Garces is sued over restaurant lease

Rosa Blanca at 707 Chestnut St. closed more than two years ago.

Jose Garces and investors are being sued for $82,000 in rent plus fees by the owner of the building that formerly housed his restaurant Rosa Blanca at 707 Chestnut St., court documents show.

The landlord, identified as CP Acquisitions 20 LLC, also wants Garces to vacate the building, according to the filing in Municipal Court.

Rosa Blanca, a Latin diner, closed in May 2015 after a year and a half. In early 2016, the restaurant was marketed for lease. Previously on the site, Garces operated Chifa, a fusion of Peruvian and Cantonese cuisine, for about four years.

“As an active legal matter, there is no information to share at this time,” a representative of the Garces Group said in a statement today. “We are working to resolve this issue quickly and expect to do so amicably.”

In addition to the rent, which documents say was $15,883 a month, the suit seeks more than $27,000 in common-area maintenance charges and $750 in legal fees, for a total of $110,642 owed as of Oct. 31. The lease, signed in 2008, expires in October 2018.

This summer, restaurateur Tim Bonnie briefly operated a diner on the site called Nico’s, apparently under a sublease. Nico’s did not obtain use of the liquor license, which state records say is in safekeeping. Bonnie did not return a message seeking comment.

The suit follows by a recent suit filed by a produce supplier against several of the chef’s restaurants and his catering company. FarmArt, based in Delaware County, said it was owed about $86,000.

The Sixers announced last week that Garces had been named the preferred catering partner for the team’s VIP and premium events, as well as for corporate meetings. In its announcement, the team pointed out their long collaboration on signature events, including the 2017 Sixers Youth Foundation Gala, which raised nearly $1 million for the team’s charity.

As part of the partnership, Garces is offering a 76ers-inspired burger of the month for October called the “Ballin’ Ben Bacon Burger” at his Village Whiskey restaurant.  In November, his Buena Onda taqueria will offer a 76ers-inspired taco of the month.

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