Eater is reporting that Jose Garces, Philadelphia's own Iron Chef and restaurant empire-builder, will be joining fellow chef and Marc Vetri in opening a location in the Moorestown Mall in New Jersey (about 14 miles East of Philadelphia). Earlier this year, Vetri announced that he would be opening a second location of his popular Italian eatery, Osteria, in said mall. It looks like Garces was inspired by this unconventional location, and is close on his heels with plans for a Distrito outpost (which has other locations in Philadelphia, Atlantic City, and Scottsdale, AZ). There is no firm opening date for this iteration of Garces' psychedelic Mexican wonderland, but chances are it won't be until some time in 2014.
These two chefs are some of the most respected names in Philly. Will other restaurateurs follow suit, and look to suburban retail megaplexes as viable locations for business? Perhaps one day, interesting, creative dining choices will take the place of the Ruby Tuesdays and Bahama Breezes that have come to define sit-down eating in American malls. With Vetri and Garce blazing a trail, it just might be possible.