Bankruptcy judge OKs $8M sale for Garces Group
CAMDEN - Celebrity chef Jose Garces, who closed a Moorestown Mall restaurant after declaring bankruptcy in May, has sold off most of his eateries.
A bankruptcy judge in Camden approved an $8 million deal Tuesday with a partnership between Louisiana-based Ballard Brands and Philadelphia investor David Maser.
The partnership, called 3BM1, said it will operate four Atlantic City restaurants — Amada, Distrito, Olón and Okatshe — and Ortizi in New York City.
It will own Philadelphia restaurants with seven Garces’ formats — Amada, Buena Onda, Tinto, Village Whiskey, The Olde Bar, JG Domestic and Volvér.
Two Philadelphia restaurants — 24 and Garces Trading Company — will close over the coming weekend.
The partnership also acquired the Garces Events division, among other assets.
“The transaction will bring stability to the Garces Group’s finances,” the company said in a statement. It also noted Ballard’s “decades of experience in launching and expanding successful concepts.”
Garces reported bank debt of about $7.5 million in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. He said his firm struggled after the 2014 shutdown of the Revel casino-hotel doomed four of his Atlantic City restaurants.
Garces also described the Distrito at Moorestown Mall as a “troubled” location before closing the Mexican restaurant on May 31.
Garces will serve as chief culinary officer for the restaurant group, which expects to find a new headquarters in Philadelphia, the partnership said.
It said the company plans to offer jobs “to most, if not all, 750 Garces Group employees."
The partnership described catering and managed services as “strong growth areas.”
“We also look forward to welcoming Chef Garces to the Southeast market as well,” said Scott Ballard, co-founder of the Louisiana firm.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jerrold Poslusny, Jr. had awarded stalking horse status to Ballard, which made an initial bid of more than $6.6 million. The sale price represents a combination of cash and assumed liabilities.
Ballard Brands operates in 28 states and three countries, with brands that include PJ’s Coffee and The Original City Diner.
Maser, a Philadelphia attorney, is board chair of the Garces Foundation, a charity that serves the immigrant community.
Jim Walsh: @jimwalsh_cp; 856-486-2646; email@example.com
Also in South Jersey
- State shuts down Delran Emergency Squad
- Lawsuit: Sex assault at Stockton posted online
- Feds: Pain-relief clinic was 'pill mill'
- WATCH: Atlantic City's new Ocean Resort Casino