphia, New York City and Atlantic City.  Garces Events, with full-service catering and event divisions, exclusively serves venues such as Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Cira Centre and CHUBB Hotel & Conference Center among others.   The group also offers additional services through the Garces Foundation; a philanthropic organization dedicated to Philadelphia’s underserved immigrant community.  For more information on Chef Jose Garces or any of his restaurants, please visit and follow them on Twitter or Instagram: @garcesgroup and @chefjosegarces.

About Ballard Brands:
Ballard Brands, LLC is a hospitality and food service business formed in December 2001 by brothers Paul, Scott and Steve Ballard after success in operating retail beverage franchises (Smoothie King and PJs Coffee) in Louisiana and North Carolina.  After starting the Company with one restaurant and two coffee house franchises, the Company now owns, operates and manages restaurants and food and beverage concepts in 28 states and 3 countries.

The Company's restaurant portfolio includes retail brands WOW Café, PJ's Coffee of New Orleans, The Original City Diner, Boardhouse Serious Sandwiches, Richard Fiske and Ole Saint.  Through their Outstanding Management Group, the Company manages Eloisa Restaurant and Filmore in the Oaks.  These brands collectively total nearly 153 locations in both traditional and non-traditional models and continue to grow. Ballard Brands also operates wholesale brand New Orleans Roast coffee, which is sold in grocery stores and featured in an array of locations, including restaurants, hotels, airports and convenience stores. Ballard Brands’ corporate offices are located in Covington, Louisiana.