February 21, 2010

Quick take on Garces Trading Company

The latest venture in the quickly expanding Jose Garces empire is the Garces Trading Company, a gourmet market/cafe at 11th and Locust in the Western Union building. Like anything new from Jose, it has received much attention and rightly so (we are huge fans of Jose Garces!). Check out this article from Michael Klein with the Inquirer for pictures and more details.

I was super-excited to check out this place out as one of my favorite things to do is go to a market and try new things and buy things for a nice Sunday meal. As I've written before, Di Bruno Brothers is one of favorite places. So I visualized the Garces Trading Company as a new alternative.

Well, I hate to this say, but I came away disappointed. Di Bruno's is light years ahead in terms of meat, cheese, prepared foods, service, space, coffee, food samples, etc. Just about everything. Honestly, my visit to Garces Trading Company only made appreciate how awesome Di Bruno's is. That is less a knock on Garces as it is a testament to how much I like Di Brunos.

Another view is that Garces Trading Company is not meant to be an alternative to Di Brunos. The first thing that stood out was how small the cheese and meat section was compared to Di Brunos. It seemed that the meats/cheese had more of a Spainish feel than Di Brunos. Second, the bulk of the space is for reserved sit-down seating, which looked to be waitress served rather than do it yourself. That section was crowded and the menu can be found here. Looks great and I did not try anything, but would definitely like to go back for lunch sometime.

There is a cool section where olives oils, balsamic vinegars, etc are in cool coffee-looking holders. You can have small samples with bread. Something I would love to see at Di Brunos.

The wine section is cool. Kudos for trying something new and it is worth checking out. I couldn't tell you if the wines are good or expensive. They are housed in a special walk-in wine case and you can drink right on the spot. I like the concept.

My takeaway. I will not be making a regular hike to Garces Trading Company for any of my weekend rituals. I would like to go back to try for lunch sometime. Also, please do not compare it to Di Brunos. It's not fair to either.

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