Five of chef Jose Garces’ Philadelphia restaurants and his catering company are being sued by a Delaware County produce supplier over more than $86,000 in unpaid bills, according to a lawsuit filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court.
Including interest and legal fees, FarmArt, based in Folcroft, is seeking a total of about $118,000 from Tinto, Distrito, Volver, 24 Wood-Fired Fare, Garces Trading Company, and the catering company, says the suit, first reported by the legal site Penn Record.
“As an active legal matter, there is no information to share at this time,” said a statement from Garces’ representative. “However, our relationships with our vendors are of the utmost importance to us and we are working to resolve this quickly and amicably.”
Invoices attached to the lawsuit indicate that most of the unpaid bills were dated between February and mid-June 2017.
In the spring, Garces chief executive Rob Keddie left the company for undisclosed reasons. Garces then assumed the CEO title, which he held at the outset of his restaurateur career, at the 2005 opening of Amada in Old City, still the jewel in his crown.
Garces, a James Beard Award winner who won national exposure as an Iron Chef on the Food Network, also owns Buena Onda, JG Domestic, and Village Whiskey in Philadelphia, Distrito in Moorestown, Ortzi and Amada in New York City, and Okatshe and Olon in Atlantic City. Garces had lost a major piece of business in Atlantic City three years ago with the sudden shutdown of Ravel Casino.
Suppliers and wholesalers frequently continue to do business with restaurants that fall behind in their invoices while simultaneously trying to collect the debts — the logic being that the entire debt could become uncollectable if they cut them off.