Jose Garces' crew has confirmed last week's lease signing at Old Original Bookbinder's, and the Iron Chef's rep is out with a statement on exactly what he'll do at Second and Walnut Streets:
"As a Philadelphia-based restaurant group, we are excited to re-introduce the historic Bookbinder’s space to the Philadelphia food scene. We are using this storied space as a commissary kitchen, the helm of our catering division, and working on creating a unique, special-events venue, including an oyster saloon that will operate on a limited basis."
(This, no doubt, is Bookbinder's Presidents' Room.)
"Our goal is to stay true to all of the great things Bookbinder’s means to Philadelphia while still bringing the unique culinary vision and the personal hospitality experience of Chef Jose Garces and his Garces Group. We anticipate this project to open sometime in late spring 2014. For now, our efforts are focused on creating new Philadelphia institutions, Rosa Blanca [at 707 Chestnut St.] and Volver [at the Kimmel Center].”
A memo sent to residents of the condos above the restaurant said that Garces would use part of the space for his corporate offices - now at the Cira Center after many years nearby in Old City - and possibly for TV studio/production.