Known for Latin concepts, chef Jose Garces—named one of RB’s Power 20 operators last year for his local empire—switched gears with an Italian concept in Philadelphia called 24 Wood Fired Fare. The all-day restaurant features a mixed-service format: It opens at 7 a.m. with limited service of pastries and coffee for on-the-go office workers, and switches to full service at lunch and dinner for the after-work crowd and laid-back gatherings. Located in the same building as the Garces Group’s offices and test kitchen, 24 will also serve as a private space for tastings and test kitchen events. Here’s a look at how 24 fits into the neighborhood.
Adjusted prep space
“The biggest challenge of this design was ensuring adequate production space surrounding the oven for high-volume pizza production,” Garces says. To ensure sufficient space for preparing food in front of guests, the team balanced aesthetic with functional requirements by widening the cook line.
The need for casual
Catering to a desire among locals, Garces says 24 fills a void for a friendly, casual concept. It sits in a mixed-use building in the middle of four Philadelphia districts and is the only restaurant with riverfront views. A 40-seat patio overlooks the river, and a circular 30-seat, marble-topped bar hosts a daily happy hour with options such as $7 spritzers and $9 pizzas.
Room to test
The building housing 24 is the home of the Garces Group test kitchen, Estudio. Garces says the cook line at 24 purposely backs up to Estudio’s, so that 24 and Estudio can share the same hood systems, gas lines and other infrastructure elements. Additionally, 24 will share its private dining room with Estudio. Garces plans to use the restaurant’s 20-seat dining room to host public tastings, cooking classes and other Estudio events.
Inspired by a vacation in Italy, 24 varies from Garces’ typical Latin approach to restaurants and looks to recreate the rustic, casual atmosphere he experienced, with a wine-inspired color palette, shelves lined with bric-a-brac and an open kitchen churning out wood-fired pizza and pasta.
A different look for breakfast
Hitting on how consumers eat differently throughout the day, 24 offers counter service from 7 to 11:30 a.m. It serves fresh-baked pastries, grab-and-go items and proprietary coffee; customers can take their food to go or eat in the 100-seat dining room. Too, Garces says the building’s office workers often use as a casual work space. A low wall parallel to the counter partially hides ordering lines so as not to disrupt the dining room. 24 switches to full service for lunch and dinner, although the counter remains open for