Tucked away between 11th and 12th on Locust is Iron Chef Jose Garces’ latest Philadelphia endeavor, the Garces Trading Company. We’re truly amazed that in just four short years the man has been able to open up six restaurants in our lovely city, with a seventh already on the way in the Cira Centre. Unlike his previous projects which follow more of a traditional restaurant theme, GTC is a one of a kind, pioneer establishment in this city.
Featuring a long list of their own lines of coffee, cheese, house-made charcuterie and meats (the Village Whiskey burger blend is available to-go), oil and vinegar and house-baked breads, GTC is part gourmet market/deli and dine-in cafe with the addition with a very unique, State Store inside the building. Despite the clumsiness of Pennsylvania’s restrictions on wine and liquor, GTC’s special arrangement allows patrons have the ability to buy a bottle of wine and consume it on premises as if it were brought in like a BYO.
Dine-in options feature a nice selection of European-inspired, plates from antipasti, soups and salads, sandwiches, pasta, pizza. The notable exception to the European theme would be the deep dish pizza pies, more than likely a result of Garces being a native of Chicago. Though, we found that their presence on the menu is exceptionally complementary. The plats du jour are complete meals available for dine-in or for take out. Those who opt to take the entrees to-go will find that all parts of the meal are separated and flash frozen to preserve their individual flavors.
We had the opportunity to stop in and try each of the six sandwiches available on the menu. The Spaniard features two respected key players in the modern sandwich world: grilled chicken and bacon combined with crisp romaine, a glorious amount of finely shredded manchego cheese and almond romesco aioli. The Moroccan, from what we can gather, lives up to the name with an authentic taste of Moroccan cuisine. It features roasted lamb loin, roasted pepper, eggplant, bacon and comté cheese.
Tartine Aux Fromage, as the name would indicate to the French-savvy, is an open-faced cheese sandwich using melted tomes crayeuse on fresh brioche and topped with a slice of marinated tomato. The Italian combines bresaola and hot coppa with melted taleggio, it’s then topped with arugula and a lemon confit spread. El Cubano Clåsico is GTC’s delicious interpretation of a classic Cuban pressed sandwich that includes roast pork, ham, gruyere mustard and pickles.
With a great variety of experiences under one roof, the Garces Trading Company is already gaining some notoriety for being a wonderful addition to not only the neighborhood but to the city as a whole. We definitely anticipate some repeat visits to dine on the other wonderful selections on the menu, or pick up a plat du jour to go.